Jay Z – Is Hova a Homophobe?

0 Posted by - Feb 16, 2009 - Featured, News and MP3s

Jay Z goes hard

With the exception of a few laughably cheap shots at Celine Dion, Zane Lowe and The NME I rarely post negative reviews or slag people off.  Why waste time telling people what NOT to listen to, when so much wonderful music gets overlooked?

In the months since Jay-Z’s “Brooklyn (Go Hard)” leaked it’s received almost universal praise, and musically I wouldn’t argue much with that. Lyrically however one little line makes the track vaguely depressing to these ears.

America has a hugely symbolic first black president (upliftingly commemorated by Jay Z himself with “My President is Black“) but is it really acceptable in 2009 for America’s No.1 rapper to quote lyrics advocating violence against gays? The answer to the post’s title “Is Hova a Homophobe?” is, probably not, but this line is at best unfortunate.

Boom Bye Bye, like Buju I’m crucial – Jay Z “Brooklyn (Go Hard)

It may sound innocuous but lets look at exactly what Jay-Z is describing as crucial!
Back in 1992 Boom Bye Bye’s violently homophobic lyrics led to Banton being dropped by his label and shunned from live performances in the UK (Brighton in particular didn’t seem that keen). I have to hold my hands up and say as a student at the time I bought a copy on 12″ before the true horror of the lyrics quite dawned on me. Amazing track though it is, there really is no place to listen to a chorus that goes “Boom bye bye Inna batty bwoy head“.

When Banton’s not advocating shooting homosexuals (Battyboys) in the head he goes on to suggest setting fire to them so their skin burns like an old tire wheel… is any of this sounding “Crucial” yet?

I find it hard to believe Jay-Z doesnt realise the lyrical content of “Boom Bye Bye“. If the line said “Like Buju Im crucial” and didn’t mention Boom Bye Bye, I wouldn’t have such a problem with it.  1992 is a long time ago now, I love Buju’s 1995 “Til Shiloh” album, and to some degree you have to move on.

Would it be acceptable to name check a song advocating murdering blacks, stringing them up and setting fire to them… “like Skrewdriver, I’m crucial“?  No, of course not, it would be abhorrent, obscene and indefensible – just as the line in “Brooklyn (Go Hard)” is.

Jay-Z – Brooklyn Go Hard (feat. Santigold)” (MP3)

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Buju Banton – Walk Like a Battyboy” (MP3) – created by the brilliant Wayne&Wax.com

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17 Comments

  • Ryan Feb 16, 2009 - 1:24 am Reply

    Have you considered that most people who visit’s this post will probably come from HypeMachine specifically because they love the track… and they’ll get greeted by this (Brings a smile to my face).

    Can’t wait for the Peter Tatchell vs Jay-Z rumble!

    Ryan (StopMe)

    p.s. Why don’t you add a paragraph to the ‘Controvesy’ subsection of Jay-Z’s Wikipedia page!

  • Gregory Spevack Feb 16, 2009 - 2:05 am Reply

    This is just wrong ! It has effected several careers in the Reggae industry and shouldn’t bee mentioned or messed with . Certain Crucial Reggae artist have taken big losses for this stuff . Remixing Buju after all the he went through after all he has done for AIDS awareness in his country . Unlike what most think about Reggae Artist I know forthright that they are great people and give back to their country in all forms . They build Schools , Hospitals and other public funding .

  • Ryan Feb 16, 2009 - 2:24 am Reply

    Have you considered that most people who visit's this post will probably come from HypeMachine specifically because they love the track… and they'll get greeted by this (Brings a smile to my face).

    Can't wait for the Peter Tatchell vs Jay-Z rumble!

    Ryan (StopMe)

    p.s. Why don't you add a paragraph to the 'Controvesy' subsection of Jay-Z's Wikipedia page!

  • musiclikedirt Feb 16, 2009 - 8:07 am Reply

    Gregory – Couldn't agree more it shouldnt as you say be "mentioned or messed with". It was 1992 and caused all sorts of problems for reggae acts not just Buju, so its a shame that Jay Z should reference it in a high profile track.

    This site is named after a reggae track, I back up much of what you say about reggae artists, and as I said I'm a fan of both Buju and Jay-Z.

    Doesnt make quoting a song about the murder of homosexuals and calling it crucial right though.

    Ryan – I'm not sure adding a page to wiki would be a great idea! Its not really a controversy just a bit of a moan by me.

  • Christina Feb 18, 2009 - 5:15 am Reply

    I think so many tracks get listened to without really being “listened to” by people like me (i.e. people who grew up in white American suburbs). This kind of message is welcome, to point up the flaws in music I would otherwise nod my head to without actually knowing what I was hearing sometimes.

  • musiclikedirt Mar 3, 2009 - 9:50 pm Reply

    Thanks Christina. I listened to the original Boom Bye Bye track and didnt notice all the “Batty” stuff on first listen. It saddens me that someone like Jay Z would refernece such a despicable track.

  • musiclikedirt Mar 3, 2009 - 10:50 pm Reply

    Thanks Christina. I listened to the original Boom Bye Bye track and didnt notice all the "Batty" stuff on first listen. It saddens me that someone like Jay Z would refernece such a despicable track.

