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

#13. Xzibit, Weapons Of Mass Destruction (2004)

Other works include: Man Vs. Machine

Jonathan Mannion: “I’d shot his previous album Man vs. Machine, and we had a solid photo shoot. We created some special images, like him with a briefcase and handcuffs. We’d seen that in an old spy movie, but wanted to give it a slicker appeal. So we explored a different way to tell stories.

“Moving on to Weapons Of Mass Destruction, I knew it was an opportunity to do a conceptual album that wasn’t obvious. For Weapons Of Mass Destruction, the obvious is weapons, destruction and things getting blown up. I said, ‘No. We’ve got to do this in a clever way.’

 

For Weapons Of Mass Destruction, the obvious is weapons, destruction and things getting blown up. I said, ‘No. We’ve got to do this in a clever way.’

 

“I’m forever location scouting, and I had found this airplane graveyard. I knew I hadn’t seen any images of this, especially in hip-hop. We went, and we were blown away by the size and the ability to sit on the front of these planes. It kind of freaked me out, because I could hang on the wing and move the plane with my weight alone.

“For him to be able to stand on the wheels of that plane was crazy. People can’t even put in perspective how big those things are. The wheels were almost as big as he was. It looked like those wheels had fallen out of the sky, and it so subtly said so much.

“At one point, we cut a plane in half. We shot the guts of it, and him sitting inside the plane and on the front, and we used it as a metaphor. It was him sitting on one of these big 747 engines and still being himself.

“He was really understanding who he was in that moment, and it was an amazing shoot. We were all truly excited that we told the story in a subtle way.”

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