Legendary artist Riskie Forever has partnered with Zelus and Heritage Auctions to auction the original album cover art painting from 2Pac’s The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory album, which was recorded in 1996 under his pseudonym Makaveli.
The original album cover painting will go up for auction beginning Tuesday (May 17) accompanied by a one-of-a-kind NFT that will include a never-before-heard story from Riskie about the origins of the piece. According to the press release, the original painting was created in airbrush and mixed media on a 29” x 47” canvas visible through a 35” x 53” frame.
“I remember giving ‘Pac the painting officially, I knew then this was something special,” Riskie said. “Now to be able to celebrate that legacy while creating something truly new and unique — that’s something I’m incredibly proud to be a part of.”
Heritage Auctions’ Executive Vice President Joe Maddalena said of the album, “The Don Killuminati is, of course, now regarded as one of the greatest Hip Hop albums of all time, and its cover art by Riskie is no less a masterwork – a true collaboration between two geniuses that resulted in one of music and popular culture’s most indelible images. It’s one of the few album covers ever created that merited critical discussion – there are so many theories behind its meaning – and it’s an honor and thrill to offer this not just as a piece of music history but as a true work of American art.”
Riskie was originally introduced to 2Pac by Suge Knight and after coming across Riskie’s portfolio, Tupac insisted his label commission him to make a painting featuring Tupac himself, crucified on a cross, like Jesus, right down to a crown of thorns. The artwork was shared with 2Pac just days before his untimely death. In 2015, Riskie sold the original physical artwork to a longtime fan but in 2021, Zelus helped Riskie Forever re-obtain the artwork to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of the posthumous album.
Longtime friend of 2Pac and boxing icon Mike Tyson will also discuss the original painting while showcasing the artwork on his podcast Hotboxin’ w/ Mike Tyson. Tyson plans to share his memories of 2Pac while highlighting the importance of the album cover in music history: “This episode was cool to shoot and having the opportunity to honor Pac and have this painting here with us was awesome. It’s by far the most iconic Hip Hop album artwork of all time.”
The special episode of Hotboxin’ w/ Mike Tyson is scheduled to air on May 19 on YouTube with special guests Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. As for the auction, it goes through June 18 in Dallas at 445 Park Avenue. Fans will also have a chance to win up to $100,000 through sweepstakes here. In the meantime, revisit the album below.