ere’s The Kurt Cobain Photo That Inspired Smokepurpp’s ‘Deadstar 2’ Album Art

Published At: 15 December 2019 , 05:15 PM

His 'Deadstar' mixtape paid tribute to GG Allin in 2017.

Smokepurpp recently released his debut studio album, Deadstar 2—and the album cover pays homage to rap's beloved grunge icon: Kurt Cobain.

Last year, photographer Mark Seliger told Artsy about the tale behind the image, which arrives on the cover of his book, Mark Seliger Photographs. "This picture of Kurt Cobain is from a session that gets two months before he passed," he said. "This particular image feels more or less like a portrait but in a still life condition, with these old doll heads on a shelf behind this cascading wall of red flowers. I was making a cover and various images, and it was just an idea I had—a river of consciousness for the most part."

The portrait takes in 1993 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and it was Seliger's second-ever session with the group. "The first time we photographed them had been for the album Nevermind," he stated. "We were in Australia, and they were very resistant. One of my ideas was for them not to wear T-shirts with lettering on them—they tended to promote bands from the Seattle scene—because it could clash with the writing on the original magazine. So Kurt showed up with a T-shirt that stated 'Corporate Magazines Still Suck.'"

"We did not break that, we just ran it on the cover, and I believe that he liked that we didn't edit him at all," he continued. "So when I photographed him the second time, he was very relaxed and had a lot of fun with it and looked to be in great spirits. Two months later, he has gone."

Smokepurpp's appreciation for Cobain is not accurately unknown. In 2017, a New York Times article covered the detail that a then-20-year-old Smokepurpp was rocking a Nirvana tee. He also ridiculed a snippet of a track on Instagram Live, where he name-checked the '90s story.

Somewhat ironically, Purpp has a photo of Mötley Crüe as his header image on Twitter. Back in the '90s, the entrance of grunge led by Nirvana replaced hair metal on the charts, and Cobain had a long-standing dispute with Guns N' Roses.

JAY-Z earlier talked to Pharrell Williams about why Nirvana resonated at that period. "'Hairbands' controlled the airwaves and rock became more about appearances than about actual matter and what it stood for—the restless spirit of youth," he said in the book Pharrell: Places and Spaces I've Been. "That's why '[Smells Like] Teen Spirit' sounded so loud because it was right on point with how everyone thought, you know what I'm saying?"

This isn't the first time Purpp has followed a late rock star on an album cover. For the security of the Deadstar mixtape, he paid homage to a picture of shock-rocker GG Allin's open coffin.

He spoke about his newest release in an interview on Power 105.1. "Just know it's my greatest body of work," he stated. "You know the entire thing is executive created by Mike Dean… So, sonically, it's just on a whole different level—it's an entirely different ball game with this album. It's like a great level-up I love the album, and I believe people are going to love it too."

Deadstar 2 introduces various features by Denzel Curry, Ty Dolla $ign, Trippie Redd, Lil Pump, Lil Skies, and Moneybagg Yo.