Jeffery and the Dress: The Story Behind the JEFFERY Cover
The cover art for the album JEFFERY from the artist Young Thug is (in my opinion) one of the most powerful and transformative cover arts of the 2010’s. It's up there with the likes of Yeezus, Blonde, and many others as eye-catching and recognizable covers in our recent memories. Once you see that dress you instantly think of Young Thug, the flamboyant hood rapper and his masterfully crafted music.
Jeffery Lamar Williams, or his stage name of which he goes by Young Thug, was born on August 16, 1991 in Atlanta, Georgia. He is one of 11 siblings, one who was incarcerated and another was murdered while Thug was in elementary school. This drove Thugger to be in the streets at age 8. He revealed this information about his upbringing in 2014 during an interview with Rolling Stone. “I was in the streets at eight, nine years old,” Thug says. “I was going to school so my dad and mom would keep buying me clothes, but when I got out I did what I wanted to do – fighting, all kinds of shit.”
Years later Thug was kicked out of his middle school for getting into an altercation with a teacher. “I broke my teacher’s arm...Took his ass out. Pussy-ass nigga.” He was forced into juvenile detention for the next 4 years because of his actions. “Seven in the morning to six in the afternoon,” he describes. “No windows or nothing, like a real jail. Lot of punishment. I didn’t do shit there but gamble, smoke and fuck.” He then started to work on and perfect his craft, music.
Over his career to right now Thugger has put out 1 studio album, 1 compilation album, 19 mix-tapes, 3 extended plays (EPs) and 15 singles (with an additional 38 as a featured artist). Thug is a work-a-holic, with what he claims over 15,000 songs recorded in his career. He speaks on his work ethic in a with the Paris news outlet Mazava TV. "I always work, even during the shows, before the shows, after the shows its always like studio, studio, studio. So I was always capable to make music, music, music. I was experiencing a lot of things so I was making experiencing music, good music. That was really the key." I recommend checking out that interview as I feel it was a good one for that point in his career.
Probably Thugger's most iconic fashion moment besides this cover came when he stopped a model to fix his collar during the VFILES Runway Season 7 show. Thug steps out mid show with a blunt lit in his mouth, to fix one of his models collar that was stuck under the choker that he was wearing, and quietly sits back down. Also a part I found funny about this show is him and .
But this blog isn’t about his music, it's about his striking sense for picking fashionable clothing. Which brings me to the story of this blog, the JEFFERY cover.
On August 26, 2016 Thug would release his fourth mix-tape, self-titled JEFFERY. This is the very first Young Thug project that I was introduced to and fell in love with it. I first saw it on twitter when the hashtag
If you have never seen the cover (which I’d have no idea how), it showed Thugger against an all white background in a white and periwinkle ruffled dress, with a hat straight from the character Raiden in Mortal Kombat, all made by Italian fashion designer Alessandro Trincone.
Alessandro Trincone was born on May 6, 1991 in Naples. Growing up in the outskirts of Naples, the people around him looked at his creativity with strong skepticism. He used all the prejudices towards him and his creations he endured during his teenage years are dragged it into his art. That process became vital and it is where the concept of “gender-less” comes from.
Thugger was previously unhappy with the cover that had already been shot and chosen for his project. He then posted to instagram saying that his album, JEFFERY, was delayed due to “cover art work and all that.” The dress caught the eye of Thug when , as he was chosen as a mentor for the seventh season of VFILES Runway, in the months upcoming to his album. He was being shown the “Annodami” collection by Trincone who won the Runway 7 contest. One of the workers scrolls to the top of the page and the infamous dress pops up. Thug exclaims, “Motherfuckin album cover, my cover for my album JEFFERY.” That was the moment he chose his album cover, a moment that would define his career in my eyes.
The dress was shipped down to Atlanta for the cover shoot. The photographer for the shoot Garfield Larmond told The Fader, “When we got on set, it definitely took like an hour and a half to put it on….When he put it on, it definitely spoke for itself. Everyone knew: this is different. If you think of Young Thug, you automatically get this perception of a different sense of style. He knew it would be crazy.”
Now this album cover is not just a dress, but rather a statement. A statement of androgyny and identity unrestricted by gender, something that both Thugger and Trincone push for in their clothing choices. Androgyny is the is the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics into an ambiguous form.
This idea of androgyny is further pushed further by his part . As other people in the photo campaign say “I am epic” or “I take what I want,” Thugger states that he “Disobey” and “am not what you think I am” in his Calvin’s. He does all this while wearing an elongated pinstripe dress over pants,and wearing a long necklace. Thugger states in that same campaign with Calvin Klein, “You could be a gangster with a dress, you could be a gangster with baggy pants. I feel like there’s no such thing as gender.” was trending bashing Thugger and ridiculing him because he was a rapper wearing a dress on his album cover. The hashtag was later hijacked into a more positive one, commending the rapper and giving examples of other rappers wearing outlandish clothing.
This is reminiscent of David Bowie, who was also an artist who flirted with the boundaries of clothing and gender with rock during his time. His album has the art where he is lounging in a silk dress on a chaise longue. Also a gender bending musical moment in our time.
Many people have always questioned and wondered why he wore a dress on his cover. He later jokingly cleared this up in 2019 during an interview with
Young Thug has been one of the most criticized, albeit praised artists of the 2010’s. His unique style for both music and fashion makes him one of the most polarizing artists of our time. In 2016 while an artist like was making a gun with his hand and pointing it at his head for his cover, Thugger posed with a dress on his. Young Thug is one of my favorite artists because he is not afraid to push the boundaries the people think shouldn’t be pushed and pave the way for the younger generation to follow in his footsteps, and I think this cover shows exactly that. stating, “Nigga, I wore this long-ass dress because I had a motherfucking AK-47 up under it.”
If you haven't listened to JEFFERY in a bit go re-listen!
Last edited by a moderator: