Jay-Z floors our heavyweight’s copycat cover

2009-10-27 09:59

L’VOVO Derrango has learnt the hard way that imitation is not

­always the best form of flattery.

The Durban kwaito prince has been stopped in his tracks in his

attempt to mirror US superstar rapper Jay-Z’s likeness.

This week the roly-poly teddybear famous for hits like Resista and

Bayang’sukela was forced to withdraw his latest album, The Heavyweight, after

Universal Music, Jay-Z’s former South African record company, demanded its

recall. At issue is the CD sleeve which was shot in September at the office of an advertising agency in Durban. It’s almost identical to that of Jay-Z’s 2007 album, American Gangster, which was released through Universal Music.

Not only are the clothes similar, but the local lad’s picture has

been enhanced to resemble the same “smoke and light” effect on the American’s

sleeve. Even the typeface and colours used for his name and the album’s name are


While Jay-Z is surrounded by straight-backed chairs turned upside

down, L’vovo went for lounge chairs standing on the one side while on the other

they are stacked.

They are pictured in almost the exact same position and in the same

posture, except that our boy is very much on the heavy side – hence the title of

the CD.

When confronted about the ­similarity of the CD covers, the

artist’s manager, Thobela Dlamini, denied they had anything in common.

“I don’t know where this comes from. From where I am sitting they

don’t look the same. We didn’t even think of Jay-Z when we shot this sleeve.

“We wanted something that would depict a heavyweight and we didn’t

want to do the obvious, like using a boxing ring, so we went for a different

set-up. Obviously L’vovo is an academic and we thought that the academic gown

suited him well,” he said.

“The smoke resembles someone who has just returned from doing his

thing, moving from backstage into the VIP area.

“Our sleeve is different to the Jay-Z sleeve. As L’vovo’s manager I

have not been contacted by anyone about discontinuing this sleeve. I was the one

running around and the concept was hatched by me, L’vovo and our designer Zam

from Durban.”

But Manusha Sarawana, of business affairs at Universal Music, said

they contacted CCP/EMI to alert them to the similarities they saw between the

sleeves. He said the matter had been resolved amicably.

“They agreed that they will withdraw the current stock and redesign

the sleeve,” she said.

Lehlohonolo Seseli, CCP Records marketing manager, confirmed that

The Heavyweight would be put on ice despite the huge demand for it. He admitted

that the similarities between the two sleeves were uncanny.

“It was an oversight

on our part and we will recall those CDs and redesign the sleeve afresh. This

was done and arranged by the ­artist’s management company.”

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