Head over to Pitchfork to read an interview with Ari Marcopoulos, the photographer who took the cover photo for Jay-Z's "Magna Carta Holy Grail." He is an accomplished photographer of many hip-hop legends, having come from Britain to New York in 1979 as rap was beginning to be created in the streets of the Bronx and Queens. He befriended numerous artists simply through letting them know how much their music resonated with him, and just like that, he got exclusive access to take some stellar pictures.
Marcopoulos also discusses working with Jay-Z on the album's imagery. Apparently, Jay simply sat down with Marcopoulos one day and discussed what the album's lyrical content was about, as well as rapping the entire CD to him a capella. From that, the photographer went out into the city to shoot what he felt symbolized the album best.
"...this felt more like a commission, a true collaboration," says Marcopoulos. "He wasn’t overbearing. I wasn't just filling in the squares. It was one artist asking another artist to help him, to create something for him."
Check out Marcopoulos's Tumblr here for more cool photos of artists and seemingly random people on the street.