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unbelievably burly run from Pedro for the win🏆

“Brooklyn’s Jaÿ-Z: Keeping Rap Dollars in Rap Pockets”

An unpublished shot of Jaÿ-Z, as photographed for Stress magazine by Danny Hastings in early-1996. 

The Stress feature was Jaÿ’s first ever magazine cover. The $3.95 issue was released in the Summer of 1996, shortly before his classic debut Reasonable Doubt dropped. In keeping with their “do anything to get ahead” ethos, months beforehand Jaÿ, Dame Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke offered to pay the magazine’s owner Alan Ket for the printing costs in order to secure an upcoming cover. Not wanting to compromise their editorial integrity, the staff declined the offer. Fast forward to a few months later and the team voted to give Hov the cover—for free.

Sensing he was going to be someone of importance for New York, Hastings shot Jaÿ on top of the Roc-A-Fella Records offices in lower Manhattan, capturing him in front of another NY icon—the World Trade Center. Here he recalls his experience of the shoot: “I waited for Jay at his office near Wall Street for a few hours. Jay was in meetings all day. When he came out he was really standoffish. He only had like 15 minutes to get back to another meeting. I was trying to get him comfortable but I had to adjust to his energy and understand that it is what it is and I must work with what I am given. When I got to the rooftop, I immediately saw my favorite NYC landmark to shoot—the Twin Towers. I personally think they defined NYC skyline from their construction until their destruction, more so than the Empire State Building during their Era. I couldn’t get a clear shot of the Towers but I noticed the Geometric lines that all the building were forming, and I moved around until I placed Jay in the perfect spot. This is called composition or framing, a very important element in the discipline of photography. Jay’s expression of urgency says to me ‘Hurry Up Bro, I have work to do and money to make,’ and is a prelude to the Billion Dollar Empire he was working on building. In fact in this picture Jay is a building among those buildings. In 15 minutes I only shot 24 pictures and landed the cover. Call me the Sniper, I always got the shot.”

Photography by Danny Hastings

“Braced for Impact. I took this picture of Jodeci while I was shooting the album for Diary of a Mad Band. The Album that took Jodeci to new levels of stardom. They were already pretty famous, so they came with the usual Rock Star status. 7 hours late and only gave me 1 hour to shoot and then decided they had enough and left to Party like Rock Stars. I remember TLC came to chill with them. Imagine that, teenagers and Rock Stars. I only had 1 hr but I gave the label plenty of great images. This shot is pretty symbolic, two sets of brothers together getting ready for the ride of their life.”

This Time

Inspired by ectoimp’s beautiful headcanon. Special thanks to atimelordswife for looking this over for me!

At first, she hadn’t known what to do, what to say. She had seen the way his smile suddenly dropped; she had seen the way his shoulders tensed, the way his fingers clenched at his bed sheets, the way he looked at her and Tucker. She had noticed how afraid he was and how desperately he tried to hide the green glow filtering into his eyes.

Sam hadn’t followed him when he mumbled an excuse, panic and shame painfully clear in his tone, and escaped to the bathroom.

She and Tucker could hardly look at each other. The power slip-ups were one thing, but this was another. They had sat in stunned silence until a jittery and subdued Danny returned, and to her shame, she’d smiled at him and acted as though nothing was wrong, though they all knew perfectly well what had happened in the bathroom. The utter relief on his face had almost been worth the guilt she felt clawing through her gut.

The next few times this occurred… He needs space is all, she had tried to tell herself. Tuck had silently agreed with her when they were alone. She had tried to tell herself that Danny, too, was giving them space, just so that they might get used to the idea that…

But if that was true, why had she lied awake the past few nights, unable to sleep? Unable to stop staring at the ceiling? Unable to prevent the dread and guilt from immobilizing her completely? Why was it that, whenever she had managed to close her eyes, all she saw were flashes of acidic green light? And all she heard were his screams?

Tucker had admitted that he hadn’t been sleeping well either, and the pair lived like zombies at school without Danny there. The other students knew better than to tease them, and the teachers cut them some slack.

Even then, they hadn’t realized.

This time, as she watched his face crumple and fear overcome his blue—now green—eyes, she realized how disgustingly selfish she had been.

I did this to him. It was the first time she could face the truth for what it was. If she hadn’t dared him into the Portal…

Space, was it? Was that really their excuse? It was never space they needed, and Sam wished she could black her own eye for neglecting to realize sooner.

