A few weeks ago 2016 breakout artist Lil Yachty unveiled the cover art for his debut album Teenage Emotions. The cover features people from all walks of life sitting in what appears to be a movie theater. In front of him, a girl afflicted with vitiligo sits laughing, while behind him a gay couple make out. The cover’s already being lauded online for its inclusive slant, and on Instagram Live, Lil Boat discussed the inspiration behind it: “If you have vitiligo or if you’re gay or whatever it is, embrace yourself. Love yourself. Be happy, positive.”
Legendary photographer Kenneth Cappello shot the cover and graphic designer Mihailo Andic, who handled Yachty’s logo and did the covers for both Lil Boat and Summer Songs 2, designed it. XXL interview Andic, who is only 23 years old, and we posted some of the highlights below. Also, GENIUS was able to sit down with Lil Boat himself for what he thought the cover meant, watch that video below as well.
Talk about casting the different characters on the cover. How’d you pick these people? How’d you find them?
That was back to what Yachty wanted to include in the cover, and we did a bit of ideation around that before, but he had a pretty good idea of who he wanted in the cover, and he wanted this cover to stand for inclusion and all teenagers. He’s pretty much the king of teens and he just wanted to show no matter who you are, you have to embrace who you are and you have to be be proud and be yourself, and I think that’s what we captured with this cover.
You mentioned some previous ideas you had before you settled on this one. What were they?
I had two sets of ideas before this. The first set actually were in the same lane as the whole teenager, taking it back kind of vibe, and then the others were a little more in line with what Lil Boat and Summer Songs 2 looked like, a little more nautical, just expanding that universe. But to be honest with you, I don’t think we were leaning toward that direction and those kind of ideas. They felt a little too mimicky of the first two covers, so we just pushed them to the side and said you know what, time to progress. Time to build on this and create something new and unique.
Any last words on the cover?
For this cover, once we had this idea nailed down and we were in the process of executing it, we kind of knew this one was gonna make an impact. It was a little more about the message this time around. It wasn’t as artistic or even you could say expressive, it was more a cover that had a meaning, and more so it had a message for everyone. And I’m glad that everybody sees that message.