Rappers love a great revolutionary story. So when Colin Kaepernick—formerly a star quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers—began silently protesting the national anthem during the 2016-2017 NFL season, citing police brutality and oppression of Black people as the reasoning, artists quickly began caping for Kaep.
Colin Kaepernick's sitting (and later, kneeling) through these pregame ceremonies has since defined his legacy—and perhaps cost him a spot in the league. Since becoming a free agent in 2017, he hasn't been picked up by any NFL team. Kaep filed a grievance in August of that year, accusing the NFL of colluding to keep him out of the league due to his controversial activism.
Still, he's been forever immortalized in culture, history and hip-hop lyrics. Hip-hop artists have been namedropping Colin regularly, often showing support and solidarity for the QB (and occasionally just finessing a punchline about oral sex). His support and momentum has never seemed greater, as the NFL's attempt to have Kaepernick's case dismissed was rejected last month, and now Nike has announced that he's a featured athlete on a campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of the brand's iconic "Just Do It" slogan. With his own line of various apparel, it seems like Kaepernick will be paid handsomely for standing up for his beliefs.
His hip-hop stock has been paying dividends, too, with everyone from Rick Ross to Eminem to J. Cole paying lyrical respects to Kaep. Wale named a song for the football living legend and Big Sean's name-drop on YG's "Big Bank" was even the cause of a controversy when it was erroneously censored on the soundtrack to Madden NFL 19.
XXL rounds up 25 of the best references to Colin Kaepernick in hip-hop songs.
"American Skin (41 Shots)"Mary J. Blige Featuring Kendrick Lamar
"Sweet blood flowed on the gurney/Yellow tape tied around the street/Colin Kaepernick was more than worthy" —Kendrick Lamar
"Bars of Soap"Mike WiLL Made-It Featuring Swae Lee
"The Buddha left me without breath, I really am a mess/I'm moochin' off my mother-lovin' self/She be hopin' that I take a knee like Kaepernick, yes" —Swae Lee
"Big Bank"YG Featuring 2 Chainz, Big Sean and Nicki Minaj
"Feed me to the wolves, now I lead the pack and shit/You boys all cap, I'm more Colin Kaepernick" — Big Sean
"He spat on it and brought it back lookin' half in shock/Had a heart attack and dropped dead/Started fallin' back with it/And got slapped with a Colin Kaepernick practice sock" —Eminem
"Come Through and Chill"Miguel Featuring J. Cole
"In case my lack of reply had you catchin' them feelings/Know you've been on my mind like Kaepernick kneelin'/Or police killings/Or Trump sayin' slick shit/Manipulatin' poor white folks because they ignant/Blind to the struggles of the ones that got the pigment" —J. Cole
"Criminal"Miguel Featuring Rick Ross
"Dry land and get to travel the Seven Seas/Kaepernick of my city, lil homie, take a knee" —Rick Ross
"Pat paddick paddick playing Patek addict/Hair long afro Kaepernick" —Tyga
"Family Feud"Lil Wayne Featuring Drake
"Super Bowl goals, I'm at the crib with Puff/He got Kaepernick on the phone, he in a whole different mode" —Drake
"Fuck Yo Attitude"Dizzy Wright
"Take that knee like Colin Kaep' (Yup)/But they still do not get the point" —Dizzy Wright
"Huncho Jack"Quavo and Travis Scott
"Take a knee like the 'Niners (Kaepernick)/Join the team, don't divide us (join them)" —Quavo
"Kneelin' On Needles"Lupe Fiasco
"And it’s not about natural ability/You would think that Kaep' took a shat/On the Statue of Liberty, goddamn" —Lupe Fiasco
"Let Em All In"Lil Wayne Featuring Cory Gunz
"We takin' on all names, it ain't no more games/I'm a stand up nigga, Cory Kaepernick bitch" —Cory Gunz
"Lil Arrogant".Idk. Featuring Joey Bada$$ and Russ
"Trump supporters' daughters love me, so I still think we won/She on her knees for that black thing, no Kaepernick/I copped the neck" —.Idk.
"Lil Bitty Bit"UnoTheActivist
"Bitch wanna fuck me I’m ballin/She ball Kaepernick and I’m callin I’m callin'" —UnoTheActivist
"I'm thinking who my heroes be, thank God for the Negro League/Colin Kaepernick was blackballed, ah, nigga, please" —Snoop Dogg
"Peacock"Jean Grae & Quelle Chris
"The harmony off-key/I take the Colin Kaepernick knee/Like you ain't 'bout to off me/Cause I am free" —Quelle Chris
"Fuck your sister while you watch 'cause she's kinda thick/And make that bitch take a knee, like Colin Kaepernick" —The Game
"Girl in San Fran. who wants to cross routes with me/Like a young Colin Kaepernick/Treat the money like a lateral, I'm passin' it" —Russ
"Purple Brick Road"Raekwon Featuring G-Eazy
"My OG put a torch to the blunt then he's passin' it/Believe in something, stand for it or take a knee and stand like Kaepernick" —G-Eazy
"Look how them owners done blackballed Kaepernick (Fuck 'em)/Tell Martin Luther, 'Puff got a dream'/Them crackers ain’t letting Puff buy no football team/They ain’t even let Kaepernick be a backup" —Uncle Murda
"Khaled, nigga, We The Best/Call Goodell, we need to speak and shit/Rap a piece about that CTE/And give Kaepernick a new team to check" —Wale
"You couldn't stop these plays even if I was ineligible/Kneeling like Colin Kaepernick if that shit unethical (Kap)" —Big Sean
"We need more Kaepernicking, not just what the rapper kicking/We need more than Instagram posts with smart captions" —Fabolous
"But they're gonna say you're tryin' to take an irrational stance/If you try to slander the flag but/Somebody has to be the sacrificial lamb/So they call it a Kaepernick tantrum/If you don't stand for the national anthem" —Eminem
"Do it look like I'm playin'? Kaepernick/Niggas don't know a star from an asterisk" —Lil Wayne