Counterculture artist Ralph Steadman is best known for his illustrations for the books of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson and for Rolling Stone Magazine in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but Steadman, now 81, is still active as an artist and recently illustrated an album cover for hip-hop act Huncho Jack. Keeping up with the current doings of their old artist, Rolling Stone Magazine has an article about how the rap duo approached Steadman to illustrate the cover of their brand new album Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho.
Steadman isn’t a follower of rap music, but the young American rap act were fans of his classic work, in particular his desert-themed illustrations for Hunter S. Thompson’s book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and reached out to the British artist and asked him to create a picture for their album cover in his classic style. Steadman said he’d do it and spent time listening to their music and looking at pictures of the two rappers.
He was inspired by the energy of their raps and by their dreadlocks and image, and he produced an excellent picture of the two rappers in front of a desert backdrop in his signature and immediately recognizable look. Both rappers look a little deranged and slightly crazed, very similar to how Hunter S. Thompson came across in Steadman’s pictures of him so many years ago.
The rappers were pleased with the illustration and are using a stage set based on it during their tour. For his own part, Steadman said that he’s happy to have been an inspiration to musicians so many years his junior. He reported that, on one hand, the experience made him feel old when he realized how little he knows about contemporary music, but he was pleased that he was able to come through and still be relevant to a younger audience. He also indicated that he’d be pleased to do more artwork for rappers.