Jay-Z’s Got 99 Problems, but Time Traveling Ain’t One

Craig Rosen
Stop The Presses! (NEW)

Jay-Z is a true Renaissance man. He's a dude of many hyphens, including rapper-songwriter-producer-music mogul-sports team owner-sports agent-club owner-clothing line creator-husband of Beyoncé-father of Blue Ivy, etc.

Now, apparently, you can add time-traveler to the list.

The Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture has blown a lot of minds by uncovering a photo of what appears to be Jay-Z chilling in the 'hood in Harlem with one of his boys. As usual, Hova is nattily attired, sporting a newsboy cap and nice jacket, lounging with one foot on a gate. The only problem, the photo by Sid Grossman titled "Harlem Loiterers" was taken in 1939, three decades before Shawn Corey Carter was born.

The photo, unearthed by the Schomburg's Curator of Digital Collections Sylviane A. Diouf, suggests that Jay is some sort of Zelig-like character. (Maybe that's what the "Z" stands for?)

"I was immediately stuck by the similarity to Jay-Z and actually laughed out loud," Diouf says. "I still hope somebody will tell us who that young man really was."

Of course, logical explanations don't always fly on the Internet, and some conspiracy theorists are attempting to get their head around how Hova could end up in a photo snapped 30 years before he was born. One theory: He's a vampire. (That one was also used to explain away a similar Nicolas Cage-lookalike photo from the 1860s.)

Another theory: Jay traveled back in time so he could keep it real when he was laying down tracks for The Great Gatsby soundtrack, but that film/novel is set in the '20s. Perhaps Jay just took a pitstop in Harlem in 1939 on his way back to current time.

What do you think?

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