Before kicking it with Complex as Art Director, Brent Rollins was lending his creative brain to egotrip, one of the most influential hip-hop magazines to date. During his time there, he played a part in many great things, including egotrip's Book of Rap Lists, revered today by some as the Bible of Hip-Hop. Another one of his great accomplishments was directing the album cover for 1998's Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star.
egotrip recently sat down with Brent to discuss the making of the album cover. During their interview, he revealed that the artwork we see today is not his original design and that Rawkus altered his originally-submitted cover. Read an excerpt below and head over to egotripland.com to read the interview in all its revealing glory.
It’s funny – because we’re all so used to seeing the cover as wood we take for granted that warmer feel by comparison. Even if it is maybe more predictable. The metal evokes something more militant.
Brent Rollins: Yeah, exactly. The first version was actually red, white and blue — super militant. Like, “We are Americans too, motherfucker.” [laughs] The idea in terms of execution would’ve been in the vein of Gil Scott-Heron’s It’s Your World, or something. That kind of vibe. Giving an “Africanness” to America. I think I did actually turn in that version for review, and then they requested red – yellow – green instead. Yeah, I think that happened.
No red, black, and green version?
Brent Rollins: For me, you know, I’m a few years older than the label’s target audience at the time, so I got out of the whole “red, black, green” phase years prior. I probably chose red, white, and blue to get away from [what was to me then] the sort of cliché.