Although he’s famous for his rough delivery and hard lyrics, perhaps one of the most striking images of DMX’s career is the cover of his second album Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood. Now, in a recent interview with Skillshare via Nah Right, the photographer behind the iconic image reminisces about the photo shoot.

Photographer Jonathan Mannion explained that he was given free reign to direct the photo shoot for X’s album. He said that once he had come up with an idea for the cover, his next obstacle was convincing DMX to get in the blood-filled tub. Although X did end up hopping in the tub for the shoot, it wasn’t without some resistance.

Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, I was given total free reign. I conceptualized the entire shoot, I spent days and days and days researching, looking at books about African voodoo and color theory, why red is an intense color and why white is a calming color,” Mannion recalled. “I had 60 gallons of blood in a bathtub and I was like, ‘Now my challenge is getting DMX in this blood and what am I gonna do to get him in there.’ He’s looking at the tub, and I’m looking at him, and he’s looking back at me, and he’s like, ‘You want me to get in it?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s how it’s gonna happen today.'”

He continued, “He was like, ‘Aw man dawg, I’m not going to get in it because man, I don’t know if it’s right. I’ve got these new pants on…’ – I was like, dawg, are you really going to use the pants excuse to not get in there? I was like, ‘Here, why don’t you just wear my pants?’ and I dropped my pants in front of a studio of 20 people. Everybody’s looking at me like I’m totally insane, but it showed how much I believed in my work, and he couldn’t deny it…so he got in. I had chills the entire time I was shooting. He got in with his own pants [on], realizing that he had 14 other pants on a rack in the other room that the stylist brought.”

Check out the full interview below.

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