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The Art History of Drake: Influences on Nothing Was the Same’s Cover

Illustration Harry Gassel
August 24, 2013

Earlier this week, Drake pushed back his hotly anticipated new album, Nothing Was the Same, and unveiled its two covers. They're by Kadir Nelson, a 39-year-old painter who's best known for his portraits of heroes like Nelson Mandela, Michael Jordan and Harriet Tubman. By commissioning a portrait of himself, Drake's perhaps measuring his own status and place in history. On first glance, that move is heavily inspired by contemporary painter Kehinde Wiley, whose Renaissance-style portraits transform regular guys into icons. But the covers also evoke video games, surrealists, '70s soft rock and Beyoncé's baby. Here's a brief breakdown of possible influences on Drake's work of art.

1. Cory Arcangel, Super Mario Clouds. 2002.

2. René Magritte, The Son of Man. 1964.

3. Michael Jackson, Michael LP. 2010. Painting by Kadir Nelson.

4. Antony and the Johnsons, Antony and the Johnsons LP. 2000.

5. Tyler, the Creator, Wolf Deluxe Edition LP. 2013. Painting by Mark Dryden.

6. Notorious B.I.G., Ready to Die LP. 1994. Photographed by Butch Belair, designed by Cey Adams.

7. Usher, Looking For Myself LP. 2012.

8. Blue Ivy Carter. 2013.

9. K.A. Applegate, Animorphs: The Invasion. 1996.

10. Leo Sayer, Endless Flight LP. 1976.

11. Memorial murals.

12. The Sims 4. 2014.

13. Earth, Wind & Fire, Another Time LP. 1974.

14. Eddie Murphy f. Michael Jackson, "Whatzupwitu" video. 1993.

15. Kehinde Wiley, Go. 2003.

The Art History of Drake: Influences on Nothing Was the Same’s Cover