For SPNDA‘s latest album ‘Light Skinned‘ and its preceding ‘Cornrows + Babyhairs EP‘ I worked closely with him to create not just the album art and graphics but an entire visual campaign promoting the music itself and the concepts addressed therein.
It all began when SPNDA had his initial concept for the album artwork, his face on the Curl Box. Being the very white kid that I am, the exact significance of this reference (and many more we would later employ) was lost on me, but I was up for the challenge. The Curl Box in question is the packaging for a brand of hair relaxer, the S Curl which features a photoshop-tastic box covered with every possible layer style and text effect. Gradiants, shadows, highlights, bevels, glows all united by terrible colors and worse font selection. It is one of those typical early computer designes that was so god awful it actually has something undefinable going for it.
After we got SPNDA on the S Curl Box (the cover / back for the Lights Skinned album) we moved on to what has become perhaps the most fun project, The Light Skinned Hall of Fame, where SPNDA and select guests “play” the most significant light skinned cats in history. It all started by taking his face and putting it on several key images or album covers he references in his Al B Sure interlude (for which we did a fairly janky video).
From there it spiraled out of control and we spent months putting his (and others) face(s) on everyone from Prince to Drake. This was definitely one of the most well received promo campaigns I have ever been a part of crafting, earning SPNDA countless nominations for Instagram Rookie of the Year.
The cover for the EP, Cornrows and Babyhairs was made the same way, appropriating AI’s visage for the prelude to the project. An alternate image of Iverson was also used as the basis for the collaborative t-shirt produced with OverDog Radio and Scope Urban Apparel.
For me, this project was a lot of fun, quite educational and satisfying to watch how others, for whom these images have much more personal resonance, react to the work.
Please go support the album, its certainly one of the best projects I have heard in a while (not even just saying that) – SPNDA put a lot of time and thought into this one it is perhaps the most personal piece in his catalog.