Will Prince

Kim Kardashian, Rick Ross And Chance The Rapper Love Will Prince's Art -- You Should, Too

The budding 22-year-old artist from the U.K. creates portraits of some of rap's biggest stars.

When I saw the cover art for Alex Wiley's mixtape Village Party a couple months back, I was struck by the image. It's a realistic depiction of the rapper -- but not so much so that it looked like a photo. The colors, shading, texture and details all gave it a life of its own.

I did a little digging and found out that the artist behind the cover was Will Prince, a 22-year-old U.K. native with a knack for drawing some eye-catching pictures of your favorite rappers.

And he's caught the attention of some of those very artists, including Chance the Rapper on Facebook, Rick Ross on Instagram and Kid Cudi back in the MySpace days. Meanwhile, others, like Action Bronson and Asher Roth, have gone even further, enlisting his talents to create cover art for recent projects.

"Hip-hop is a huge part of my life; I live on it, so I guess, subconsciously, I brought my two passions together," Prince told MTV News. "As a kid, I was more into cartoons and kid sh--, so I was drawing Batman, Dragon Ball Z characters and making my own comics books. If you scroll through my Tumblr you'll notice I also make a lot of pop art-influenced pieces, very seductive and erotic. I love women like I love hip-hop, so I brought those two passions together, too."

Right now, Prince works primarily with sharpies, paper and a scanner to create his work, but he plans to explore new possibilities soon. His current method, though, has already helped him to a create memorable portfolio -- and make fans out of a number of rappers (and Kim Kardashian).

"I had already made the Asher portrait and he hit me up to see if he could use it for the mixtape cover; I had a bunch of mutual friends with him so it came together very organically," he says of the rapper's 2011 release Pabst & Jazz. "He had one of his friends, who is a graphic designer, help finish off the cover and it became what it is today."

And then there's Action Bronson's Blue Chips 2 -- a favorite among fans both musically and visually. "Action literally followed me [online] one day, hit me up, said he f--ked with the work and that he needed a cover for Blue Chips 2. So we chopped it up a lot going back and forth; he had a lot of input. He had the idea already -- I just had to execute it. I was really motivated at that time and literally put my all into capturing a classic album cover feel. Snoop's Doggystyle cover was in my mind."

I asked Will to choose a few of his favorite pieces and give us the stories behind them. He picked some great ones, but for more, be sure to check out his official site (where you can purchase some works if you want) and his Instagram, which includes some of my personal favorites like pictures of Andre 3000 and and A$AP Rocky. Plus, anyone in the London area can catch his exhibition launch at Boxpark on Thursday, September 4 at 6 pm. It runs through the end of the month.

Will Prince

Travi$ Scott

"I had just been kicking it with Travi$ in America and really wanted to capture him; I had done a few before but they never really made me feel like I got 'it.' I found this shot on Google and knew it was the one. It just captures his inner rock star -- the monster in him. Whenever I see him perform, he reminds me of a monster -- a real, real rager. I love how the colors pop! It turns out my friend had taken the photo, too. He runs Places + Faces."

Will Prince

Rick Ross

"Rick Ross is always fun to draw because, like his music, he's a movie. I knew this was going to be the one by the boss; it says straight up 'I'm a Boss' -- how more perfect could it get? When I knew it was the one, I just went in and knocked it out. The colors came out crazy on this one, too. A friend pointed out there's three layers on the shades, the reflection, the glasses and the eye behind. I love the detail!"

Will Prince

Kim Kardashian

"One day when I was working a temporary job data inputting, I got home and had a few sharpies in my bag. It was really organic. I wasn't even thinking, I just drew it, uploaded it and everyone was loving it. I posted it on Instagram a few days later and The Goddess herself liked it. This was one of those moments where I reacted like a kid. I played Drake's 'We Made It' all night."

Will Prince

Erykah Badu

"This was when I was working the same job as the Kim Kardashian piece. I was allowed to listen to music and the whole day I was jamming all of Erykah Badu's albums. I remember literally saying in my head on my lunch break, 'I'm going to draw Erykah and she is going to see it tonight!' As soon as I got home, I started it and finished it later that night. I left it online and went to sleep, the next morning I woke up and she had retweeted it followed me and tweeted me. It's weird how sometimes you can literally make these things happen from your head.'

Will Prince

Tom Hardy in "Bronson"

"Me and my brothers all have an unhealthy obsessions with Tom Hardy and his movies. He's a legend in our household. I wanted to create something other than hip-hop, so I just zoned in on another passion of mine: movies. The pose in his image is just perfect, like the Rick Ross, it really screams at you and the bold background just makes it pop even more! This is probably one of my favorite pieces ever -- if you've seen the movie you'll understand why. It just captures Bronson perfectly."

Will Prince's first U.K. exhibition opens on Thursday, September 4, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and runs through the end of the month at London's pop-up mall Boxpark.