Yesterday (March 9), was the 16th anniversary of the untimely death of the Notorious B.I.G. Nostalgia was running rampant on the Internets (don’t forget Hip-Hp Wired’s Top 15 Biggie Anthems) but one of the other real gems we noticed was alternate album cover artwork for the Bad Boy rapper’s sophomore opus, Life After Death.
Last year, egotripland tracked down and spoke to art director Ebon Heath and Michele Thorne of NY design studio (((stereo-type))), who were responsible for the aforementioned album’s cover art. Yes, it’s a year old story, but there are plenty of stories worth highlighting.
Originally, the album’s artwork was supposed to be bright and jovial, focusing on the “life” aspect of the title. Said Ebon Heath:
And then it was crazy because once we were doing all the comps we still didn’t know [the graveyard photos] would play such a part in the branding of it. When we were doing all the comps we were still going for the bright Isht. And we did rounds and rounds and Puff just wasn’t happy. We had this one that I really thought we’d gotten it, where we were doing a whole clear jewel-case and just silk-screening the packaging on there so everything was clear. And it was just [Big] sort of walking in silhouette through the clouds, like really simple. Even the disc was on silver. Everything was really subtle and beautiful. We did the whole comp like, that’s the winner, that’s the winner!
And yeah, nah. [Puffy] finally wound up choosing that [eventual] shot [from the graveyard], and we just switched to dark. Once he chose that for the cover we just went dark. We went with blind embosses, and we started burning all this type and we did all this sh-t with ash. Just really trying to push that sense of the fire and the ash. And then even that was pulled back to what it finally became. But this was all still before [Big] passed. All this sh-t was done before he passed.
Read the entire story here. Check out some of the covers didn’t make the cut in the gallery.
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