We sat down with Jamla artist, GQ and dug through some of the details in the album art for his new album “Rated Oakland” which drops June 24th. This vignette-style illustration depicting the gritty texture of life in Oakland was created by Oak City Hustler, Seano. Let’s pull the curtain with GQ and get the behind-the-scenes story on this dynamic album cover.
“I wanted the artwork stand out and be something that would catch people’s eye. I had so many ideas and wanted to use them all. So with the cover I found a way to incorporate all of my ideas into one. Besides the drawing itself, it was important that the colors were eye-catching while still complementing the music and vibe of the project. It’s almost as if the artwork has brought the album to life.”
“This section of the illustration is a symbol of my first love which is basketball. The building featured in this section is the Oracle Arena where the Golden State Warriors play. This signifies the dreams of so many youth not just in Oakland, but everywhere. A goal many may have. This part of the cover says a lot to me. Desire, hunger, passion, devotion and challenges.”
“The car, alcohol/Hennessey bottle and woman/prostitute are just a few temptations of many in Oakland. A few things that stand out in the city’s lifestyle. Many things discussed throughout the album are reflected in these these drawings.”
“Money, dice, Grand Lake Theatre and a sexy lady. Again, things that stood out to me when thinking about Oakland and the world in general. (Money)…something everybody wants and needs. It makes the world spin and can become your best friend and worst enemy all in the same breath. (Dice)…I chose the dice to symbolize the chances many of take daily. Whether it’s sacrificing to provide for your child, moving without money or transportation just to strive for a better life, illegal acts done just to keep the lights on, etc. Whatever it may be, life is a gamble for all of us in some way. (Grand Lake Theatre)….a very monumental place in Oakland near Lake Merritt. A theatre that’s been existing for years but I looked at it deeper. Since its a theatre, that’s how I see my city. A theatre, and everyday we as the people living in multiple movies. Many characters with many roles. (Sexy Lady)…Temptation, fun, lust, beauty, love, women, all things I think of when thinking of both women and just my city in general. It has many different shades of beauty.”
“The grandmother crying speaks volumes. Symbolizing the many tears over those lost and painful days and nights. Also, as her hands are held together as if she’s praying she is seeking for guidance and comfort in some shape or form. This is also explored throughout the album in different ways.”
“This cover art genuinely reflects the vibe and sound of the music. It compliments the mood of the project and I hope when people will see the artwork it will make them want to take a listen.”