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6LACK - Since I Have A Lover | ALBUM COVER REVIEW
ENTRY 24: everything is purple
6LACK’s almost five year hiatus is coming to a close, as we’re presented with one of the most well executed covers of the year so far.
The Album Cover
Since I Have A Lover is 6LACK’s third studio album. It’s been five years since his last album, 2018’s East Atlanta Love Letter. I’ve been a huge fan of his since he really came onto the scene with “PRBLMS” in 2016, following a similar blueprint set by contemporaries Drake, Bryson Tiller, and PARTYNEXTDOOR.
Placing his new album cover in context of his prior releases, we see some small trends.
Each cover is photographic, and features 6LACK himself, front and centre. These are really the only visual trends we have, as his discography isn’t that expansive yet. SIHAL is the first cover of his to not feature any other subject, with East Atlanta Love Letter showing him holding his new child, and FREE 6LACK having him next to a fucking 700 pound grizzly bear. The new cover is also the first to not have any typography anywhere, whereas the first two both have the album’s titles.
The album cover was shot by Daniel Prakopcyk, a photographer who has worked with the likes of SZA, Bruno Mars, Polo G, The Kid Laroi, Noah Cyrus, and many more.
The vast composition here may be the selling point for the cover. 6LACK lands just off-centre, toward the bottom of the frame, but the shape of his body and arms create stark directional lines that lead our eyes up and out of the frame.
The album cover features 6LACK standing shirtless in a natural environment, enveloped by the massive sky all around him. As mentioned earlier, this is the first cover to not feature another subject other than himself, so it may be an even more personal reflection of the singer, something of a statement record.
Colour-wise, we’re immediately blasted with this hazy purple sky that fills about three quarters of the frame. The cloudy sky then creates this lovely fluid gradient made up of all these varying shades of purple. It fits so well with what I think of when it comes to 6LACK’s moody blend of confessional trap and hip-hop infused R&B. His bandana even appears to match the purple sky. The singles so far have gone well with this mood too, most notably the title track.
On the topic of the title track and lead single, let’s discuss this incredible cover art. Shot by Inari Briana, with creative direction by Adrian Martinez, this cover is atmospheric, textural, and practically impressive.
Here we see 6LACK again, this time suspended in mid-air, floating above a natural patch of green grass and foliage among an otherwise suburban backdrop. It’s almost like he’s coming out of some sort of grass-portal, or maybe falling into it.
One of the easiest ways to tell if a creative team/label is taking an album rollout seriously is the single art. It is waayyyyy too often entirely overlooked in place of something that could just be posted on Insta as an outfit pic. They went above and beyond here, which is so welcomed and refreshing to see.
Similarly to the main cover, the composition is sprawling and wide open, with plenty of room to let the piece breathe. He is floating just off-centre, which is another compositional element borrowed from the main cover, and much more visually interesting than a dead-centre placement. It creates visual tension and ultimately more motion across the page.
The washed out orange and pink sunset in the background is so beautiful, and without it draping over everything in sight, the shot might feel apocalyptic.
Onto the merch, which took me some coming around to, but I do like it.
Only a few pieces have seen the light of day as of writing this, but they’re very fitting of what we’ve seen so far of the rollout. It may have been too obvious and maybe un-wearable to do a purple tee, so they’ve gone with a washed black and cream palette. The design work was done by Luke Fenstemaker, a graphic designer working at Sturdy, a visual agency in Los Angeles.
I think he did a great job with the content provided, 6LACK’s merch has always been quite understated and subtle, almost reading more like lifestyle clothing than merchandise. My favourite is the first black tee on the left, I love the type breakdown of the album’s details.
Side note—Luke did all the merch and vinyl packaging design, and Peach helped out on the CD packaging.
Really great work here, I’m so happy with this run for 6LACK. It’s clear that a lot of care was taken from the initial art direction all the way down to the execution of each part. A nice and concise collection of cohesive bits that are all visually interesting in their own ways, and come together nicely to great effect.