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Hennessy Artistry presents ‘Beyond music with Jonathan Mannion’


…The Legend Behind Hip-hop Album Covers

Anyone born in the 80’s, whoever marveled at the cover of a hip-hop magazine or sat staring at their favorite rapper’s album cover has likely seen most of their musical heroes through Mannion’s lens.

For superstars like Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Lauryn Hill, Rick Ross, Eminem, Snoop Dog and countless others, Jonathan Mannion’s vision, consistency, and ability to innovate has made him the go-to image-maker for the most important projects of their careers.

In the history of hip-hop, no photographer has created more memorable images of the culture than Jonathan Mannion. Since he stepped onto the New York rap scene in 1993, the Cleveland native has produced iconic visuals that indelibly defined a generation of rap, R&B, and reggae artists.

Mannion’s first established himself as a cultural force through his work with the recording industry, documenting over twenty years of hip-hop music. Early in his career, when many in mainstream media were dismissing rap music as a passing fad, Mannion was hustling to create the cover art for Jay-Z’s debut LP, Reasonable Doubt. It was the first of many iconic album covers with prominent MCs that quickly crowned Mannion as hip-hop premiere visual biographer.

Born and raised in Cleveland, Mannion didn’t study photography, but psychology and art – an interesting combination that illustrates his different mind-set into the business. The hip-hop quintessential cameraman has combined his love for rap music with an infectious interpersonal savvy and tenacity for constantly finding different angles, turning passion and personality into capturing some of the most iconic portraiture to ever come out of hip-hop culture.

Through his unique encounters, the photographer extraordinaire has over the past 20 years, captured the development of hip-hop culture, initially confidential and underground, and has since become a global phenomenon. He has produced over 300 album covers for some of the biggest names in the hip-hop music industry. And most recently, he was the photographer behind the iconic Beats by Dre ‘Straight Outta’ campaign.

It need be noted that hip-hop music has been popular in Africa since the early 1980s following a widespread American influence. Today that genre of music style on the African continent ranges from American-inspired beats and rhymes, to bongo flava, kwaito to the satirical hip-hop.

The genre of music in Africa has been and it is still the music of aspiration, and the Hennessy brand is always in the mix. The genre of music has grown over the years and African hip-hop artistes have become the engine of political and social conscious rhymes. At its peak right now with its continuously new talent changing the game and the music genre and sound evolving, African hip-hop is putting the content on the map.

In a long line of outstanding music partnerships including Hennessy Artistry sessions from Hennessy, the number cognac brand and producer of the finest cognac in the world, presents one of the most published and respected photographers in hip-hop culture, Jonathan Mannion in what is termed as ‘The Legend Behind Hip-Hop Album Covers.’

The cognac brand is excited to introduce photographer to Nigeria this October, as part of the celebrations of this year’s Hennessy Artistry; projecting him as a perfect representation of a genre that has played an important role in the growth of the brand — hip-hop. The legendary photographer will be in Lagos to showcase some of his iconic works.

According to the Brand Manager, Hennessy Nigeria, Lere Awokoya, the brand is excited about bringing Jonathan Mannion to Nigeria. He stated that both Hennessy and Mannion have played a key role in the development and formation of the DNA of the hip-hop music and culture.

“Art and hip-hop enthusiasts will be presented with an invaluable opportunity to explore some of Jonathan Mannion’s legendary body of work. For us, this is an initiative, which remains true to Hennessy Artistry — celebrating music, and in this case, rather creatively and hopefully, memorably.”

Launched in 2006, Hennessy Artistry focuses on celebrating music and discovering unrecognized new talent. The project being the first of its kind in Nigeria is another initiative of Hennessy Artistry as a continuous means of expressing its love for music.

In 2009, Hennessy Artistry was introduced to Nigeria, and has engaged the Nigerian audience with series of activities that has propelled talented artistes to some of Nigeria’s stars today like M.I Abaga, D’Banj, Ice Prince, TuFace Idibia, Banky W, WizKid, Nneka, Tiwa Savage, Praiz, and Burna Boy among others. It has been celebrated by the most diverse musical influences, ranging from classical to jazz, funk, soul, hip-hop, R&B, and pop amongst others in the world.

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