17 years after it dropped, the baby from the cover of the Notorious B.I.G.’s 1994 debut, Ready to Die, has been found and revealed, ending years of mystery.
His name is Keithroy Yearwood, is now 18 years old, and is a high school senior.
In an interview with the New York Daily News, he spoke a little about his infant years frozen in time, via the cover of a classic hip-hop album. According to Yearwood, he didn’t appreciate the sheer magnitude of his place in hip-hop history until around the age of 8.
“At first, it wasn’t really a big deal to me. But once I got older, I realized how big of a deal it was,” he explained.
Yearwood admitted that once someone finds out it was him on the cover, they think he got paid well for it. He didn’t.
“Every time people find out they ask me if I got a lot of money out of it,” Yearwood told the paper, later admitting he only made only $150 for the two-hour modeling agency shoot, where he was shot in diapers.
“I just want people to know that’s me,” he added. “The truth is finally coming out.”
For years, many speculated that it made be an early photo of B.I.G., or one of his kids. Others thought it might be one of Diddy’s kids. But really, no one was sure.
Back in September 2010, popular hip-hop blog, RapRadar.com, asked Diddy if he knew the identity of the child … and said he did. “That’s a baby we just found, you know what I’m saying?” Diddy said. “We did casting for somebody who looked like Big. That’s how he was found.”
According to Bad Boy Records, they were unable to confirm that Yearwood is the cover star of Ready To Die, but did say the baby came from an agency.
Yearwood’s mom Delcenia Burns, however, proved the claims to the Daily News, showing them stacks of baby pictures of her son, and dug up papers from the child modeling agency Chicky’s Kids.
Although he was so young when Biggie’s debut dropped, Yearwood says he considers Ready To Die one of the best hip-hop albums ever … and even said his favorite songs from it are the smash singles, “Juicy” and “Big Poppa.”
“It’s an honor to be on this album.”