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

#4. Nas, God’s Son (2002)

Jonathan Mannion: “I had previously worked with Nas in a couple of different capacities. I did the first The Source cover with him and The Firm. This was the first album cover I did for Nas, and it came at kind of a strange moment.

“We had a conference call, and he told me, ‘I just want to be happy on my cover. I don’t want to be mean-mugging anybody. I want to be about something.’ Sadly, I think it was a difficult moment in his life. He had just lost his mom.

 

He told me, ‘I just want to be happy on my cover. I don’t want to be mean-mugging anybody. I want to be about something.’ Sadly, I think it was a difficult moment in his life. He had just lost his mom.

 

“He gave me such dedicated and focused time and energy, and he got very personal. It was a two-day shoot. The second day we were shooting the actual cover, out on the beach, with his arms folded and his shirt off.

“There’s this amazing shot I have of him, with his arms spread out wide, and he’s smiling, looking up at the sky. None of us wanted to leave, because we all realized what a special moment it was. It was one of those moments when the entire team was so behind him. It was such a beautiful moment.

“I find that he’s a man of few words, but when he does speak, it’s the most poignant delivery of whatever he’s thinking. That’s very special, because a lot of people over-talk, and try to be too much and do too much. He keeps it really simple, but he says so much.

“I’ve worked with him since and had a chance to interview him, and I’m really looking forward to working with him on some bigger projects that’ll bring more substance out of his character. He’s way deeper than this seemingly quiet artist. I realize his depth.”

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