Meek Mill’s fifth studio album, Expensive Pain, is available to stream everywhere now.
While the album sits in the No. 2 spot of Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums, according to Billboard, it’s the album cover that’s becoming the talk of the town. Per Complex, the cover depicts an illustration of three naked Black women, one holding a stripper pole, one bent over grabbing her ankles and another showing off her backside in accompainment with dollar signs, palm trees and a boat.
The cover was plastered over a bus on Hollywood Boulevard in California and has drawn criticism and outrage from the public, in particular, a very angry white man who likened the depictions to “satanism”:
“What the fuck is this?,” the man screamed. “This is on the side of a bus rolling through your street, rolling through the side of your street. Is this what you want, Black women? Is this what you want, Black women? Is this what you want, Black women!”
First of all, I don’t know why you’re asking all Black women if this is what we want when we, as a collective, never had anything to do with this in the first place. This is MEEK MILL’s album, how about asking him if this imagery is what he wants? Or better yet, why don’t you ask the Black woman hired to do the artwork, Nina Chanel Abney, and maybe she can explain it to you herself.
While this man and others online have expressed disappointment and outrage in this particular cover, one artist is standing by the cover: rapper Killer Mike. In a tweet sent out on Tuesday evening, the artist and activist defended the imagery, writing: “It’s art. Absolutely. We as a society see naked humans in art in museums. We should also be cultured enough as adults & parents to have a convo about nudity & art with our children. I say this as a parent, rapper & a High Museum of ART Board member. Love & Respect Doc.”
Neither Meek Mill nor Abney have responded the backlash.