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Kanye West spent $85,000 to use this controversial pic on an album cover

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Harvey Day
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Kanye West paid $85,000 to use a picture of Whitney Houston’s drug-strewn bathroom 

King of controversy Kanye West is at it again. He’s not endorsing Donald Trump this time or calling slavery “a choice.” Nope, instead he’s dropping some big bucks to use a picture of Whitney Houston’s drug-strewn bathroom for an album cover.

The photo, taken in 2006, is said to show the singer’s bathroom covered with drugs. Houston, who died in 2012 at the age of 48, struggled with addiction for decades.

Here’s the image in question…

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Rapper Pusha T, who latest album Daytona is being produced by Kanye, revealed how the cover art came about in an interview with radio host Angie Martinez.

“1 a.m., my phone rings, no caller-ID,” Pusha told Martinez. “‘Hey, yeah, I think that we should change the artwork. I like this other artwork.’ Now this other artwork is 85 grand. I said, ‘Hey, I don’t want to pay for that. And I wasn’t even going to ask you to pay for that. We picked what we picked. It’s here, it’s ready.’ ‘No, this what people need to see to go with this music. I’ma pay for that.’”

“Ummm, it’s a picture,” he explained. “It’s a picture. … It’s just a picture that to license it worldwide is 85 grand. I’m not really too, too, too entrenched in the art world like that. I’m just going to let him do that thing. And he’s paying for it.”

Kanye discussed the reaction to the album on Twitter:

You can listen to the album on Spotify here.

Kanye is well-known for making a splash with his album artwork - here’s a look back at his catalogue… 

2004: The College Dropout

Designed by Eric Duvauchelle, this cover features the Dropout Bear mascot sitting on a set of bleachers inside a golden frame.

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2005: Late Registration

Kanye’s Dropout Bear makes a return in this cover, directed by Morning Breath, Inc.

2007: Graduation

The artwork for this album was designed by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.

2008: 808s & Heartbreak

This minimalist cover, photographed by Kristen Yiengst and designed by Virgil Abloh and Willo Perron, was named one of the best rap album covers of recent years by Complex.

2010: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

The most controversial of Kanye’s covers, this artwork, by George Condo, was eventually banned for its nude content.

2013: Yeezus

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Making a return to minimalism, this album was released in a clear box with only a strip of red tape.

2016: The Life of Pablo

This album’s artwork was designed by Peter De Potter.

June 2018: Love Everyone

This cover is causing trouble… and it hasn’t even been released yet. For his next album artwork, Kanye wants to feature the man who performed his late mother’s final surgery

(Images: Getty / Kanye West)