This set of Wu-Tang Covers imagined as Blue Note covers, by designer Logan Walters, is both gorgeous and thought-provoking.
What kind of thoughts does it provoke? It makes me think about sleeve art, and how that art often ties records to a particular time, locality or culture. The original comic-book style sleeve art for Liquid Swords, for instance, is not particularly good but says more about the record’s roots and concerns than Walters’ far lovelier update.
Sample-based hip-hop is a conversation between the past (the records producers draw on), the present (the scene it emerges from and the audience who embrace it), and the future (its reception, and the possibility of crossover). Remaking Wu-Tang sleeve art as Blue Note sleeve art is making a point: this music, like that music, is classic African-American art. But it’s also tilting that ever-delicate conversation towards the past – which is why Logan Walters’ beautiful sleeves won’t replace the ugly, vibrant originals in my digital collection.