When 21 Savage and Metro Boomin unveiled the nostalgic album cover for Savage Mode II, it was quickly reported to have been laced by Pen & Pixel. For those who don’t know, Pen & Pixel was originally founded by brothers Shawn and Aaron Brauch, who previously worked at J. Prince’s Rap-A-Lot Records. Since transitioning into graphic design, they went on to lace countless classic covers including Snoop Dogg’s Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not To Be Told,Let Em Burn by the Hot Boys, Doin Thangs by Big Bear (an arguable best, according to some), 400 Degreez by Juvenile, and many more.
And though Pen & Pixel did work on designing the cover for Savage Mode II, the final version was different from the design they contributed. During an interview with the Breaking Atoms podcast, Shawn Brauch broke down their involvement in Savage Mode II, and how it ultimately went on to change in the final released version.
“The cover that you see out there has elements of the original cover,” he explains. “The full cover was done and done to the specifics that were indicated, and the team came back and said ‘we want to make these major changes.’ However, the deadline was the 17th and they came back to me on the 16th. And I was like ‘But I got it done on the 14th because you had a major deadline for release on the 17th.’ But they were like ‘we want to make these major changes’ and I was like ‘wow, that is shocking to me after going through all of these details and I said my heart is not in that.”
“I said I could certainly do that for you,” he continues. “I said I’ll send you a new invoice and we can move on to what your changes are going to be, and I never heard from them again. And I delivered my deliverables to them and I never heard from them again. And then the next time I see the cover come out, I’m like ‘wow, so that’s it’. I was shocked to see it come out, obviously, and I was shocked to see that there were that many changes done to the cover.”
From the sound of it, the designing process of Savage Mode II’s beloved cover was not as smooth as initially believed. For those interested in checking out the original artwork as designed by Pen & Pixel, you can do so at their official website right here. While not entirely dissimilar, it’s clear that there were a few creative differences given the changes made — not to mention the disappointment evident in Brock’s statement. Be sure to catch the full interview with Shawn Brock on Breaking Atoms when it drops on October 20th. Which cover do you prefer?