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A Jay-Z look-alike in a photo dated 1939 has surfaced, breathing new life into conspiracy theories about the rapper and his alleged ties to the Illuminati.

The photograph of a Harlem man was dredged up by a New York Public Library digital curator and quickly went viral due to his similarities to the rapper:

The image, titled “Harlem Loiterers,” shows the Jay-Z look-alike in a pea coat and newsboy cap, slouched against the front railing of a building.

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The New York Public Library confirmed the photo’s authenticity and said that it was taken by an American photographer named Sid Grossman in 1939.

In a post on the library’s Tumblr, Sylviane A. Diouf, curator of the organization’s digital archives, said the Jay-Z likeness was the first thing she noticed:


“I was immediately struck by the similarity to Jay-Z and actually laughed out loud … I still hope somebody will tell us who that young man really was.”

The New York Times attributed the viral photo to the human brain’s tendency to search out facial similarities as a common occurrence in our daily lives.

Not surprisingly, this explanation has not satisfied the Internet.

While most Reddit commenters were good with a laugh or a Jay-Z pun, the conspiracy theorists suggested that the photo was evidence of … something.

The photo has reignited the longtime debate over whether or not Jay-Z is a member of the Illuminati, the mysterious secret society that runs us all.

At least one website has noted Jay-Z’s ring, which looks suspiciously like an Illuminati ring, an ancient emblem of the long-rumored, elite group.

Illuminati theorists believe that the ultra-secret occult society rules the world using sophisticated mind control techniques, and that Jay-Z is a member.

How a 1939 doppelganger fits into that, we have no idea. Details …

Certain subreddits have espoused even crazier ideas than that.

One conspiracy theory is that the rapper and business mogul traveled back in time to 1939 to conduct some informal research for The Great Gatsby.

Seriously. Never mind that Gatsby takes place more than a decade earlier … or that time machines do not exist. Again, just a few minor details.

Another fun one? Jay-Z is a vampire. As we know from The Vampire Diaries, the blood-sucking beasts don’t age like humans do. Think about it.