Rap mogul Jay-Z‘s “Empire State of Mind” lyrics are noticeably altered around the Cleveland, Ohio area after one radio station has decided to edit his hometown star LeBron James‘ name out of the anthem.
According to reports, the decision comes courtesy of Cleveland-based station 96.5 FM WAKS.
96.5FM WAKS has taken that dislike a step further, digitally editing “Empire State of Mind,” a popular rap song by Jay-Z, to obscure the word “LeBron” so that it cannot be clearly understood on the radio. What was once “[If] Jeezy‘s paying LeBron, I’m paying Dwyane Wade” – a reference towards the purchase price of an illegal drug – is now relatively indecipherable as the two-time NBA MVP’s name is edited – or as female hip-hop star Missy Elliott calls, “flipped and reversed.” (CBS Sports)
Radio station personality Joel “Java” Murphy has confirmed the station’s move.
“I was playing the song and realized that the word ‘LeBron’ is as offensive to some people as the ‘Seven Words You Can’t Say On The Radio,’ [by George Carlin]” said Murphy. “Anytime one of those words shows up in a song, we either bleep it, cut it out completely or obscure it by flipping it backwards. So, I suggested to our programming dept that we should treat the name ‘LeBron’ similarly.” (Yahoo News)
The frustration stems from James’ decision to leave his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers after seven years on the team last summer.
In a recent matchup between ‘Bron and his former Cavaliers, James and his new team, the Miami Heat, responded in flawless fashion, routing Cleveland who were outgunned from the onset. And while the victory had to feel good, the loyal Ohio homeboy never took it personally. “It was nothing personal for myself against the fans. It won’t be, ever,” James offered to USA Today after the game. “I understand their frustration.” (Rap Fix)
In light of James’ decision to embark a new journey with the Heat, SOHH previously talked to basketball fanatic/producer 9th Wonder about his reaction to the all-star’s power move.
“With LeBron, my thing is this, I’m a Michael Jordan fan to death,” 9th told SOHH when asked about his thoughts on LeBron James. “100 percent, as a player. He said, ‘I never wanted to call Magic [Johnson] and Larry [Bird] and say, ‘Come on, let’s be on the same team. I always wanted to beat them.’ And I think in this particular sports generation, man, I think music and sports go hand-in-hand. The same ideology we had about music and doing music back in the day and the way kids handle going on with music now, it’s kinda the same thing with sports. Michael Jordan made $2.2 million a year to keep his team together, it’s not like that anymore. Now it’s about maximum contracts and free agency. There’s not really a team you can follow because you don’t know how long they’re gonna stay together. It’s just a different world.” (SOHH)
Check out “Empire State of Mind” below: