Travis Scott was added to the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show Thursday, but Jay-Z is reportedly trying to talk the rapper out of joining Maroon 5 on the stage.
Two sources told Variety Thursday that Jay-Z wants the "Sicko Mode" rapper to drop out. Representatives for the performers did not comment.
Jay-Z has long been critical of the NFL's handling of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the National Anthem in the 2016 season to protest racial injustice and police treatment of African-Americans. In a January 2018 interview with CNN, Jay-Z called Kaepernick an "iconic figure."
"Look how many people play football," Jay-Z told CNN's Van Jones. "They're not all going to be him. Like, he just put his name next to Muhammad Ali. Would you rather be playing football getting your head dinged in, or would you rather be an iconic figure for the rest of your life? We confuse the idea of having a job with fulfilling your purpose."
Meek Mill, who has also supported Kaepernick, took to Twitter to say Scott did not need to perform at the Super Bowl. "He don’t need that he on fire already! Stay strong in this s–," Meek tweeted Thursday morning.
Scott features in a song that mentions Kaepernick. He performed on Quavo's "Huncho Jack," which includes the line, "Take a knee like the ‘Niners (Kaepernick) /Join the team, don’t divide us (join them)."
TMZ was the first to report Scott's hiring for the gig, adding that Maroon 5 is also trying to get Cardi B and Outkast's Big Boi to join them. Cardi is featured on Maroon 5's single "Girls Like You" and is hoping to perform one of her own hits during the halftime show if she gets the gig, reports Variety. Usher, Lauryn Hill and Nicki Minaj are also in talks.
Notably, the NFL has not officially announced Maroon 5 as the halftime show performer, likely because the league has yet to book a second performer. Mary J. Blige and Rihanna both reportedly declined to perform. There is also a petition calling for Maroon 5 to pull out of the Super Bowl, with thousands already signing on.
However, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine skated around whether the group would be performing during the event in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres.
"It’s the Super Bowl," Levine told DeGeneres. "It’s going to be a great event and there’s going to be a band...or an artist of some kind performing at halftime. And it’s going to be great regardless of whoever it is. Whoever is lucky enough to get that gig, probably is going to crush it."
Super Bowl LIII airs on CBS Sunday, Feb. 3 live from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
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