Posted in hiphop | music | venues on February 12, 2013

Mos Def w/ Black Star at Rock the Bells 2011 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
Mos Def

Like many, Mos Def, I mean Yasiin Bey, is none too happy with all this Barclays Center business taking over his hometown. Last week, he slammed the arena in a poem called "On center.stadium.status," which you can read in full below. Now, in an interview with Vulture, he explains the poem and his stance on the venue:

Where'd you write ""?

Yasiin Bey: I wrote that in New Orleans, on the day they were having the opening for Barclays. People were calling me and asking, "Are you gonna be there, are you gonna be there?" And it just kind of came to me, rather quickly. I have been what some people might call an opponent to the stadium. I think the word opponent has many meanings. I was concerned about what the stadium's presence in the community might do. I was concerned.

About what, exactly?

Yasiin Bey: I saw one thing that was kind of a telling sign. I was on DeKalb Avenue and Flatbush, probably two months ago, and at the intersection I saw these not-quite-so-young men, in standing traffic, trying to sell bootleg Rolling Stones T-shirts. [Laughs] I thought, "This is the trickle-down economic effect of Barclays in the neighborhood?" I didn't think of it as a positive.

In the interview, the emcee also made it clear that he didn't mean any of this as an attack on Jay-Z:
In the world of hip-hop and certain parts of the media, you take a statement and you turn it into Wrestlemania, you make the Himalayas out of molehills. I wasn't interested in that. I respect Jay. I have great respect for him. I'm a fan. I'm not a fan of everything [he does] but I don't think you have to be a fan of everything that someone does to have respect for them. And you know, I'm from the town too. I'm from the same neighborhood, the same projects. My grandmothers, my moms, my uncles -- my first five years in life were at Marcy Projects. If I can't have an opinion, who can? So to quote Jay: "I'm bigging up my borough. I'm big enough to do it."
Grammy Award winners Mumford and Sons just played the Brooklyn arena earlier this month (2/6) and will again tonight (2/12) (sold out). Jay-Z's (also Grammy Award winning) wife Beyonce recently sold out her upcoming show (8/3) at the venue, and added a second one (8/4). Tickets for the 8/4 show go on MasterCard presale Wednesday (2/13) at 10 AM, Live Nation presale Thursday (2/14) at 10 AM, and general on-sale Friday (2/15) at 10 AM.

Mos Def will be next door to Barclays Center in June for his show at BAM with Erykah Badu. Read his poem below...


Mos Def - "On center.stadium.status"

Modzilla The spine winder
Convenient future
Army base
They arrive in they best
Then it get worse
Dull scissors
Soft ribbon
Artery burst
It's simpler to kill
A stranger
Than it is
To slay
whose shadow alone
buries homes
And swallows streets
Pass gas then
Pick its teeth
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"
Dig a grave
& build on top
& build
On top
Dig a grave
& thrill on
& kill on
On center.



Comments (20)

truther bullshit

Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2013 12:34 PM

I like that set list. To close out the show with Status took some balls.

Posted by Journo(!) | February 12, 2013 12:43 PM

I'm so glad he shared that wonderful poem with us.

Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2013 12:48 PM

'Dig a grave' into 'build on top' back into 'dig' back into 'build!?' crazy set. can't wait for new years.

Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2013 12:54 PM

I suppose the Applebee's, Best Buy, etc across the street were fine though?

Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2013 12:54 PM

Mos Def is way more intelligent then Jay-Z...

But it's also feasible that a cricket has more brains then the jigga man.

Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2013 12:56 PM

why wouldn't you direct your anger at jay-z? fuck barclays & fuck jay-z!

Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2013 12:59 PM

@12:54 thats my problem with the anti - Barclays argument. There was a shopping mall with a buffalo wild wings next door. It want like the neighborhood hadnt already lost its quaintness.

Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2013 1:50 PM


Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2013 1:53 PM


Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2013 1:57 PM

mmm. Buffalo Wild Wings. Now, that's some good eatin'

Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2013 2:42 PM

A sports arena paid wit crack dealin' money. What is irony?

Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2013 3:24 PM

poem interesting

Posted by Lucas | February 12, 2013 4:06 PM

The fact that there was already a shopping mall on the other side of Atlantic Avenue that was built like over a decade ago is probably of little comfort to all of the people and businesses who were displaced because of Ratner's stadium development. But I hope you all enjoy the Mumford & Sons concert tonight.

Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2013 4:49 PM

it's an arena not a stadium.. do these dopes insist on using 'stadium' because it sounds more imperial or something?

Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2013 5:08 PM

they should put a fence around marcy, charge admission. gift shop. it has gifted us such riches as, "thirty-eight revolves like the sun round the earth."

Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2013 6:39 PM

Sorry I'm not from Brooklyn.

Does Jay-Z own Barclays?

The only Barclay I know is the dog from Sesame Street...

Posted by Anonymous | February 13, 2013 11:42 PM

Jay-z doing his thang,He's roll model to me because he made it out the projects, and I'm from chicago out the projects also (Leclaire Courts)and I'm doing everything in my power to get rich and wealthy just like Jay-z, people should congradualate the fact he came from nothing to having almost if not everything thats Big fam. Jay-z a living legend, and the best rapper alive in that order fam. (This is to the haters, stop hating and get some money)

Posted by Vernon Taylor | February 27, 2013 4:48 PM

Haters stay away.

Posted by mike | June 23, 2013 3:30 PM

I feel like the last 20 or so seconds of this video is by far the best.. Acknowledging and paying respect to the older generation, with something as simple as walking a little ways with them and sharing a few words.. I feel like that's something that's really missing in our culture, and we need to get that back.

Posted by Trowbridge | September 17, 2014 10:09 AM

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