Houston Hip-Hop CD Cover Guy Mike Frost Opens Up


It’s a good thing that Houston’s Michael Moore spent so much time learning enough graphic design and web development that he could find a job in the oil and gas industry. Even though this industry has its ups and downs, it’s still doing much better than its initial job of designing CD covers for rappers.

But Moore, better known in the local music community as Mike Frost, has developed a catalog over the past two decades that deserves to be included in the archives at Rice University. From now on, we’ll call him by his hip-hop pseudonym, because search engines better not confuse him with the documentary maker who can’t stand our president.

Frost worked hard for much of the year preparing to showcase his past H-town rap exploits, including old hard drives, camera data cards, and CDs.

Click to enlarge

An early example of Frost’s design work, from 2001.

Swishahouse Records

With his business partner Brandon Holley, he recovered some 600 photos and 250 album covers, as well as illustrations from the Houston rave days from some 2 terabytes of data. He also prepared some unreleased Paul Wall videos with music produced by Happy Perez who is about ten years old.

This weekend, Frost will be presenting his latest contribution to Rice’s Woodson Research Center, part of the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning’s hip-hop collection.
Her previous submission included memorabilia and drawings from 1999-2009, and included
work he did for Microsoft’s Zune media player (remember that?).

But Frost won’t stop there; it comes with stories. He will bring stories about his family, especially his father, who Frost said suffered a nervous breakdown and bought a lion. Frost’s career as the must-have album cover type for Houston
rappers includes stories about Slim Thug and South Park Mexican. He did photos with Bun B and Pimp C. He signed contracts with big agencies and probably worked for Grace with a simple handshake.

Frost was a foreigner working with foreign rappers. “I used to roam cultures,” he said of his days working with punks and ravers and skinny sipping rhymers. “That’s what I brought to rap. I knew how other cultures viewed rap.”

It’s the simplicity of some of the covers he photographed and designed. He says his aesthetic came from wanting to avoid the flash and the glitz of cover art at the time. All the fake shards he was trying to avoid.

But he had nothing against diamonds or jewelry. “Like Paul with the grill, that was him, that’s what made him stand out, and that was an affair he had with Johnny,” Frost says of the designs he made for. the rapper.

“I was bullied a lot as a kid, and I started doing things to strengthen my own safety and my dad called that an ‘image carrier,’ he adds. did I see when I started doing rap covers. ”

Its aim was to avoid the standard Master P pixel covers that a rival design store in town seemed to have a monopoly on. And for a while, Frost was able to get a lot of work done. Every major rapper on the come-up has done a project with him.

And now all that work will be available for the academy.

But putting it all together has been a huge problem. Frost started out young and didn’t develop a professional workflow until later.

“At the time, the point was that storage was expensive. For a young boy who did graphics and made four thousand dollars a month, I burned a lot of stuff on CDs, and some of the first ones are corrupt, ”he says. “The early Rap-a-Lot, the early Boss Hogg Outlaws, there are a lot of things that I miss. I’m trying to find a data recovery location that knows what they’re doing.”

With the work of Frost it is easy to see he knew what he was doing.

See a gallery of Frost’s cover designs on his Instagram page. He will be showcasing his collection at the Dimensions Variable event at the Moody Center for the Arts, which begins at 12 p.m. on Saturday, October 14. Frost will discuss his collection from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Rice University 6100 Main, For more information call 713-348-2787 or visit Moody.rice.edu. To free.


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