Jay Z Covers New York Magazine's 'Yesteryear' Issue

Jay Z New York Magazine

Jay Z Covers New York Magazine's 'Yesteryear' Issue

Publication features an old-school pic of Hov on the front to spotlight "A Century of Pop Music."

Published March 24, 2014

(Photo: New York Magazine via Twitter)

"Young Hova" leads New York magazine's annual Yesteryear issue. The publication revealed the artwork on Twitter this morning, showcasing a throwback shot of Jay Z in a black leather jacket. The issue looks back at "A Century of Pop Music in New York" as told through 100 songs by 100 artists.

For example, hip hop great Rick Rubin details Hovito's entry, "99 Problems," which lands in the 1990s section of The Encyclopedia of New York Pop Music. The song was placed on The Black Album, believed to be Jay's final release at the time. "Jay Z asked me to work on a song with him. He was retiring, and he was making what he thought was his last album. He wanted one song from each of his favorite producers and asked if I would do it," recalls the Def Jam co-founder. "That was my first hip hop song since the early days ... It was really fun. He was incredibly inspiring as a lyricist. We worked on a lot of ideas, and then he honed in on the track that felt most exciting to him."

Chris Rock came up with the "idea for the chorus," Rubin shared. "It’s based on an Ice-T song called '99 Problems,' and he said, 'Ice-T has this song, and maybe there’s a way to flip it around and do a new version of that.' And I told Jay Z the idea and he liked it. The Ice-T song is about 'got 99 problems and a b---h ain't one,' and then it's a list of him talking about his girls and what a great pimp he is," continued the producer. "And our idea was to use that same hook concept, and instead of it being about the girls that are not his problem, instead of being a bragging song, it’s more about the problems. Like this is about the other side of that story."

"99 Problems" went platinum and earned Jay a Grammy for Best Song Rap Solo Performance. 

Other Big Apple-born game changers on the magazine's list include Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, the Wu-Tang Clan and the Notorious B.I.G., whose image is featured on an additional New York magazine Yesteryear cover.    

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Written by Latifah Muhammad


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