Over the past few weeks we've been in the DONDA trenches, and this week we're diving headfirst into Certified Lover Boy, but we can't help but ask – When did album covers get so lazy?
Ahead of Kanye's anticipated album release, a handful of potential covers were shared ranging from an adapted painting by Louise Bourgeois, to Ye's new sculpture The Incomplete Truth by Damien Hirst. The final result, however, ended up just being a plain black square. Snooze.
Coming from someone who has had album art designed by Takashi Murakami, and arguably possesses some of the most recognizable album art in the game, the choice was a disappointing one for fans who had been speculating about the visuals ever since YANDHI was in the works last year.
Then we have Drake, whose cover for Views became an instant meme, alongside his other albums including Nothing Was The Same, Take Care, If You're Reading This It's Too Late, and so on. But for Certified Lover Boy, the Canadian rapper took another route.
Debuting his album art on Instagram, the cover for the anticipated record is made by Damien Hirst and features multiple colorways of the pregnant woman emoji. There's no doubt you've missed it because it has taken the internet by storm, and fans are already sharing theories surrounding the cover and its upcoming tracks.
The arguably lazy and random covers may be a reflection of the actual album rollout, which in both Ye and Drake's case has been all over the place, with multiple release dates thrown in the air and zero clarity along the way. The only thing that would fuel this, even more, is if Certified Lover Boy doesn't actually drop on September 3.
Perhaps the biggest speculation surrounding CLB's cover is that Drake is once again fuelling his beef with Kanye West by tapping Hirst, whose work was rumored to be featured on the DONDA cover for a short period of time. Another (quite literal) interpretation is that Drake is using the pregnant woman emoji since the album is dropping before Labor Day.
One could also see the cover as a nod to the ever-growing NFT market, by following the format of some of the most popular NFT's that have sold over the past few weeks, and reinterpreting Hirst's dotted paintings but as emojis. Whatever it is, you decide yourself.
Drake's cover might not be good, but at least it is memorable.
The amount of press surrounding Champagne Papi these past few weeks has been through the roof, and by beefing with Kanye, tapping Damien Hirst for his album cover, and causing a social media spectacle, the rapper is only getting more spotlight, which also means more people will likely be listening to the record once it finally drops.
So, the big question is: what does makes a good album cover? Well, it depends on who you ask, but a stunning visual never fails. Take Lady Gaga's Chromatica, for example, or Lil Nas X's upcoming debut album MONTERO. Both feature the artist in question, bold and bright colors, creative direction, and storytelling. Kanye West and Kid Cudi's Kids See Ghosts cover was so good it made its way across merch that's now reselling for more than five times its retail price. There are hundreds of great examples out there, both new and old.
It goes without saying that album covers are a cause for debate. Whether you love Kanye's minimal (if you can even call it that) DONDA visual, or think Drake is a genius for his Hirst collaboration, there will never be one conclusion – the debate will live forever.