  • Ban Mar 14, 2009 - 2:14 am Reply

    If Ya Listen good to the lines before the rest of the track

    Jay-Z
    This is black hoodie rap,
    There’s no fear in my eyes where they’re lookin at.
    betta look a map
    be-sides me not like ta eye fight
    me not think such a ting is worth a man’s life, right!
    but if a man tests my style,
    I promise he won’t like my reply
    boom bye bye, like Buju I’m crucial

    As you can read you see that the BOOM BYE BYE he refers to buju destructive manners. And does not point out any people he sets hate too…

    If you read the upper bloq… you can see how heartless the ways of the boom bye bye song is .. He says like buju he will be crucial to the man who test his style !

    JUST READ and don’t let them school ya :D!!!

  • Ban Mar 14, 2009 - 3:14 am Reply

    If Ya Listen good to the lines before the rest of the track

    Jay-Z

    This is black hoodie rap,

    There’s no fear in my eyes where they’re lookin at.

    betta look a map

    be-sides me not like ta eye fight

    me not think such a ting is worth a man’s life, right!

    but if a man tests my style,

    I promise he won’t like my reply

    boom bye bye, like Buju I’m crucial

    As you can read you see that the BOOM BYE BYE he refers to buju destructive manners. And does not point out any people he sets hate too…

    If you read the upper bloq… you can see how heartless the ways of the boom bye bye song is .. He says like buju he will be crucial to the man who test his style !

    JUST READ and don't let them school ya :D!!!

  • Andrae Dec 16, 2009 - 4:29 pm Reply

    Yea I have to say am a very BIG FAN of the song. I was a but a lad when the song came out. Lol infact I still have the cd. The song employs a level of artistry. You dont like the cd or lyrics dont buy it. Music is the one element that should be free and express unrestrictively. The non homo sapiens need to understand that this is not their world. Respect to Buju and Jay-Z 2 talented individual.

  • Andrae Dec 16, 2009 - 5:29 pm Reply

    Yea I have to say am a very BIG FAN of the song. I was a but a lad when the song came out. Lol infact I still have the cd. The song employs a level of artistry. You dont like the cd or lyrics dont buy it. Music is the one element that should be free and express unrestrictively. The non homo sapiens need to understand that this is not their world. Respect to Buju and Jay-Z 2 talented individual.

  • Peter Dec 18, 2009 - 8:07 pm Reply

    Woman brought me here so God help me they must take me back!!

    Faggots have no place in America. They are a set of parasites, a incurable form of mental sickness, a blight, a curst, an obmination, a unexplained genetic mutation of the HOMO SAPIEN RACE. Hence the term HOMO SEXUAL

    Respect to my dude BUJU. As a yankee yute of W.I. descent I endorse the man right to fress speech. THE FIGHT WILL BE CONTINUED. Why should us Americans, or any country for that matter endorse MAN to MAN or WOMAN to WOMAN; unless offcourse the goal is to destroy your country

  • Peter Dec 18, 2009 - 8:12 pm Reply

    well i also feel that this is a set up and G.L.A.D try no get too glad yet for if any thing happen to buju then we are going to be very glad to put some bullets in a all the faggots dem that we can catch yard and a broad…… so now uno better prepare for the repo….

  • musiclikedirt Dec 19, 2009 - 1:00 pm Reply

    Hello to Andrae and Peter. I also endorse the right to free speech, and as such welcome all comments on this blog even by complete and utter dicks.

    Peter I dont know why youve come to this site/page so long after the song came out but this is not a “set-up”. I dont know what to say other than I heard the song – by an artist I really like – heard the lyrics and posted this brief blog post to express my disappointment.
    As for all the hate and faggot comments you so BOLDly type I can’t be bothered to distinguish them with a reply. Anyone worth respecting can judge them for themselves.
    Happy christmas, may you be roundly buggered by a well endowed man, I’m sure you’d enjoy it.

    Andrae – I have Boom Bye Bye on 12″ and fully admit its a amazing tune. I dont however agree that its acceptable to encourage the murder of individuals based on their sexual preference. Can you seriously say that people should encourage murder or do you only deem it acceptable for people you personally hate?

    Ben – Thanks for actually engaging in a reasoned defence of the song. I still don’t see the previous lines as justification for calling a song encouraging the murder of gays crucial. That said I could be totally wrong. I still have a lot of love for Jay Z and also for Buju (or at least his music).

  • Robert Cranford Apr 10, 2012 - 9:40 am Reply

    Obviously almost everyone that commented on this post cant read. I thought it would be best if i reposted this.
    Jay-Z

    This is black hoodie rap,

    There’s no fear in my eyes where they’re lookin at.

    betta look a map

    be-sides me not like ta eye fight

    me not think such a ting is worth a man’s life, right!

    but if a man tests my style,

    I promise he won’t like my reply

    boom bye bye, like Buju I’m crucial

    As you can read you see that the BOOM BYE BYE he refers to buju destructive manners. And does not point out any people he sets hate too…

    If you read the upper bloq… you can see how heartless the ways of the boom bye bye song is .. He says like buju he will be crucial to the man who test his style !

    Reading is fundamental, especially to those people who grew up in white American suburbs…Christina.

    • Rob .c Aug 27, 2012 - 6:30 pm Reply

      At the end of that verse he also said, ” Im a Brooklyn boy, I may take some getting used to.”

      SO GET USED TO IT. He’s not going anywhere.

  • […] with, “You’s the fag model for Karl Kani Esco ads.” He’s referenced Buju Banton’s murder music and has repeatedly used the “no homo” stand-in […]

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