In an album that shot to number one on iTunes less than 24 hours after it was released at midnight on Monday, rappers Kanye West and Jay-Z insinuate the death of football player and Easton, MA, native Danroy "DJ" Henry was murder.
Henry’s parents, Danroy Sr. and Angella, were unaware of the dedication prior to the album being released, but said they are thankful the rappers are using their “powerful voices” to portray their son’s story.
The parents have never met the rappers before.
“Dan woke up yesterday and got a tweet about it,” Angella Henry said. “We were surprised. We had no idea.”
Henry was shot and killed by Pleasantville Police Officer Aaron Hess on the morning of Oct. 17, 2010 in front of the now defunct Finnegan's Grill in the Thornwood Shopping Center.
Hess, who has not returned to work since the incident, recently announced he was and holding it responsible for Henry's actions that night and following morning, which ultimately ended with the 20-year-old's death.
Henry's family is seeking a federal probe in the case after a Westchester County jury on a homicide charge. Danroy Henry also released a Youtube video Tuesday suggesting that evidence had been tampered with, particularly his son’s Blood Alcohol Content, which autopsy results found to be .13.
Henry said there was only trace amounts of alcohol in his son’s digestive system, however, and it would have been impossible for alcohol to be found in his blood, tissue and urine.
“How did it get there? We think someone put it there,” Henry said in the video. “Why would they put it there? Because they’re trying to make DJ at fault here. DJ wasn’t. He was killed by a rogue officer, Aaron Hess.”
Watch the Throne, a collaborative album between the West and Jay Z, includes a track titled "Murder to Excellence," which opens with the line, "Bloody Murder, murder, murder."
In the first verse of the rap, Jay-Z says, "This is to the memory of Danroy Henry / Too much enemy fire to catch a friendly..."
The song's chorus is, "The paper read 'murder,' black-on-black murder."
Aria Smith, a friend of Henry's who founded a group called The Pleasantville 7 following the student's death, stated in an email, "I think it's amazing that so many celebrities can see through the lies that the Westchester DA and Mt. Pleasant and Pleasantville police have put out there."
Smith continued, "DJ was wrongfully murdered and this song calls much needed attention to this case. I think JayZ and Kanye West doing this song shows those responsible for DJ's murder that its far from over. Its only begun..."
Meanwhile, Henry’s parents said they are in the process of getting in touch with the rappers in an effort to thank them.
Danroy Sr. said he hopes more people “join the fight.”
“We’re following the trail of truth to the truth,” he said. “We’re not going to be distracted, and we’re not going to go away.”