Mask Off Future
From the preppy 'Through The Wire' cover to the minimal "no cover art" of 'Yeezus', Kanye's album and single covers are as profound as his music.
The artwork for 'The College Dropout' was designed by Eric Duvauchelle, who was part of Roc-A-Fella's in-house brand design team. It features the famous "Dropout Bear", which was a theme throughout Kanye's first three albums. The image on 'The College Dropout' is actually Yeezy sitting slouched on some gym bleachers. The frame ornaments came from a 16th century book.
The artwork for Kanye West’s breakthrough single ‘Through The Wire’ shows a preppy-looking Yeezy staring directly into the camera wearing a backpack and a red jumper. This image is far removed from his more recent artistic covers.
The project in Kanye’s education-themed trilogy ‘Late Registration’, once again depicts the ‘Dropout Bear’ – this time showing him arriving to university. The bear's journey continues through the sleeve notes before finishing on the back cover with Dropout emerging from university. It was designed alongside graphic design studio Morning Breath, Inc.
Arriving on the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Kanye's artwork for 'Graduation' was the last to feature the Dropout Bear. The image is actually a collaboration with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, with whom Kanye also designed the album's single covers. All of the images depict the bear's attempts to reach his college campus in time for graduation.
Following the death of his mother a year earlier, Kanye's album '808s & Heartbreak' was tinged with sadness as he came to terms with his close friend's sudden death. The artwork, designed by Kris Yiengst, also carries the tragedy, showing a heart sculpted from a deflated balloon.
Following the mixed response to the auto-tuned '808s & Heartbreak', Kanye was back with a bang on 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'. In keeping with his reputation to surprise, he pulled no punches with the album artwork, which showed a cartoon version of the rapper being straddled by a phoenix. It was designed by George Condo and due to its graphic nature, was censored in some stores.
Always a great lover of art, Kanye's passion for everything creative has become more and more apparent as his career has unfolded. The cover art for 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' single 'Runaway' showed a ballerina holding a wine glass and, like the album cover, was designed by George Condo.
Towards the end of 2010, Kanye West delighted fans with a number of free giveaways as part of his G.O.O.D. Fridays music series. All the tracks on this collection featured bold red typography on top of a classic image.
Collaborations don't really get bigger than 'Watch The Throne', which saw Kanye unite with long-time collaborator and friend Jay Z for the first time on a full studio album. The glamorous gold design on the album cover was created by Riccardo Tisci.
Summer was actually over by the time ‘Cruel Summer’ was released. However, similar to his previous album ‘Watch The Throne’, the cover for Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music collaboration featured a classic piece of art – this time in all white.
Kanye's most thought-provoking album came with his most striking artwork yet - there wasn't any! Instead, reflecting the album's minimalism, it was released in a clear jewel box with no album artwork. It was finished with a piece of red tape and song credits on the rear. Critics have pointed out similarities between the cover of 'Yeezus' and New Order's single 'Crystal.
Following months of controversy on Twitter, Kanye West released his latest album 'The Life Of Pablo' - which was accompanied by some intriguing artwork. Created by Belgian artist Peter De Potter, the artwork features scattered with text and includes a picture which is rumoured to be from his parent's wedding. The picture hints at the "old-school" influences he used on the album.
After receiving some criticism for the harsh sounds on 'Yeezus', Kanye announced the return to his classic "College Dropout sound" using a picture of himself producing music as a teenager. This artwork represented a huge change from the artistic covers he became associated with.
The artwork for Yeezy's hard-hitting 'TLOP' single featured a throwback picture of Kanye at a social gathering with his family. This old-school picture matched the way he approached making the track with Kendrick Lamar. The pair went back-to-back over a beat with a classic soul sample.
Kanye announced the first single from his G.O.O.D. Music collaboration, 'Cruel Winter', with very minimalistic artwork. A complete contrast to his previous ‘The Life Of Pablo’ cover, Yeezy appears to have followed-up the artwork for Pusha T's songs 'Numbers On The Board' and 'Who I Am', which were "No Artwork" and "No Artwork 2", respectively.