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.