This year, Audio Recon reissued three underground rap albums on vinyl: Neila’s Better Late Than Never, Cam, Gram and G.A.M.’s Party ‘Til Your Body Stops, and The Returners’ Break Up Your Make Up. They resurfaced lesser-known illustrations by Ghostshrimp, whose best known album cover remains MF DOOM and Bishop Nehru’s NehruvianDOOM (Sound of the Son). Audio Recon label owner Rick Haschel answered a few questions about them via email.
How did you begin working with Ghostshrimp?
Shawn [Marbery, owner of the Ooohh! That’s Heavy label] and I are both fans of the music and the visual art aspect of vinyl records. We tend to gravitate towards records that offer the complete package that is amazing music and cover art. We were already fans of and very familiar with Ghostshrimp’s work as he has an impressive body of work and was extremely prolific in providing iconic cover art for some of underground hip hop’s finest specifically during the first decade of the 2000’s. We had been working with Deeskee of Weightless Audio Productions, LA and the legendary la2thebay collective who provides mastering services for us and a multitude of other artists and labels. He presented the opportunity to us to reissue the Returners project on vinyl which he produced. We immediately agreed and Ghostshrimp was as excited as we were and gladly provided the original art files.
Did you initially plan on doing a series of Ghostshrimp covers? Or did that evolve naturally after the first one?
It wasn’t planned but evolved rather rapidly during the planning of the Returners record. While imagining this amazing record on vinyl for the first time with Ghostshrimp’s signature style art on a large format 12×12 record jacket, we knew we were tapping into something special and began down a rabbit hole of researching and remembering other albums he provided art for which never received a proper vinyl release. It was easy to find other projects that fit the bill for this project as Ghostshrimp had worked with a few of our friends and acquaintances in the past. He is the self-proclaimed / undisputed album cover world champion!
Any particular theme(s) fans should look out for in the artwork?
These are the original covers for these releases which were previously released in 2009-2010, but not on vinyl at the time. Per Ghostshrimp, this era of album covers were drawn when he was living in LA and working on Adventure Time. The covers are simple and iconic compared to his post Adventure Time phase of getting super densely detailed.
Three covers have dropped so far. Are there any more?
Currently we have no others in the works. But, I wouldn’t rule it out. We are obsessed with pressing worthy records and turned up a treasure trove of projects that got blessed by the Ghostshrimp but, not by the vinyl gawds. Stay tuned!