July 17, 2019 / 5:34 PM

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8 Album Covers With A Childhood Photo Of The Artist: Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, And More



Childhood is generally not the most badass part of a person's life, which is why childhood photos are often brought out by your parents when they feel like embarrassing you. However, these eight artists embraced these childhood photos, and ended up using them to create iconic album covers.

1. Nas - Illmatic (1994)

Back in 1994, Nas started the hip-hop trend of using a baby picture for an album cover with his classic debut Illmatic, which features a photo of the rapper at age 7 superimposed over a photo of the Queensbridge Projects were he grew up. Five months after Illmatic dropped, fellow NYC rapper The Notorious B.I.G. also used a photo of a baby for the cover of his debut Ready To Die, which was criticized by Wu-Tang Clan members Raekwon and Ghostface Killah as a rip-off.

2. Sebadoh - Bakesale (1994)

One of the funniest album covers in indie rock history is the cover for Sebadoh's fifth album Bakesale, which features a photograph of guitarist Lou Barlow at age one, reaching into a toilet without any clothes on (this was probably right after a bath). Hopefully Barlow's mother pulled him away from the toilet right after she took the picture.

3. Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III (2008)

One of the many hip-hop album covers inspired by Illmatic was the cover for Lil Wayne's 2008 album Tha Carter III, which features a photo of an infant Wayne with (hopefully) Photoshopped tattoos and a remarkably sharp-looking suit. Apparently Wayne was a boss even before he could walk.

4. Grouper - Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill (2008)

Nearly every one of Grouper's album covers is black and white, with one very notable exception: her 2008 breakthrough Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, which features a mysterious photograph of Liz Harris as a child, dressed entirely in black (possibly a "witch's costume," as Pitchfork suggests) and starting at the camera with the joyless intensity of someone 20 years her senior. If that wasn't a Halloween costume, then there must be a fascinating story behind the picture.

5. Johnny Cash - American VI: Ain't No Grave (2010)

Johnny Cash's American VI: Ain't No Grave was the final album in his acclaimed American album series, released more than six years after his death, and though the covers for his previous American albums featured stark photographs of Cash in the twilight of his life, Ain't No Grave took a different route by using a photo of Cash as a child, presumably taken some time in the '40s.

6. Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012)

Like Lil Wayne and Nas before him, Kendrick Lamar also used a photo of himself as a child for the cover of his album good kid, m.A.A.d city, thought what sets Kendrick's cover apart is that he used a photo of his family, with his uncles and grandfather sitting alongside him. When discussing the censor their eyes in the photo, but not his own, Kendrick explained that the story of the album was told through his eyes.

7. Disclosure - Settle (2013)

While the other albums on this list feature just one child on their covers, the cover for Disclosure's 2013 debut Settle features a photograph of both Guy and Howard Lawrence as children (since they're brothers and grew up together), with their faces obscured by the group's now-iconic facial outline imagery.

8. Tweedy - Sukierae (2014)

Wilco have never appeared on their own album covers, but the closest that frontman Jeff Tweedy has ever gotten to gracing the front of an album is his recent album Sukierae, recorded with his song Spencer on drums, which features a photo of Tweedy as a child in front of a fence with "Tweedy" written across it in graffiti (though the graffiti is most definitely Photoshopped).

What are some other album covers where the artist is depicted as a child? Let us know down in the comments section!

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