Yasiin Bey Wants To Meet With Jay-Z, Discuss Pitfalls Of Barclays Center

By Maurice Bobb

Yasiin Bey has never been afraid to speak his mind, even if it means having some harsh words for King Hov. The artist formerly known as Mos Def, a reputed Brooklyn legend, recently released a poem, “On center.stadium.status.,” slamming the location of Hov’s crowning achievement, Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

“I’d told Marty Markowitz, ‘Why not put it [in South Brooklyn]?’” Bey told Vulture about the stadium’s arrival in its highly congested, deeply rooted neighborhood. “Nope. They wanted it right there on the poppin’ boulevard. But it was already poppin’ there!” That night, feeling “heavy,” Bey sat down to write about the arena, “with my hands, on paper.”

In the poem (see below), the fifth-generation Brooklynite let loose on the stadium’s apparently overstated economic benefits at the expense of the already thriving neighborhood economy.

The actor/rapper wrote the poem in September, when Barclays first opened, but hesitated to release it, afraid it might be considered as a personal affront to Jay and not the constructive critique of the stadium itself it was meant to be. “It’s a test to me,” Bey said. “Can my words have impact without me reciting them to music? But I didn’t want it to be misconstrued as a personal attack.”

It took a while for Bey, who now lives in New Orleans, to make to the Barclays, but he didn’t like what he saw. “Maybe two months ago,at the intersection of Dekalb and Flatbush, I saw these not-quite-so-young men, in standing traffic, trying to sell bootleg Rolling Stones T-shirts,” Bey said. “I thought, this is the trickle-down economic effect of having Barclays in the neighborhood?”

Ultimately, the Black on Both Sides MC would like to meet with Jay and Harry Belafonte for “a meeting of the minds.”

“Jay’s narrative is so strong in America — it inspires and touches people. But it also swept real issues under the rug,” Bey said. “Jay was such an emotional centerpiece for the stadium that it almost became sacrilegious to criticize it. If I can’t have an opinion on it, who can?” he said before adding, “To quote Jay: ‘I’m bigging up my borough, I’m big enough to do it.’”

Bey's poem:

Modzilla The spine winder

crooked

Face

Coliseum

Convenient future

Army base

They arrive in they best

Then it get worse

Dull scissors

Soft ribbon

Artery burst

Clear:

It’s simpler to kill

A stranger

Than it is

To slay

A

Neighbor

DECREE!

HAIL THE NO NATION BEAST!!

whose shadow alone

buries homes

And swallows streets

Pass gas then

Pick its teeth

(ssssuuuucckkkk)

downwind

Topple the trees

Flat earth

Unavailable light

Bright screens

Zeroes on

Zeroes and zeroes

Round screams

What did Brutus tell Ceasar as he aired him out?

“Lord it’s Hell in that crowd”

Stadium

Dig a grave

& build on top

digagrave

& build

On top

Emptyempty

FILL UP!!

Dig a grave

& thrill on

Top

digagrave

& kill on

Top

On center.

STADIUM.STATUS.

stadium.

Status.