The best part about music stores back in the day was browsing through the album cover art, and sometimes even buying a giant poster of it to plaster on your bedroom wall. Cover art now seems to be an afterthought with people buying all of their music online, but Marvel Comics is here to change that.
Marvel launched an ongoing exclusive album series featuring different covers for select collector’s editions of our favorite hip-hop throwbacks.
This collab with Urban Legends, the urban catalog platform of Universal Music Enterprises (UMe), will feature Iron Man standing behind cracked glass for 50 Cent’s 2003 debut, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’; the Punisher replicating LL Cool J’s famous stance on the cover of his 1990 album Mama Said Knock You Out; and Iron Man dueling Maestro, mirroring the cover of GZA’s second studio album, Liquid Swords.
Marvel Comics originally debuted these album art-inspired images as comic book variants for many of their top comic titles in 2015, reinterpreted by a number of fan-favorite comic book artists. The first releases will be out on Dec. 7, with more to follow.
Each album release will boast a pair of collectible options, the first one being a double color vinyl Variant Cover Collector’s Edition that replaces the album’s original image with Marvel’s variant hip-hop cover art.
Second, a Deluxe Variant Cover Collector’s Edition will feature the album itself inside a gatefold LP with the variant cover printed directly on the front. The deluxe collector’s edition will include double color vinyl, along with a copy of the limited edition corresponding Marvel comic book that ties in with the artwork. The deluxe version will also include a 3-D lenticular print of Marvel’s variant cover artwork. Each initial Collector’s Edition will be capped at 3,000 units.
UMe plans to release hip-hop variant albums each quarter at traditional record stores and retail channels or directly to fans. The initial limited edition runs will be capped at 5,000 units each.
Preorder the first three titles at the links below:
Released in 2003 by Shady/Aftermath/Interscope, 50 Cent’s debut Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ was the year’s best-selling album worldwide, featuring “In Da Club,” “21 Questions,” and “P.I.M.P.” The exclusive hip-hop variant cover inspired by this album was originally drawn and colored by Brian Stelfreeze for Invincible Iron Man #1 in 2015.
LL Cool J’s multi-platinum fourth studio album, Mama Said Knock You Out, was released in 1990 by Def Jam. The exclusive hip-hop variant cover inspired by this album was originally drawn and colored by Tim Bradstreet for Punisher #1 in 2016.
Released in 1995 by Geffen, GZA’s platinum-certified second solo studio album, Liquid Swords, is recognized as a particularly strong solo release by a member of the Wu-Tang Clan. The exclusive hip-hop variant cover inspired by this album was originally drawn by Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz and colored by Chris Sotomayor for Contest of Champions #1 in 2015.