Two of the biggest New York rappers -- Jay Z and the late Notorious B.I.G. -- appear on the cover of New York Magazine’s 4th annual "Yesteryear" Issue. The mag has several different covers featuring artists in throwback photos to celebrate a century of pop music in New York City.

New York Magazine takes it way back to Hov and Biggie’s younger days when they were coming up in the rap game.

Jay looks like a kid in his photo, which was taken in 1997, wearing a a black bomber jacket and a Cincinnati Reds cap. Meanwhile, B.I.G. is in his element -- hanging with crew and rolling up a blunt in his hand in a dated 1995 photo.

In the Jody Rosen-penned cover story, Jay Z is praised for his 'Empire State of Mind.' She writes:

And of course there's Jay Z, whose great theme remains his own stratospheric rise from street-corner dope peddler to 'a business, man.' These biographies put a musical spin on New York's rags-to-riches mythology: In this town, a song about the gutter can put you in a penthouse."

With Biggie, Rosen praises the late rapper for his classic 1994 debut album 'Ready to Die,' which, back then, gloriously brought New York rap back. She writes:

The songs on 'Ready to Die' gave gangsta rap a New York spin. Like Mickey Spillane, he was a virtuoso teller of hard-boiled street tales, and he was a thugged-out Woody Allen, a classic New York neurotic, stressed by the squad car on the corner, by other hustlers eyeing his loot, by the “everyday struggle.” 'Ready to Die' wasn’t just a personal triumph, it was a municipal one: a New York reclamation of rap, whose center of gravity had shifted to Los Angeles."

Other New York artists featured in cover story include Run-DMC, LL Cool J, Nas, Nile Rodgers, Afrika Bambaataa, Mary J. Blige, Azealia Banks and 50 Cent, among others.

New York Magazine's "Yesteryear" Issue is on the newsstands now.

Notorious B.I.G. New York Magazine
New York Magazine

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