Everyone knows never to judge a book by its cover. But when it comes to mixtapes, the cover is just as much an art form as the music inside it. And now, for the first time ever, the art of mixtape covers is being immortalized in a new book entitled Damn Son Where Did You Find This? Created by Tobias Hannson and Michael Thorsby, the expansive coffee table book explores the unique subculture of hip-hop mixtape covers, documenting many of the best examples of the vibrant and subversive art style that defines it. Gleefully lacking in restraint and subtlety, mixtape covers featuring outlandish parodies of pop culture icons (like Lil Wayne’s The Blue Martian depicting the rapper as a dreadlocked Na’vi from Avatar) or bold and anarchic graphic styles (like The Game’s America’s Most Wanted II cover) can all be found inside the book.
Hannson and Thorsby have also included interviews with some of hip-hop’s most iconic mixtape cover artists, including Miami Kaos, KidEight and Mike Rev, providing deeper insights into their process and how they collaborate with rappers to create the right cover for their music. Mixtapes have always been a sounding board for rappers at all levels — “a platform where taboos are broken, the genre renews itself and trends are created,” as described by the book’s publisher La Vida Locash. Now the brilliant art style that mixtape culture gave birth to is finally getting its due. Damn Son Where Did You Find This? will be sold at colette in Paris or online here, limited to run of just 400 hand-numbered copies.