Sam and Tucker thought they lost Danny that day. They very nearly did, and his…ghost form was a reminder of how, for one second, they thought he was dead—fully dead. It was this very same form that made Danny think he might lose them now. It was a reminder he…wasn’t completely human anymore.

This needed to end. Fears needed to be faced. Danny was alive, and whatever else, he was no monster.

So this time, Sam followed him. Tucker was only a step behind her.

Jazz and his parents weren’t home tonight—they thought Danny was well on his way to recovery from his “shock” and did not mind them staying to catch their son up on what he missed at school—so they were in no danger of being overheard.

Sam knocked on the door and called, “Danny?”

It appeared that in his haste, Danny neglected to fully close the door, so it popped open the moment her knuckles hit it. Without waiting for a response from him, she pushed through the door and strode in with Tucker at her side.

Danny was huddled on the floor, his forehead pressed against the toilet seat. Shudders wracked his frame, and upon hearing them enter, he shifted slightly and stared at them with frenzied, glowing eyes.

But they were his eyes. Sam would know them anywhere.

“G—guys,” Danny rasped, curling into tighter ball as they came closer. He sounded as though he was hyperventilating. “Please…please…I—”

“It’s okay,” Sam interrupted soothingly. She ignored the stench of vomit and sat directly on the floor beside him. He flinched when she took his hand, but his teeth were chattering far too loudly for her to make out whatever protest he made.

Tucker, who perched himself on the edge of the tub, however, seemed to have been able to interpret what their friend said. “We’re not going anywhere, dude.”

“We’re so sorry,” Sam added. “Don’t fight it, Danny. Please. You’re making yourself sick.”

A glowing tear slipped down his cheek, and he grit his teeth. “Sam, I…”

“No, listen to me,” Sam said, gently turning him toward her and forcing him to look her in the eye. “We haven’t been here for you these past few days, but we’re here now, and Tucker’s right: we’re not going anywhere. We’re in this together, Danny.”

Her friend released a sharp sob, and she continued, “Stop fighting it. It will be okay, I promise. We’ll still be here, and we’re going to help you figure this out.”

Sam Manson wasn’t normally one for hugging, but a few days ago, she nearly lost her best friend. She needed this just as much as he did. Danny shuddered once more before relaxing fully into her embrace. That strange halo of light passed over his body, and though he was freezing cold, Sam didn’t release him. Not for a single second.

By this point, Tucker had slipped onto the floor and joined them. His hands were firm on both Danny and Sam’s shoulders. “We aren’t going anywhere,” he repeated. “And neither are you.”

“Brooklyn’s Jaÿ-Z: Keeping Rap Dollars in Rap Pockets”

Jaÿ-Z, photographed for the cover of Stress magazine by Danny Hastings in early-1996. 

The Stress feature was Jaÿ’s first ever magazine cover. The $3.95 issue was released in the Summer of 1996, shortly before his classic debut Reasonable Doubt dropped. In keeping with their “do anything to get ahead” ethos, months beforehand Jaÿ, Dame Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke offered to pay the magazine’s owner Alan Ket for the printing costs in order to secure an upcoming cover. Not wanting to compromise their editorial integrity, the staff declined the offer. Fast forward to a few months later and the team voted to give Hov the cover—for free.

Sensing he was going to be someone of importance for New York, Hastings shot Jaÿ on top of the Roc-A-Fella Records offices in lower Manhattan, capturing him in front of another NY icon—the World Trade Center. Here he recalls his experience of the shoot: “I waited for Jay at his office near Wall Street for a few hours. Jay was in meetings all day. When he came out he was really standoffish. He only had like 15 minutes to get back to another meeting. I was trying to get him comfortable but I had to adjust to his energy and understand that it is what it is and I must work with what I am given. When I got to the rooftop, I immediately saw my favorite NYC landmark to shoot—the Twin Towers. I personally think they defined NYC skyline from their construction until their destruction, more so than the Empire State Building during their Era. I couldn’t get a clear shot of the Towers but I noticed the Geometric lines that all the building were forming, and I moved around until I placed Jay in the perfect spot. This is called composition or framing, a very important element in the discipline of photography. Jay’s expression of urgency says to me ‘Hurry Up Bro, I have work to do and money to make,’ and is a prelude to the Billion Dollar Empire he was working on building. In fact in this picture Jay is a building among those buildings. In 15 minutes I only shot 24 pictures and landed the cover. Call me the Sniper, I always got the shot.”