The late Notorious B.I.G.‘s Ready To Die cover star, who is featured as an infant, has come forward to reflect on making the historic artwork.
According to 18 year-old Keithroy Yearwood, the fame outweighed the financial gain of being associated to B.I.G.’s 1994 debut.
A high school senior who grew up in the Bronx says he’s that chubby-cheeked kid on the cover of “Ready to Die” – the acclaimed debut album by slain rapper, Notorious B.I.G. “Every time people find out they ask me if I got a lot of money out of it,” Keithroy Yearwood, 18, told the Daily News. He didn’t. He made only $150 for the two-hour modeling agency shoot, where he was shot in diapers, sporting a neatly picked-out Afro. “I just want people to know that’s me,” Yearwood said. “The truth is finally coming out.” (New York Daily News)
Diddy’s Bad Boy Records reportedly snagged Yearwood through a casting agency.
In the “Ready to Die” cover photo, the baby is wearing a diaper and sporting a large afro. Those associated with album–including the graphic designer-wasn’t sure who the kid was. Bad Boy Records, Diddy’s label that released the album, couldn’t verify whether it is really Yearwood on the album cover; it did say that the baby came courtesy of a modeling agency. (NBC News)
In the past, the Ready To Die cover star was associated to B.I.G. and Diddy.
Two years ago, CNN identified the kid on the cover of Nirvana’s classic, Nevermind. So when Rap Radar launched on March 9, 2009, we wanted to find the afro-sporting tyke on the cover of The Notorious B.I.G.’s debut, Ready To Die. Mission Impossible. Urban legend has it that the baby was Biggie himself. So we reached out to several folks involved with the album, including artwork designer Cey Adams, who claimed the child was the son of Puff’s former stylist. (Rap Radar)
In addition to going platinum, B.I.G.’s debut received critical acclaim.
The album that reinvented East Coast rap for the gangsta age, Ready to Die made the Notorious B.I.G. a star, and vaulted Sean “Puffy” Combs’ Bad Boy label into the spotlight as well. Today it’s recognized as one of the greatest hardcore rap albums ever recorded, and that’s mostly due to Biggie’s skill as a storyteller. His raps are easy to understand, but his skills are hardly lacking — he has a loose, easy flow and a talent for piling multiple rhymes on top of one another in quick succession. He’s blessed with a flair for the dramatic, and slips in and out of different contradictory characters with ease. Yet, no matter how much he heightens things for effect, it’s always easy to see elements of Biggie in his narrators and of his own experience in the details; everything is firmly rooted in reality, but plays like scenes from a movie. (All Music)
Check out B.I.G.’s “Ready To Die” below: