NOTHING WAS THE SAME was created in the image of a classic, which is why the OVO team needed a legendary artist to manifest what Drake and 40 were creating sonically. Kadir Nelson was commissioned to paint the image of baby Graham looking up at the sky with wide-eyed innocence and the older Drake looking straight ahead with a world-weariness. Dynamic, warm, and regal, Nelson’s paintings graced album (Michael Jackson’s 2010 posthumous album Michael) and New Yorker covers.
“Sometimes when I try and think back through this journey it’s so hard to pinpoint all these moments and it gets foggy...What that album art is to me, is the fact that this is my most clear, concise thoughts from now and my best recollection of then.” (MTV News)
“Art is always open for interpretation, but he wanted something that represented his heart both as a kid and as an adult...Drake was looking for something that was iconic, that would be a signature painting of mine. So I approached this as if it were something that would have resonance not only for now, but for all time." (MTV News)
Ultimately, what Nelson creation evoked the spirit of a classic hip-hop trope—the baby on the album cover (Nas’s Illmatic, The Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready to Die, Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III).