Yasiin Bey isn’t one to mince words, and last week he released a poem lamenting about the brand new Barclays Center arena in his beloved hometown. Although the piece, titled “On center.stadium.status,” could have been seen as a jab toward Jay-Z, Bey cleared the air in an interview saying that is not the case.
The former Mos Def sat down with Vulture, which first broke news about the poem and followed up with Bey to clarify the aim of the piece and his relationship with Jay. The thoughtful MC was especially pointed regarding the gentrification of the neighborhood with the arrival of the stadium and other choice matters.
“I have been what some people might call an opponent to the stadium,” said Bey explaining why he wrote the poem. “I think the word opponent has many meanings. I was concerned about what the stadium’s presence in the community might do.”
Although Bey penned the poem while he was temporarily living in New Orleans, he has since visited the area where the stadium is based and observed a curious set of transactions. “I saw these not-quite-so-young men, in standing traffic, trying to sell bootleg Rolling Stones T-shirts,” shared Bey. “I thought, ‘This is the trickle-down economic effect of Barclays in the neighborhood?’ I didn’t think of it as a positive.”
Bey made certain that the publication was aware there weren’t any issues with Jay-Z, mentioning that he too lived in the notorious Marcy Projects that Hov once called home as a child. Saying that he has a “great respect” for for the fellow Brooklyn MC, he hopes to dialogue with the business mogul and wants the corporate minds behind Barclays and the NBA to reinvest in the neighborhood fairly.
You can read “On center.stadium.status,” on the next page.