Drizzy wanted the cover to be "very personal," Nelson says.
Drake's Nothing Was the Same album covers are the talk of the rap world, due in part to the paint brush of Kardir Nelson. Nelson — a Los Angeles-based artist recruited by the likes of Michael Jackson, the United State Postal Service, and Dreamworks — was outfiitted with the task of creating artwork for the release.
Nelson crafted an oil painting (it was Drake's idea to have his older and younger self face one another) that was replicated into two separate covers.
His work caught Drizzy's eye inside the Los Angeles studio where "Marvin's Room" was recorded, and the rapper reached out. "He really wanted a signature iconic piece of art," Nelson tells BET.com. "He didn't really know what that was going to be, neither of us did. He knew that he wanted it to be in line with the type of music that he was recording for his album. He wanted it to be very personal. He wanted it to be representative of him."
The Grammy winner wasn't necessarily looking for self portraits, however. The images were Nelson's take on the music. He flew to Toronto and listened to tracks off Nothing Was the Same before sketching out a visual interpretation.
Without giving up too much, Nelson described the highly anticipated release as mirroring Drake's personality. "I really liked what I heard. Some of it was very emotional and reflective. My impression of him was that he is very smart, and a guy with a very big heart…and he mentioned something about his childhood, so I thought maybe an image of him as a little kid would be a really good fit."
The collaboration came together in less than a month, split into three days of meetings and roughly three weeks of work time. With the final project up for public judgment, Nelson has gotten that much more bigger in the last 24 hours. "It's kind of overwhelming," he admits. "I know that he's very popular and it's amazing to see the instantaneous response. It's all really exciting."
Nelson is currently working on his latest children's book, Baby Bear, due out next spring.
Nothing Was the Same drops Sept. 24.
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(Photo: Young Money Records)