Jonathan Mannion Tells All: The Stories Behind His 25 Favorite Album Covers

#11. DJ Quik, Under Tha Influence (2002)

Jonathan Mannion: “Quik is one of my early influences. Rolling around in 1994, in my mom’s '84 Honda Accord, I was constantly listening to ‘Born And Raised In Compton.’ Back then, my friends and I would have our Raiders hats on and our Carhartt sweatshirts, and we were just enamored by the way that it felt.

“A friend of mine, whom I’d had early conversations with in New York, knew Quik. His name was Byze One, and we were both super hungry around 1994 to ’95 and connected because we both were determined to be the best in our fields. He introduced me to Quik, who was familiar with my work.

“He was sort of at a tough moment in his career, when we shot Under Tha Influence. There were label things happening, but we got a chance to vibe, and it was cool. We ended up having kind of a sit down, but I wanted some more pictures.

 

With that shot, he felt almost like he was emancipated. It was like the moment when you’re being let out of jail.

 

“We hooked up the following day, because I wanted to get him to take me on a journey, through his eyes. Then, he pulled over his motorcycle, as we were trailing in the van, and he told me he wasn’t feeling it and that he knew he couldn’t give me what I was expecting from him. He asked if we could go back to the Nikko Hotel and have a drink.

“We ended up posted up for about four or five hours, talking about life. That was the connection that solidified it. He said he was doing the album independently, and I told him I was excited. That’s when he agreed to let me take him on this other journey, and we created Under Tha Influence.

“With that shot, he felt almost like he was emancipated. It was like the moment when you’re being let out of jail. All these goods were coming back, we did the fingerprint thing, and I designed the album package—as I did with the Marshall Mathers LP, with Jason Noto. I made him write his name and the title in his own handwriting. It was cool.

“We had a moment to connect in those two days of running around Compton, and it really became the shoot that I wanted from him. It solidified our relationship to the point that we’re still cool today.”

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