Photographer Chi Modu Tells Never-Before-Heard Story About Shooting Mobb Deep’s ‘Hell on Earth’ Album Cover
Album artwork helps set the scene for almost any artist's project, and the art for Mobb Deep's Hell on Earth—a project featuring Havoc's ultra-grimy production and Prodigy's piercing street-oriented lyrics—was no different.
Recently, famed photographer Chi Modu used his Instagram account to give a never-before-heard background story on a photoshoot he did for the album, and from the sound of things, the Mobb wanted photos from the shoot to be as gangster-glorifying as possible.
"The Mobb had this idea to do a gangsta style Scarface influenced concept cover for the Hell on Earth album packaging," Modu explained in an Instagram post including a photo from the shoot. "The conversation started with 'We need a marble table!' I knew at that point we were in for a crazy shoot but then there was more... 'We also need pounds of flour so we can dump it on the table like Tony Montona and bundles of rolled up cash!' Okay, got it! So my crew went scouting for a location to host this epic shoot."
After searching for an undisclosed period of time, Modu says he and his crew finally located the perfect place for Mobb Deep's cover shoot: an old monastery in New York City. Modu and the Mobb eventually rented out the space to do their shoot, and what ensued was an E&J-fueled turn-up session that left the folks they rented the space from more than a little upset.
"Part way through the shoot day, as the clouds of smoke were billowing everywhere and the E&J was flowing, the people from the location finally realized what was going on upstairs and they weren't too happy with us," Modu said in his Instagram caption.
He continued, "They felt that our creative expression was desecrating their sacred environment. We paid the rental fee in advance. We had full liability insurance coverage and we didn't burn down the place so what was the issue? All we did was bring some life into their location for a day!"
You can read Modu's entire story and see a rarely seen image from the day's shoot in the Instagram post below.
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