Release date: June 22, 2010
Photography: Ben Watts
Art direction: Richard Nichols, Kenny J. Gravillis, Todd Russell
Art producer: Kristen Yiengst, Tai Linzie
Label: Def Jam
The Roots' ninth studio album and 11th album overall, How I Got Over, was an incredibly personal affair. It was not only about the state of race relations in the US at the time of its 2010 release, but was also hailed by the legacy hip-hop group's band members as a more "human" record. With myriad interpretations to be taken away from it, How I Got Over needed enigmatic artwork that could be read in a variety of ways.
Casting a moving crowd in silhouette provided the possibility of many deep reads—the viewer knows not who each of the members in the photograph are, translating to something surface that resonates inwardly. We are all trying to explain how we got over. That could be any of us on the cover.
Celebrity photographer Ben Watts (brother of Naomi) helmed the cover and promotional materials for this album cycle. With such clean imagery, it's hard to even miss ?uestlove's signature afro in the frame. —Dale Eisinger