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See Lil Wayne, Saweetie and Pusha T in NFL Kickoff Teaser Videos (EXCLUSIVE)

With halftime shows featuring the Weeknd, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, and this year’s all-star combo of Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent, the National Football League has tightened up its game in the entertainment space over the past few years, and that will definitely continue into the new season, judging by a new teaser video featuring Lil Wayne, Saweetie, Pusha T, Young Dylan and more  and even a cameo from the Seattle Seahawks’ DK Metcalf, playing piano on a hip-hop anthem that should be familiar.

Also featured in the spots are TikTok/ YouTube star Frankie LaPenna, Buffalo Bills “Mafia” superfan Pinto Ron, pro boxer Ryan Garcia, the Los Angeles Chargers’ Derwin James and the New Orleans Saints’ Cam Jordan. Set to Dr. Dre’s anthem “Still D.R.E.,” the video pays tribute to last year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show performance last year, featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar.

Airing on NBC, the 2022 NFL Kickoff game will start at 8:20 p.m. ET on Thursday, Sept. 8 at SoFi Stadium with the Buffalo Bills taking on the Super Bowl-winning Los Angeles Rams. While this year’s halftime show featured the five announced headliners — Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige, with a surprise sixth in 50 Cent  but there’s no question that the hit-filled set revolved around two stars: Dr. Dre and the city of L.A.

And while the lyrics to the songs featured in the long medley of the performers’ hits — some of the biggest hip-hop songs of the past 30 years — were largely scrubbed of references to racial strife or parts of the human anatomy, the sole white headliner, Eminem, managed to make a statement that pre-show reports said he’d been expressly asked not to make: Taking a knee, Colin Kaepernick style, to protest police violence against the Black community.

However, an N.F.L. rep told Variety shortly after the show that it was fully aware of Eminem’s plans. “We watched all elements of the show during multiple rehearsals this week and were aware that Eminem was going to do that,” the rep said. “This was not an area of concern. A player or coach could have taken a knee today and there would not have been an issue.”

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