Virgil Abloh Offers Explanation Following Massive Backlash Over Pop Smoke Album Cover

His design was met with criticism from fans worldwide.

UPDATE (June 30, 2020): Following a barrage of online backlash, Virgil Abloh took to Instagram to explain the creative inspiration behind his design for Pop Smoke’s debut album, Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon, scheduled to be released on July 3. 

“The last conversation I had with [Pop Smoke] was about what we were gonna do in the future. This album cover was one of like 5 things we talked about. He mentioned his story felt like the metaphor of a rose & thorns growing from the concrete of his hood in Canarsie, Brooklyn. In your memory, I just finished it yesterday,” he elaborated. 

Abloh dedicated the second half of his social post to the late rapper, writing “It’s mandatory we put an end to this cycle of violence that plagues us. We need to shoot for the moon & aim for the stars. As heavy as it is, we are celebrating your life the whole way through. Rest in peace young one.” 

Abloh’s message comes after the original artwork was scrapped following backlash from fans who insisted that the design was “lazy.”

  • Previous story: Pop Smoke’s manager, Steven Victor, announced that the label will be changing the cover art for the late rapper’s forthcoming posthumous debut album following fan complaints over the artwork.

  • Earlier this week, the cover art for Pop Smoke’s debut album, Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon, was unveiled on social media. However, the artwork, which was designed by Virgil Abloh, was immediately met with criticism from fans. A petition was even started to get the artwork changed. The petition received over 18,000 signatures. “Virgil dead*** was wild lazy with Pop Smoke’s Album cover and he needs to fix it,” the description simply read.

    Victor took to Twitter on (June 29) where he addressed fan’s concerns. “Heard you. Making a change,” he wrote. He also added that “Pop would listen to his fans.” He posted a lengthier response on Instagram, writing “as Pop’s label [and] as his family, it is our obligation to bring his vision to life. He wanted Virgil to be creative. We fulfilled his wishes. However, unfortunately, he’s not here to give his final approval. His fans are.” 

    He continued, “You know why you love Pop. Your voices are loud and clear. He loved his fans and listened to his fans. Pop and we at Victor Victor heard you loud and clear. Changes will be made. See you July 3rd 2020.” 

  • 50 Cent wasn’t too pleased with the Off-White designer’s artwork either. “Hey Virgil we need new album art. They ain’t going for this bulls**t. Love ya work. Let’s get to it,”  the G-Unit honcho issued on Instagram. “Steven, I told you this s**t was eww. Let’s get it right.”


  • Virgil Abloh has yet to respond to the backlash, but he’s running on a tight deadline considering the album is supposed to drop this Friday (July 3). The album’s tracklist was also revealed. Totaling at 19 tracks, 50 Cent, Future, DaBaby, Lil Baby, Roddy Ricch, Tyga and more are slated to make appearances. 

    See the tracklist here

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