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

#6. The Game, The Documentary (2005)

Other works include: Doctor's Advocate, LAX, The R.E.D. Album

Jonathan Mannion: “The first time I met The Game, I shot him with Dr. Dre, Busta Rhymes and Eve for the cover of XXL. That was the first time we had the opportunity to create some images together. There was so much buzz about him. He was Dre’s artist, and everybody holds Dre in such legendary regard. So when he got that cosign, everyone had to know about him.

“We shot it at the old Ambassador hotel, where the Rat Pack used to run. Game and I got to understand each other’s vibe, and it was one of the most enjoyable shoots that I’ve ever done. It was because of that shoot that I got more opportunities to create and was chosen for Game’s first album.

 

We decided to give a nod to L.A., and that’s why we had the gold hundred-spoke Daytons and shot at the swap meet.

 

“I had two conversations with him. The first was a conference call. Game was like, ‘I know what Jonathan Mannion does, and I want him to just do what he does. I don’t want him telling me how to rap, and I’m not going to tell him how to do photos. I want something that’s reverent to hip-hop and touches on different influences.’

“So we took on different sections and wanted to pull elements that represented the bigger picture of a certain culture. We decided to give a nod to L.A., and that’s why we had the gold hundred-spoke Daytons and shot at the swap meet. We wanted to do something that felt different. We didn’t need the whole car, just something that represented it. It was more about him.

“The second time we spoke on the phone, I called him and told him I wanted to shoot him that day. Everyone wanted a piece of that project, and I wanted to shoot before the label dictated what we had to do.

“He basically told me, ‘Yeah. Come to Compton, man.’ I said, ‘Don’t be fooled. I’m in Compton. Just tell me which streets.’ He said he was on Brazil street, and I told him I’d see him in 30 minutes. I showed up and he thought I was insane.

“We ended up shooting some of the most incredible pictures, like the one of him with the gun, at the table. That was my version of By All Means Necessary, and it was a nod to Malcolm X. Then we gave a nod to Tupac, and we shot pit bulls, as a nod to DMX. We did all of these little things that very subtly started to chip away at his influences, and that’s what that album was about.

“We formed a real friendship. I ask about his kids before I ask about how he’s doing. To this day, I’ve done every Game album. He’s one of the realest cats, and I really appreciate who he is as a person. He’s got a great perspective on it all.”

blog comments powered by Disqus