This memior, by Dimas Salaberios, chronicles the life of a drug dealer turned pastor. It depicts his childhood and the decisions that he made early on that helped him become a street hustler. He talks about the circumstances that led him to want out of the life and into a brighter future.
The objective for this cover was to create something that felt authentic to the author's story. I wanted to give it an urban feel without being corny. In the book he talks about running into RUN DMC at a party. That gave me the idea to use hip-hop as my inspiration.
I started by doing word association using hip-hop and the manuscript as my source. For visual inspiration and reference, I pulled images of similar books that told a redemptive story.
Street Art
Hip-hop culture has a strong bond with visual art. One of the (heavily debated) core tenets of hip-hop is graffiti. It is often the default direction corporations go in when marketing towards an urban market. I wanted to show that hip-hop is represented by many styles of art. This mood board shows artist from many disciplines including graffiti, tattoo, digital, photography, and jewelry. 
Cover Art
I gathered images of album covers, posters, and a few popular movie and TV show covers. I wanted to be inspired by hip what hip-hop looked like during the setting of the book, while keeping in mind that the landscape of hip-hop has changed. Overall, I used the mood boards to show the vastness of style within the hip-hop culture to drive the visuals away from stereotypes and corny misrepresentations.
Cover Options
The eight covers I presented span a wide range of messages. The photographic options tell a story and use emotion to draw the viewer in. The more artistic options are statements that reflect the title. Their techniques are rooted in street art and the subjects represent power.
Final Cover
The chosen cover is moody and almost cinematic. The man is representative of the authorand the title tattoo'd on his back like a badge of honor. 

The Explosive True Story of a Former Drug Boss on the Run from the Hood--and the Courageous Mission That Drove Him Back
Dimas Salaberrios with Dr. Angela Hunt
Tyndale House Publishers | Released September 1, 2015 | 978-1-4964-0278-3 | Softcover

Back to Top