Aitch // Aitch20 // Since 93 // 2019
Earlier this week, 101Barz released a freestyle from Aitch, which was recorded at the beginning of the year whilst on tour in Amsterdam. Aitch was getting attention early on in his career, but he was propelled into the limelight after the release of his first album, Aitch20, which features two songs that made it into the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart. The artwork for the album puts a clever twist on the standard portrait photo by leaning into the title’s wordplay, depicting Aitch as if he is underwater with plenty of turquoise blue surrounding. Even his eye color has been adjusted to an ocean blue tone.
Skepta // Greatest Hits // Boy Better Know // 2007
In 2007, Skepta released his debut album, Greatest Hits. Obviously not a greatest hits album in the traditional sense, it does have its place in grime history. The record was released on Skepta and JME’s label, Boy Better Know, and was the second release on the label after Wiley’s “Da 2nd Phaze”. Keeping with the cheeky theme of framing this record as a compilation of Skepta’s best tracks, the cover hijacks the look and presentation of a music award, even accompanied by a gold plaque to create the illusion of the artist he strived to be, and is shaping up to be now. Though a keen eye will pick up the words “The Debut Album” on the plaque.
Jesse James Solomon // Strata // Once in a Blue Moon Records // 2018
Jesse’s 2018 EP Strata follows the reflective nature of his previous works. The title of the release is a nod to the prominent Strata building of the same name in South-East London where the rapper hails from. The project is a recount of day-to-day life as a youngster in the South-East postcodes and the artwork, which he painted himself, works to set the stage of the story that unfolds in his lyrics. For the cover, Jesse painted the Strata building itself, towering over the skyline of Southwark at the end
of a winding pathway through the council park. Such an image is comparable to the opening shot of a movie and that’s exactly the purpose it strives to fulfil.
D Double E feat Ghetts // Where Do We Come From? // Bluku Music // 2019
November last year saw two heavyweights, D Double E and Ghetts, band together for the release of “Where Do We Come From?”. The track pays tribute to East London, the mutual home of the two MC’s. And the cover art utilizes a very simple black and green design with a very clear core message
– a map of East London’s postal districts not to scale) contained within a love heart. This simple yet clever design does more than enough to encapsulate the love the two rappers have for their territory.
Ed Scissor // Better.Luck.Next.Life // High Focus Records // 2012
This eerie and experimental record was Ed Scissor’s debut album and the first of many more collaborations between Ed and Lamplight, who supplied the instrumentals. Scissortongue claims he’s beats-before-bars when it comes to working on a song, so it’s safe to say the mood of the album largely owes itself to lamplight, with Ed being the man to harness that mood lyrically. The artwork for this record cultivates this mood exceptionally well too, drawing on abstract imagery to provoke thought about the passage of time and the monotony of life, common themes explored throughout the music. The artistry, both lyrical and visual, form together nicely to force one to ponder life.