Besides perhaps the Nevermind baby, the child sporting a giant Afro pictured on Notorious B.I.G.'s classic debut Ready to Die is the most iconic infant in album-cover history. As the music world commemorated the 14th anniversary of Biggie's death on March 9th, many fans began inquiring about the Ready to Die kid. Diddy simply told Rap Radar, "That was a baby we just found... We did a little casting for somebody that looked like Big," and the Bad Boy offices had long lost any concrete form of documentation.
But now, the New York Daily News has uncovered the 18-year-old who claims to be the mini-B.I.G.: Bronx native Keithroy Yearwood.
"I just want people to know that's me. The truth is finally coming out," Yearwood told the Daily News, who corroborated his claim with Yearwood's baby photos. The story of how the teen landed on the cover also seems to match Bad Boy's a.ssertion that the baby came from a modeling agency: Yearwood's mother Delcenia Burns says her son was recruited by the now-defunct modeling agency Chicky's Kids, and that she has the paperwork to prove it.
That Yearwood was a paid model would come as a surprise to two people involved in the shoot: Designer Cey Adams and the cover's photographer Butch Belair, both thought that the Ready to Die baby was the child of someone who worked at Bad Boy.
"When I first found out about it, it wasn't a big deal to me. Now, of course, it's a big deal to me," Yearwood, who plans to study sports management in college, said of his claim to fame. "It's an honor to be on this album."
Yearwood says he only received $150 for being on the cover of Ready to Die, but his place in music history is priceless.