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Big Sean performs song mentioning Colin Kaepernick at the 2024 NFL Draft

Detroit rapper performs verse that started conversation in 2018

DETROIT − If Big Sean is going to do anything, it’s going to be him.

The Detroit rap legend has been receiving his long-overdue flowers for his spot in hip-hop as a relevant figure in the genre for the past 15 years, during the current rollout of his upcoming album.

The Grammy-nominated artist took a step away from music and the public eye to focus on his health and becoming a new father to his son Noah with singer Jhené Aiko. Among his latest verses before this fresh run of new music was a feature on The Alchemist and Larry June‘s “Palisades, CA” in 2023.

YouTube video

On April 25, he shocked fans as opened up the 2024 NFL Draft in front of a capacity hometown crowd in Detroit. He hit the stage with “Paradise” and ran down his catalog of hit records with the exception of “I Don’t F— With You.”

Among the popular features he performed, while rocking a black Detroit Lions jersey, was YG’s 2018 single “Big Bank,” which also featured 2 Chainz and Nicki Minaj. This specific verse of Sean’s is notable because when the song dropped in 2018, Sean was applauded for shouting out NFL free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the former NFC champion who many speculated was blackballed from the league after kneeling during the national anthem throughout the 2016 season due to police brutality and America’s mistreatment of its Black citizens.

Big Sean performs song mentioning Colin Kaepernick at the 2024 NFL Draft
Photo Credit: Aaron J. Thornton / RedCarpetImages

The particular line from Sean even got more attention when the Madden video game censored Kaepernick’s name from the song.

“It’s disappointing and appalling NFL and EA Sports took Colin Kaepernick’s name out of my verse on ‘Big Bank’ for Madden 19 like it was a curse word,” Sean posted on X, formerly known as Twitter in 2018 after word spread of the omission. “He’s not a curse, he’s a gift! Nobody from my team approved any of this.”

YG spoke up, as well.

“EA Sports, NFL, whoever — y’all owe me, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Nicki Minaj, and the homie Kaepernick, and an apology,” YG said in a social media video in 2018.

At a live performance featuring 2 Chainz and YG, Sean performed the line specifically repeatedly.

“They can’t stop us, they can’t censor us, they ain’t gone take any lyrics out of our songs,” Sean said. “I said, ‘You boys all cap, I’m more Colin Kaepernick!'”

Kaepernick commented on the clip, as well.

“I appreciate these brothers for not being silent on this issue!” Kaepernick posted on X.

At the 2024 NFL Draft, when the line came up, Sean put his microphone down and didn’t recite it, but his DJ did and he nodded in approval.

The draft continued its Detroit-heavy presence, as figures like Eminem, Barry Sanders, Calvin Johnson, Jared Goff and Aidan Hutchinson graced the stage with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to start the event.

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