Seven Times Down Eight Times Up

Elzhi’s third studio album 7 x DOWN 8 x UP, released on all major DSPs on September 25th of 2020. I worked closely with Elzhi to design the standard 2LP vinyl jacket, along with a special edition version which will be released in a limited issue of 200 copies. 

One of the first challenges was to assure that the photos were color corrected and formatted to fit the vinyl jacket dimensions.  This required quite a bit of manipulation as the original photos did not fit the proposed vinyl jacket size and the lighting wasn’t ideal.  I took to the task of separating each element in the photo to correct the colors and improve the lighting. My goal was to play on the album title and create a moody scene which shows Elzhi stepping up from the shadows. 

Cover Design

Special Edition Artwork

For the special edition I worked with Elzhi to create illustrations that represent each track.  We decided to feature these on the vinyl jacket and one of the reasons is because that we wanted to appeal to record collectors.  The artwork would give this version of the album distinction, along with a gold printing effect.

We collaborated closely to figure out which references we thought fit the imagery for each track. The most challenging illustration turned out to be #9, Potential.  After going through the design process and examining the meaning of the word, I thought that a butterfly would be a great way to depict the idea of transformation.  

My goal was to relate it to the Hip Hop art form so I decided to add a right and left aux input into the tree and I also colored it the same style that was used on the classic album by A Tribe Called Quest, Low End Theory. I enjoy figuring out creative ways to pay homage to the art that has inspired me over the years. This felt like a great opportunity to thank the Hip Hop gods for continuing to help me grow to my true potential.

Social Media Marketing & Branding

I was responsible for creating the promotional graphics that would be used across all social media channels. In addition to promoting the album release date, I created artwork for the 3 focus tracks, Jason, Smoke & Mirrors, and Light One Write One (L1W1).

One of the key marketing initiatives that I helped to develop was a virtual cypher (group session where MC’s get together to freestyle).  Participants in the cypher would stream the instrumental version of L1W1 and record themselves rapping over the beat, which they shared that via social media. Elzhi then posted the performances to his channels as a way of generating engagement with his fans and keeping the social media channels buzzing in the lead up to album release day.