On June 15, 2009, J. Cole dropped his breakout mixtape, The Warm Up. Though it wasn’t his first mixtape, The Warm Up kicked off the rapper’s meteoric rise to fame and acclaim.
Cole’s manager, Ibrahim “IB” Hamad, posted a thread of tweets on Saturday to celebrate the mixtape’s anniversary. In addition to your standard “thank you, fans” tweets, IB shared for the first time the story behind the mixtape’s iconic cover art.
“We were suppose to shoot in my HS gym,” IB wrote. “And it was snowing mad hard so my coach ain’t even show up to open the gym for us, Coach Lloyd left us out there in the snow ?. So we shot that sh*t right outside of Holy Cross HS.”
IB’s revelation debunks many fans’ theories that the snow on the album cover was fake. It’s very real, and Cole was very cold while taking the pics. Apparently the hoodie Cole’s wearing on the final album cover was a late addition, and for most of the photoshoot he was just standing out there freezing in a t-shirt.
And, to further prove that the snow wasn’t fake, IB shared some never-before-seen outtakes from the photoshoot. The Warm Up is one of the most iconic releases of the last decade or so, and it’s cool to know more about the story behind it. Cole got pretty cold shooting the album cover, but looking at where he is now, I’d say it was all worth it in the end.