Singer Zayn Malik insists he didn't copy visuals originated by famous rappers while conceptualising the cover art for his debut album Mind of Mine.
The 23-year-old British pop star revealed the artwork during an appearance on U.S. late-night programme The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon earlier this week (endsFri19Feb16).
The cute image features a throwback picture of the musician as a child, smiling into the camera with his hands placed under his chin, but the picture contains an edgy modernisation, as little boy Zayn's hands are covered with tattoos.
The artwork seems to be directly influenced by the cover images for rapper Lil Wayne's 2011 album Tha Carter IV and late hip hop icon The Notorious B.I.G.'s classic 1994 release Ready to Die.
But on Twitter Thursday (18Feb16), Zayn dismissed critics who consider his Mind of Mine image to be a cheap imitation of legendary rap album cover artwork.
"I'm not tryna be no rapper (sic), my album is me a child .. My ideas have been with me a long time," he wrote on the micro-blogging platform. "Use your brain, appreciate art don't discriminate what you don't understand
"There were lots of options .. It was confusing," he said of how difficult it was to settle on the perfect cover image for his first solo album since leaving boy band One Direction in 2015.
Zayn's solo career has already got off to an incredible start, as his debut single Pillowtalk went in at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart - beating One Direction's previous number two positioning in the process.
Mind of Mine is slated to reach listeners on 25 March (16).