The initial cover art for Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon, seen above, was shared yesterday (June 29). Posting it through his personal Instagram account, Abloh recalled in a caption how he and Pop Smoke had spoke about art direction before the Brooklyn drill upstart was shot and killed during a home invasion at his Hollywood Hills house in February.
"In your memory I just finished it yesterday," Abloh wrote of the cover.
Manager Steven Victor added in a separate post, "everything we talked about is happening, the only thing is you're not here in the flesh to see it all come together. you wanted Virgil to design your album cover and lead creative.."
Fans didn't wait long to share reaction to Abloh's work, chiefly pointing out that the image of Pop Smoke that appears on the artwork is also the first Google image search result. While face shadows and the rapper's forehead tattoo have plainly been tweaked, keen-eyed fans also pointed to how Abloh had Van Gogh'd the artist's left ear.
DAMNIT Virgil posted the cover on Instagram but he locked the comments 😭😭😭😂 pic.twitter.com/aslMEoBHrz— lil shorty bulgogi (@wsupden) June 29, 2020
Virgil put zero effort into that album cover. He literally used the first photo that comes up when you search Pop Smoke's name on Google. pic.twitter.com/pe9egHcjQj— NUFF (@nuffsaidny) June 29, 2020
The surrounding barbed wire and clear crystals were also likened to a lazy mashup of covers from Drake & Future and Post Malone. Some listeners even went as far as showing how quickly they could recreate the cover themselves in photo editing software.
why the fuck Virgil edit Pop Smoke's ear out lmaoo pic.twitter.com/oTSf7yKbsZ— Rap Villain (@rapvillainy) June 30, 2020
Virgil fr used PicsArt for this..🤦♂️🤣 pic.twitter.com/hWzye2v1VY— NemoAintShit! (@NEMOHHOES) June 29, 2020
Pop Smoke album speedrun World Record 0:41 pic.twitter.com/FkCf9mSk4r— astro 🥤💨 #RIPCooch (@astro_hours) June 30, 2020
A Change.org petition to "Change Pop Smokes Album Artwork" is closing in on 20,000 signatures as of publication time, claiming Abloh was "wild lazy" in creating it. One comment calls the Off-White head an "artistic terrorist," while another calls for him to "never...touch a computer ever again."
I just made that Virgil Pop Smoke album on IG story lol: pic.twitter.com/SRUAgjZZiv— Kristofferson (@hikristofferson) June 30, 2020
Victor soon announced that the artwork would get a redesign, tweeting, "H E A R D YOU," "B R B," "MAKING A CHANGE," and "POP WOULD LISTEN TO HIS FANS" in response. 50 Cent, who claims to have mastered the album, added separately, "Hey Virgil we need new album art, they ain't going for this bullshit. Love ya work let's get to it. Steven i told you this shit was eww let get it right!"
This is far from Abloh's first rodeo. Earlier this year, he designed the cover art for Westside Gunn's acclaimed Pray for Paris album, adding some Griselda chains to the painting David with the Head of Goliath by Caravaggio — who was Italian.
MAKING A CHANGE— Steven-San Victor (@StevenVictor) June 30, 2020
More famously, Abloh oversaw the art direction of JAY-Z and Kanye West's 2011 team-up Watch the Throne, which had its art and cover designed by Italian designer Riccardo Tisci.
Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon will follow Pop Smoke's pair of breakout mixtapes: 2019's Meet the Woo and this year's Meet the Woo 2.