Rihanna finally unveiled details on her long-awaited eighth studio album at the MAMA Gallery in L.A. last night, mainly the title—Anti—and the artwork. It would've been nice if we got a tracklist and release date as well, but the album art is so dope that it makes up for the lack of information.

Created by Jersualem-born artist Roy Nachum, the artwork features a young girl with a crown superimposed over her face and poetry composed in braille covering the canvas; last night at the unveiling event it was explained that it's inspired by Rih's first day of daycare. Additionally there are six more Nachum pieces within the album interior and back cover, each with accompanying braille poetry divvied up between Nachum and poet Chloe Mitchell, whose work you may remember being recited by Kanye West at the end of "Blame Game." 

 

Painting the cover of Rihanna's 8th studio album "Anti" @BadGalRiri #R8 #RihxRoy #Rihanna #OfficialAlbumArtCover

A video posted by Roy Nachum / Artist (@roynachum) on Oct 7, 2015 at 8:51pm PDT

The braille feature, which marks as the very first time an album cover has featured physical braille, should come as no surprise to those who have been paying attention to Rihanna's album rollout all year. The single covers for "FourFiveSeconds," "Bitch Better Have My Money," and "American Oxygen" were all designed by Nachum as well, featuring the titles in braille. This is Rihanna's most artsy album endeavor yet—and, as she explained last night, her favorite—but after scrolling through Nachum's Instagram it would seem the Roc overall has taken a liking to his work. Jay Z has a painting of his titled "The Crown" (fittingly) hanging in his NYC office, and he appears to have done some work with West at Art Basel.

 

"The Crown" painting from my color blind series hanging in JayZ's NYC office #jayz #repost

A photo posted by Roy Nachum / Artist (@roynachum) on Jan 16, 2015 at 11:46pm PST

The Anti cover is an amalgam of Nachum's previous personal work. Variations of the blood red and white color palette as well as children with a crown over their eyes surrounded by braille, all appear in his art collection titled "Blind" spanning 2011-2012 as well as 2008's collection "Pixelated." Nachum's biography explains that his artwork, which almost exclusively explores themes of vision or lack thereof, features the recurring child and crown as a metaphor for "man's blindness caused by displaced values and desire." The braille is intended to "evoke sensations in the blind participant" similar to those who experience it through sight. Regardless of how you experience the work though, he goes on to describe it as a vehicle to allow viewers to explore their own existential apprehensions.

Maybe that's why the accompanying Anti poetry by Mitchell and Nachum deals with themes of being misunderstood, loneliness and brazen independence. Nachum's contributions in particular, invoke his own personal themes of apprehension and obscurity—followed by clarity—of vision and of self. Judging from the involved artwork and the special attention to detail, two things are almost near certainties: Rihanna is about to get very deep and introspective on this album, and Roy Nachum might be hip-hop's next new favorite artist, if he'll have them.

Peep the translated braille poetry and details on each Anti artwork below, courtesy of PopJustice.

 

#ANTi #coverart @roynachum

A photo posted by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on Oct 7, 2015 at 10:53pm PDT

1. “IF THEY LET US”
Poster Braille Translation from Album Packaging
2015, Oil On Convas
100 x 87 inches / 254 x 221 cm
Poet: Chloe Mitchell

I sometimes fear that I am misunderstood.
It is simply because what I want to say,
what I need to say, won’t be heard.
Heard in a way I so rightfully deserve.
What I choose to say is of so much substance
That people just won’t understand the depth of my message.
So my voice is not my weakness,
It is the opposite of what others are afraid of.
My voice is my suit and armor,
My shield, and all that I am.
I will comfortably breath in it, until I find the moment to be silent.
I live loudly in my mind, so many hours of the day.
The world is pin drop sound compared to the boom
That thumps and bumps against the walls of my cranium.
I live it and love it and despise it and I am entrapped in it.
So being misunderstood, I am not offended by the gesture, but honored.
If they let us…

2. “IF THEY LET US Part I”
Front Cover Braille Translation from Album Packaging
2015, Oil On Canvas
51 x 45 inches / 130 x 114 cm
Poet: Chloe Mitchell

I sometimes fear that I am misunderstood.
It is simply because what I want to say,
what I need to say, won’t be heard.
Heard in a way I so rightfully deserve.
What I choose to say is of so much substance
That people just won’t understand the depth of my message.
So my voice is not my weakness,
It is the opposite of what others are afraid of.

3. “IF THEY LET US Part II”
Back Cover Braille Translation from Album Packaging
2015, Oil On Canvas
51 x 45 inches / 130 x 114 cm
Poet: Chloe Mitchell

My voice is my suit and armor,
My shield, and all that I am.
I will comfortably breath in it, until I find the moment to be silent.
I live loudly in my mind, so many hours of the day.
The world is pin drop sound compared to the boom
That thumps and bumps against the walls of my cranium.
I live it and love it and despise it and I am entrapped in it.
So being misunderstood, I am not offended by the gesture, but honored.
If they let us…

4. “FIRE Part I” 
Interior Artwork Braille Translation from Album Packaging
2015, Oil and Ash on Canvas 
46 x 38 inches 117 x 97 cm
Poet: Roy Nachum

Falling fast backwards into deep water.
As my eyes opened I knew that I was naked.
Floating on the waters surface.
Alone with the reflections of myself.

5. “FIRE Part II” 
Interior Artwork Braille Translation from Album Packaging
2015, Oil and Ash on Canvas
46 x 38 inches / 117 x 97 cm
Poet: Roy Nachum

My face in deep shadows.
Dreams and ideas beyond limits.
The future is all I have to look forward to.
I turn myself inside out.
Only then am I whole.

6. “FIRE Part III” 
Interior Artwork Braille Translation from Album Packaging
2015, Oil and Ash on Canvas
46 x 38 inches / 117 x 97 cm
Poet: Roy Nachum

Clouds replace the sunlight.
Expanding into the darkness.
The shoreline covered with night.
Backward strokes,
Deep breaths, salt air.