Five Stunning Kenyan Album Art Covers

Music isn’t just about the music. Sure, the sounds are certainly the most essential element, nevertheless, it’s impossible to ignore the role of cover art in making a brilliant album. From the fold-out gatefolds of the vinyl era to pull-out liner notes in CD jewel cases to the small icon on a digital player, cover art has changed over the years, yet it still defines how we look at a particular album. Photographic portraits, paintings, collages, illustrations, and more. 
The continuing trend of Kenyan musicians collaborating with digital and traditional artists to create a perfect visual identity for their projects is astounding. Kenyan Music & Kenyan Arts’ similarities in the way in which a project is created and consumed is a clear sign of this relationship. This blend of two creative disciplines was almost inevitable.
Let’s check out some of these projects.

5. Shraplife - AD FAMILY

Alliance Domini Family (ADF) is a musical collective and an independent record label that was formed back in 2010. ADF members Boutross & K Green were part of the Homeboyz Freshmen Class Of 2015 and another member Dope joined the collective in early 2016, after which they proceeded to release numerous studio projects.

in this Album Cover, the blend of a marble abstract background with a rendered 3d garden in the continents is amazing. Using a custom light font for the title gives it a modern style. Just like their style of music, a modern style.
Listen to ShrapLife.

4. Hatua - Arrow Boy

Our boy Arrow Bwoys' 12-track album was released on August 30th, 2019. Hatua is a Swahili word that translates to strides or steps. This was one solid project.

So let’s talk about the design going on here…At first glance, the use of doodle illustrations in photography doesn’t look that complicated until you take a closer look. Using masks to create a 3d effect giving the composition more depth and a great look making it appear like the subject is inside the doodles…that was awesome!. Blending flat vectors with photos into 3d compositions is a touch of class.
Listen to Hatua.

3. Afrikan Sauce - Sauti Sol

Following what felt like centuries, Sauti Sol finally debuted their fifth album, ‘Afrikan Sauce,’ on January 31st, 2019 and the rest is history. The music was not the only element that leaped ahead in this project, the cover art was not far behind.

From traditional art to modern art, this particular composition should serve as a baseline on how to cross the two. The traditional Maasai man with a radio system for a head holding two guitars almost gives us a sense of a modernized traditional man. How many traditional Maasai men have you seen rocking a guitar?… Exactly. That is where the African culture is at the moment, a place of exploration and celebration of our own.
Listen to Afrikan Sauce.

2. 6ixviewsii8k - Boutross

The runner-up on our list is Boutruss with his album '6ixviewsii8k' which was released on August 30th, 2019. 6ixviewsii8k is a blend of Nairobi culture and the best of popular emerging music genre 'Shrap', which is a fuse of Rap and Trap packaged in Nairobi’s sheng’ lingo.

Where to begin?……Exploration. Wonder. Futuristic. These are the words that come to mind when we see this cover art. An expression from an imaginative mind. The duotone color mixing of purple & pink just further plunges one’s mind into its wonder. It sure looks like some fantastic rendering went on here. The music in the album ices the cake.
Listen to 6ixviewsii8k.

1. SHE - Muthoni Drummer Queen.

Number one on our list is none other than The Queen Of Kenyan Hip-Hop, Muthoni Drummer Queen. Her studio album 'She' is the best collaboration of Kenyan Art & Music that we could find. This was a masterclass of talent & execution!

The stunning artwork is a collaborative project between Muthoni, renowned visual artist Michael Soi, together with the acclaimed creative team of Lucy Robi (Stylist) Peter Mutuma & Roy N’cherie (photography) and Musa Omusi (Graphic designer). In creating the artwork on Muthoni’s body, for the first time, there were photographs of the artist working directly with the human bodies. This is just a brief part of the work in Michael Soi’s exhibition The Mother Board. Check it out in the catalog here.
Blazing with The Mother Board theme, the lighting, and editing of the photo, the shade of makeup blending with the background is just perfect. This was an Album Cover that truly showed what could happen when collaboration in the creative field.
Listen to SHE.

Comment (1)

  • Thomas Ayuaki

    SHE is definitely no.1. I didn’t know it was worked on with Michael Soi though…

Leave a Reply to Thomas Ayuaki Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll up