Make it a Hip-Hop Christmas

Just in Time for Christmas
Click on image to view larger.

Occasionally I'll do some artwork for my brother-in-law, Nate (aka DJ DUST), for his hip-hop group Mars ILL. This year Nate decided to have a little fun by recording a Christmas album, so he paired up with fellow DeepSpace5'er, Listener, and thus, Just in Time for Christmas was born. To compliment the "fartin' around" attitude that the album seemed to take, Nate wanted to do something a little different from your typical yuletide cheery album cover art. What a better way to convey this than to have your average run-down hobo-like Santa taking a little listen to some beats on some funked-out super-MOOG? Makes sense to me.

To buy this hip-hop holiday extravaganza, click HERE. (Scroll down a bit.)


  1. Nice work. And you always integrate such appropriate fonts, too. I've noticed few illustrators do that well.

  2. Man your eye is so good on album art. I get so tired of almost all the album art I see... but your stuff is seriously off the charts. The album you did for mars ill where it was partially colored in is probably my favorite album art of all time. And I love this one too. If I was an artist I would pay any price for you to do my art :) Thanks so much for your originality and eye.

    Jeff (my husband) will be going to a listener party at reubens next week. :)

  3. Why thank you zabs! That was very nice of you to say. Yeah, I really had a great time with Backbreakanomics (the one you're referring to).

    Oh, and Justin, for the record, I did not do the font placement. I did the illustration only. Nate did that part at the top, where it says "stereo" (he replicated it from an old album he had) and he chose the font and placement of the title. He also worked on a few of the dirty album effects.

  4. That's a really great illustration, Ward. My dad is a mall Santa and you've actually captured a look I've seen in is eye before with this sad, tired figure :)

    I'd like to hear some of this CD - I like mars ill and saw them perform last weekend at the eyedrum for the 88.5 benefit.

  5. i couldn't imagine a better cover for a christmas hip hop record......i LOVE It. i am seconding all of zabs comments, backbreakanomics is such a great cover. it is amazing to me that you could capture that retro mid century illustration style and make it look cool and hip hop too. wow. i am seeing the listener this week in concert, i hope he has some of those on hand so i can buy one. with dust's ill beats and this artwork it's a must buy for me.

  6. Ward that's a great illo you did. Very appealing design! Great!

  7. I don't think that santa could get down with hip hop he really old man

  8. jeez, Ward--you continually inspire me. This is incredibly good! I'm intrigued enough just by the cover art to find myself wanting this album...is there a place to hear a sample, though, first?

    Just so so cool, man!

    (I love how you imagined all your posting time would evaporate by now--and you've been posting goodies like a madman! Ain't it always the way? Glad you are still able to amid the seasonal happy insanity)

  9. Very cool illio Ward. I like his retro-"man I need a drink" look. If I was into hip hop I'm certain I'd try out the cd. Then again maybe it's time to further expand my listening horizens.

    This is my first comment posting for your blog. Poking around I find I want to return on a regular basis and absorb things better.
    I like the themes you have going for the week as well. I may have to steal the Ava's Thursday idea and devote a day to my son's creations.
    But I'll give credit for the idea where it's due.

    All the best.

  10. Thanks guys, for digging the artwork on this album. I had fun doing it. It went by rather quickly, so there's plenty that I notice needs fixing, but that's just the typical artist in me who feels is never satisfied with their work.

    Yeah, Jenny, what's up with that? So much for a sabbatical, huh? I've been able to eek out a couple of moments here and there....

    Don, thanks for your first-time comment -- you are always welcome back here. And that's cool with doing something for your kid's artwork. I think it's great that parents support their kid's creativity. Having an outlet to showcase Ava's work online has really encouraged her to keep at it. It's been a fun thing for us.

    Thanks again, guys.

  11. Like I've told you before (at least I think I've told you his before) I think this may just be my favorite illustration from the Ward-O-Matic vaults. Love the character design... the colors are superb... the idea that Santa listens to his Moog through just one headphone is awesome. This is just the peppermint flavored punch in the stomach that I needed to get into the holiday spirit. My hat is off to you, Mr. Jenkins.

  12. I'm a suckah for good packaging and this is one of the best album covers I've ever seen, so I'd get it just for the 'matic artwork, but I listened to the sound clips and its good inside and out! Gonna order one right now.

  13. Ward, I love this too. You and Nate work well together!

    Jenny asked if there was a place to hear a sample--I believe there is one up at the mars ill myspace site. myspace.com/marsill

  14. oh this is just too good!