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Artist Hajime Sorayama Talks Designing That Wild NSFW Tyga Album Cover


Tyga made quite a splash with the initial announcement of his new album Kyoto, out everywhere this Friday. The rapper’s sixth studio LP was heralded with an album cover that was… eye-popping, to say the least. Depicting a tiger-woman hybrid in a barely safe for work position, it – perhaps, unsurprisingly – lit up social media shortly after its unveiling.

As he noted in his announcement, Tyga’s album cover comes courtesy of acclaimed Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama, an illustrator primarily known for his eroticized portrayal of robots. He has been working for decades now, and has had his artwork utilized by everything from a Playboy TV special to an album cover for Aerosmith.

Sorayama granted us a rare interview to discuss the story behind the visually-arresting Tyga album cover, ‘future aesthetics’ in the digital world, and why he’s only known for his robots because his gallery “insists” on it.

My new Album KYOTO drops FEB 16❤️ I been wanting to make this album for a while now but didn’t have the confidence and the story to express my true emotions.I thank all the love and support you have given me over the years. Thru my ups and downs,At My highest and my lowest points.Thru my brightest and darkest hours.This album is me opening my heart to you and I hope you enjoy it and love it as much as I do❤️ THANK YOU GOD ALWAYS . Thank You Hajime Sorayama for allowing me to share this experience with the world thru your creative art & my vision. #HajimeSorayama #KYOTO FEB 16 Pre order link in bio now.🙏🏾

A post shared by Tyga / T-Raww (@kinggoldchains) on Jan 22, 2018 at 7:53am PST

My gallery at the NANZUKA brought the idea to me through the Bangkok branch [EchoOne ArtSpace]. It seems the Bangkok partner Kong is friends with Tyga. Apparently Tyga is a fan of my work and requested it.

No, I don’t listen to hip-hop. But when I gave him a listen he had a nice style, so I gave the OK.

This is a poster that I started drawing in the ‘70s and then followed it up in the late ‘80s and changed it into a hybrid creature. I wasn’t asked to do it, it was just a piece I drew back in the day as I liked. It probably would have never surfaced and would have been buried, so I’m really happy that Tyga came across this particular piece.

With the sheer amount of artwork I’ve done, only a small number of them have been used for this purpose. I suppose there are artists who like them and it speaks to them. I’m not particularly thinking about these things when I draw.

Untitled, by Hajima Soryama, courtesy of NANZUKA

Like I said before, I drew a few of these styles in the past so this piece was just one of them. Robots aren’t the only thing I draw, so just go and buy my collection. It’s just that the stupid gallery NANZUKA insists on always showing robots (lol).

I’m not the one calling it that. In the ’70s and ’80s, before people had computers, it was trendy to call things ‘super’ or ‘hyper.’ Nowadays you can do pretty much anything with a computer, so maybe my fossil-like artwork is deemed unusual and rare? (lol)

I will be dead before I can witness this, so I don’t know. As for my generation, we experienced the Cold War era and the ongoing conflicts that arose from that time. There is nothing new there (I was also feeling the nervousness). History has proven what happens when fools come to power. Perhaps that’s just how things will be.

My latest work always becomes my greatest challenge; I face each project as my greatest challenge.

Tyga’s ‘Kyoto’ is out on Friday, February 16. Fore more of our features, read our chat and editorial with the legendary Dita von Teese.



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