Is Jay-Z a time traveler from Depression-era Harlem? That’s one theory being put forth in a Reddit thread where a black-and-white photo depicting what appears to be the rapper’s doppelganger has gone viral.
The photo, which was uploaded to the site by Reddit user jdym00, was reportedly taken from the New York Public Library’s prestigious Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The photograph is recorded as having been taken in Harlem in 1933, and shows a young man who appears to be in his 20s or 30s wearing a dark pea coat and newsboy cap and slouching against the front railing of a building. What makes the photograph unusual is that the man at its center bears an uncanny likeness to current rapper and music mogul Shawn Carter, better known by his stage name, Jay-Z.
In the thread’s comments section, Redditors compiled a slew of Jay-Z-themed puns, including: “I got 99 problems but a depression ain’t one,” “It’s a hard knock life,” “If you havin' loan problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but shanty towns ain't one,” and “If the dust bowl comes, go and brush your shoulders off.”
Although the thread amassed more than 1,200 comments within seven hours of being posted -- placing it at the top of Reddit’s “hot” feed Thursday afternoon – it’s not the first time users have located a celebrity unstuck in time. Other celebrities who have been “proven” by photographs to have lived at other times in history include Nicolas Cage, Sylvester Stallone and Keanu Reeves. The website Humor Sharing has even dedicated a thread in its pictures section to “Celebrities Who Look Like Historical People,” boasting convincing doppelgangers for Justin Timberlake, Bruce Willis and Maggie Gyllenhaal, among others.