If you’re a hip-hop fan there’s a good chance you’re familiar with the work of Chaz L. Morgan. His name might not ring a bell, but the Chicago graphic designer has begun to leave his mark on rap, and that’s because he’s created the artwork for a number of recent high-profile hip-hop releases, including two of January’s biggest mixtapes: Wale’s Folarin and Future’s F.B.G.: The Movie. Morgan isn’t confined to the world of rap—he made the production logos for Second Generation Wayans, a new TV series that premiered on B.E.T. last week, and he’s designed flyers for a Jordan Brand fund-raiser—but working with hip-hop artists has helped the 25-year-old expand his own brand, One Forty Five South Creative Groups.
Morgan has made art for an impressive array of musicians that includes Trey Songz, Nelly, Lil Reese, Ciara, and Bad Boy’s Red Cafe, but it’s his work with artists on Rick Ross’s Maybach Music Group label that’s helped Morgan get a lot of notice. He’s done promotional art for an MMG tour, worked with Wale for more than a year, and, most notably, created the cover art for Dreams & Nightmares, the studio debut from Philadelphia MC Meek Mill (who headlined the Congress on Saturday). Dreams & Nightmares was one of the biggest major-label rap albums of 2012, and Morgan got plenty of attention for the artwork, which shows a gold Rolex chained to a single handcuff. It’s a good example of Morgan’s hyperrealist mix of gritty and glossy imagery. Complex magazine named it one of last year’s 25 best album covers.