As the saying goes from one of hip-hop’s most iconic smash singles of the early 2000s, Jay-Z’s got 99 problems. But his mug shot, along with a plethora of other hip-hop icons with storied legal pasts, like Nicki Minaj, isn’t one of them.
The Brooklyn-bred rap and business magnate creatively fused the photos into his solo set for the On The Run 2 Tour while spitting away bars from hiss classic “99 Problems.” Rocking a simple white T-shirt, he suited up with a bulletproof vest and black hat as the mega screen backdrop flashed the flicks of crime close-ups belonging to legends such as 50 Cent, the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez, Snoop Dogg, Nicki, renowned fashion luminary Kimora Lee Simmons, and even his own mug.
Hov was respectful in his creative use and approach of organizing the mug shots too, as Nicki would later reveal from her humbled reaction to his recognition.
“When Jay asks for your mug shot for his tour backdrop,” she wrote.
For the Barbs and anyone else who might be surprised to know that Ms. Chun-Li even has one of those, the photo dates back to 2003, coincidentally the same year as Hov’s “99 Problems” record release. The then-20-year-old Nicki was a Red Lobster waitress at the time and was arrested on charges of criminal possession of a weapon (with intent to use), as detailed by The Smoking Gun.
Let’s all give it up for Nicki and the rest of the legends who’ve obviously come such a long way ever since.
See Nicki’s nod to Jay and some of the other faces whose mug shots are no longer one of their 99 problems below.
(Photos from left: Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images, Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)