NFL execs tried to 'disgustingly censor' rap legend Dr. Dre ahead of his star-studded Super Bowl LVI Half Time Show Sunday night, despite the singer shelling out $7million of the show's $13million budget himself, a source close to the rapper has revealed.
According to the insider, in the weeks leading up to the big game, the former NWA star had been pressured by league officials about lyrics and content of songs that he planned to perform onstage.
Specifically, officials took issue with the lyrics from the rapper's 1999 hit 'Still D.R.E.' - 'Still f***ing with the beats, still not loving police' - lyrics the star defiantly uttered during Sunday's show anyway to the chagrin of NFL brass.
The league also ordered the star not to kneel, a gesture that has become a popular method of protest against racism and police brutality, during the performance - an order that the performer did reluctantly adhere to, according to the source.
NFL execs tried to 'disgustingly censor' rap legend Dr. Dre ahead of his star-studded Super Bowl LVI Half Time Show Sunday night, even though the star shelled out $7million of the show's $13million budget himself, a source close to the rapper has revealed
During the production, the rapper's fellow performer and former mentee Eminem defiantly made the gesture (pictured), which has become a popular symbol of protest against racism and the issue of police brutality in the US, despite orders from NFL brass to not do so
However, during the halftime spectacular, which was widely hailed as the game's best in recent history on social media - the rapper's fellow performer and former mentee Eminem defiantly made the gesture after performing his hit song Lose Yourself.
The revelation concerning the NFL's attempt at censorship comes as the league continues to face criticism over its hiring practices regarding black coaches and the lingering fallout from Colin Kaepernick taking a knee to protest racial injustice.
The halftime show has often been scrutinized nearly as much as the game itself, with this year's hip-hop themed performance - led by Los Angeles-born Dre, as well as Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, and Eminem - proving no different.
Eminem, 49; Kendrick Lamar, 34; Dr Dre, 56; Mary J. Blige, 51; 50 Cent, 46; and 50-year-old Snoop Dogg took part in the performance, which was widely hailed as the game's best in recent history
Dre dished out more than half of the $13 million budget required for this year's performance, shelling out $7million despite having no new songs to promote.
Last year's halftime act featured The Weeknd, who similarly poured $7 million into his act - though the move wasn't rife with controversy and was meant to promote a newly released album.
This year's heavy-hitting hip-hop lineup marked a first for the NFL as the show has been historically headlined by pop stars.
The move by the NFL to change the tone of this year's halftime show is being viewed by some as a smokescreen to detract from its recent race-related controversies.
According to a report from Puck's Eriq Gardner, the NFL had been going back and forth with Dre and his camp concerning some facets of the performance.
One large part of the NFL's ire was a lyric from Dre's 1999 hit 'Still D.R.E.' - 'Still f***ing with the beats, still not loving police.'
Allegedly, league officials wanted the hip-hop mogul to nix the line completely. Dre refused, reciting the lyric during his performance although minus the expletive.
To add insult to injury, Dre's longtime friend and fellow superstar, Eminem, opted to take a knee during the performance after the league had also requested the performers not do so during the show.
Eminem takes a knee to protest police brutality at the Super Bowl half time show, while his long-time collaborator Dr. Dre is on the piano. Dre did not kneel during the performance
Dre and the other stars did not join in on the gesture, nor did any players from the Rams or Bengals kneel during the National Anthem at the start of the game. There was no sign of any other kneeling from the audience either.
The show itself was extremely well-received on social media, with many hailing it as the best ever. Its popularity was credited to the slew of popular hits performed by the entertainers, including Dre's Still D.R.E., Blige's Family Affair and Eminem's Lose Yourself.
All six performers also have a combined wealth of $983 million, with Dre's net worth comprising more than half of the total sum, at $500 million.
The NFL has struggled in recent years to juggle the many social issues that have come to the forefront for players and fans alike.
Eminem's on stage act was a painful reminder of the league's mismanaged attempt to put a stop to Kaepernick's keeling protest against police brutality and racial inequality in the U.S.
More recently, the league has faced backlash and a lawsuit over its lack of black head coaches. There are currently just two active head coaches in the NFL who are black.
Former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the NFL and several teams over his experiences in his search for a head coaching position in recent years.
The lawsuit alleges that teams, under the league's 'Rooney Rule', brought Flores in for interviews whilst never actually intending to hire the ex-New England Patriot linebackers coach.
Per the NFL's website the goal of the 'Rooney Rule' is 'to increase the number of minorities hired in head coach, general manager, and executive positions.
This diversity enriches the game and creates a more effective, quality organization from top to bottom,' the guidance states.
Last year's halftime act featured The Weeknd, who similarly poured $7 million dollars into his act - though the move wasn't rife with controversy and was meant to promote a newly released album