Jay-Z dedicates song to Colin Kaepernick at NYC concert


Jay-Z dedicates song to Colin Kaepernick at NYC concert

NEW YORK — Jay-Z performed his first headlining concert in three years in his hometown of New York City on Friday, a show that featured his popular hits and a dedication to outspoken NFL player Colin Kaepernick.

The Brooklyn rapper kicked off the first of three days of the Meadows Music and Arts Festival at Citi Field in Queens, performing a 90-minute set that included his well-known songs as well as political moments.

“I want to dedicate this song to Colin Kaepernick tonight,” Jay-Z said of “The Story of O.J.,” a song about blackness and managing money that also references O.J. Simpson.

“I want to dedicate this to Dick Gregory. I want to dedicate this song to anyone that was held back and you overcame,” he added about the song from his personal and revealing album, “4:44.”

Kaepernick became a polarizing figure among NFL fans for his decision to sit, and then kneel, during the national anthem last season to protest police brutality. Gregory, who died last month, was a comedian and activist who broke racial barriers in the 1960s and used his humor to spread messages of social justice and nutritional health.

Jay-Z’s performance, though full of energy and excitement, had some other serious tones.

When the beat for the Kanye West-produced 2003 song “Lucifer” came on — which samples Max Romeo’s “Chase the Devil” and includes the lyrics “Lucifer son of the morning, I’m gonna chase you out of Earth” — Jay-Z told the mostly young audience: “I promise we won’t take people out of this country.”

Jay-Z also said to the crowd, several times, that “love always trumps hate.”

At the show, the 47-year-old icon wore a white T-shirt featuring the artwork of the 1965 Beatles film and album, “Help!” Jay-Z said he wanted to transform the show into rock ‘n’ roll territory when he played his collaborations with Linkin Park, even paying tribute to the band’s lead singer Chester Bennington, who hanged himself in July.

“If you know this song, I want you to sing it so loud he can hear you in heaven,” Jay-Z said before performing the Grammy-winning mashup “Numb/Encore,” standing still and holding the microphone close with both of his hands.

Jay-Z’s set also included big hits from his 21-year-old career, from “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” to “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” to “Empire State of Mind.” His last main show in New York was part of his 2014 On the Run Tour with Beyonce, though he’s had some performances for his Tidal streaming service and surprise appearances.

Reggae artist Damian Marley joined in for “Bam” from “4:44,” which was released in June and features songs about Jay-Z’s personal life and work as an entrepreneur.

The Meadows festival, in its second year, will also play Saturday and Sunday, featuring performers like Gorillaz, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nas, Weezer, Future and LL Cool J across four stages. Migos, Run the Jewels, Two Door Cinema Club and 21 Savage also performed Friday.

Throughout his set, Jay-Z offered concertgoers encouraging words.

“If anybody got a dream, you chase that (dream) with everything you got,” he said at one point.

When one fan was eager for Jay-Z to sign something, the rapper asked if the fan had a pen.

The fan did not.

“How am I going to sign your (stuff) without a pen?” Jay-Z asked.

“Got to be prepared,” he told the fan.

Ex-49er Daniel Kilgore describes 'crazy,' 'frustrating,' 'heart-breaking' week


Ex-49er Daniel Kilgore describes 'crazy,' 'frustrating,' 'heart-breaking' week

Daniel Kilgore’s mind was at ease on Feb. 14 after signing a three-year contract extension to remain with the 49ers – the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2011 draft.

But all that changed on the first day of the open negotiating period when he learned the 49ers reached an agreement with New York Giants free-agent Weston Richburg on a five-year contract. The same firm, Rep1, represents Kilgore and Richburg.

“Originally, I knew Weston was on the Niners’ board for left guard,” Kilgore said on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “When I knew that he was going to sign with the 49ers, I was thinking, ‘Hey, we just got a new left guard.’ I hate it for Laken (Tomlinson).

“But, then, you kind of find out he was coming for center. That’s when I was thrown for a loop.”

Kilgore described the days that followed as “crazy,” “frustrating” and “heart-breaking.”

One day after the 49ers officially signed Richburg to a five-year, $47.5 million contract, Kilgore was traded to the Miami Dolphins. The 49ers got little in return for delivering Kilgore to what appears to be a good situation. The team’s swapped draft spots in the seventh round, with the 49ers now choosing at No. 223 overall, while the Dolphins pick at No. 227.

Kilgore lands in a situation to be a starter. He also received, in essence, a 13.3-percent raise for leaving California to go to Florida, where there is no state income tax. The 49ers structured Kilgore's contract so the first payout of a $2.3 million roster bonus was scheduled for after the start of the new league year – after the trade. The Dolphins pick up the entirety of the three-year, $11.75 million contract the 49ers negotiated with Kilgore.

Kilgore said he was never asked to compete for a job at guard with the 49ers. He said he did not request a trade, either. He was told, in essence, he was no longer in the 49ers’ plans.

General manager John Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area last week both Richburg and Kilgore are best at center. To ask either to submit to a change of position would set up one of them for failure.

Looking back, Kilgore said he wonders if he should have turned down the 49ers’ offer and gone into free agency. But that approach had its risks, too. All he wanted, he said, was to be compensated fairly and remain with the 49ers.

“I was really thrown for a shock,” said Kilgore, who won the Bobb McKittrick Award last season for his displays of courage, intensity and sacrifice. “You just wonder, ‘What If I did go free agency?’ (But) that wasn’t me. I knew where that team was going. I’m familiar with the area, familiar with the coaching staff, my best friends are on the team. So I knew this is where I wanted to be. I didn’t see myself going anywhere else.”

Now, he will be moving to South Florida, where he will attempt to establish what he felt he had with the 49ers.

“You want to be there and be a part of something on the rise," Kilgore said. "That was the frustrating thing, that you’re no longer going to be there. It’s frustrating and heart-breaking, but you move on. I’m going to South Florida, and that makes things a heck of a lot better.”

Kilgore said he had some hard conversations with Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan last week. Ultimately, he said he respects both men for the way they handled an awkward situation. Lynch said last week when the 49ers signed Kilgore to an extension, the club believed there was a likelihood Richburg would not still be available a month later as a free agent. Richburg was the only center the 49ers would have sought to replace Kilgore, Lynch said.

“I hope the fans out there know the truth about everything and know that Kyle and John did it in the best interest of me and the best interest for the team moving forward,” Kilgore said. “There’s no bad grudges or anything like that. We’re all still friends at the end of the day.”

Report: 49ers scheduled to meet with free-agent defensive back


Report: 49ers scheduled to meet with free-agent defensive back

Versatile free-agent defensive back Jaylen Watkins is reportedly scheduled to visit the 49ers on Wednesday.

Watkins’ meeting with the 49ers coincides with veteran cornerback Richard Sherman’s appearance at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara for a noon press conference. Sherman signed a three-year contract with the 49ers on March 10 – one day after the Seattle Seahawks released him.

The 49ers are in the market for backups in the defensive backfield. Watkins (5-foot-11, 195 pounds) started five games in five games in four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles while appearing in 36 games.

Watkins, 26, played three snaps on defense and 17 plays on special teams in the Eagles’ 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4. He entered the NFL in 2014 as a fourth-round draft pick from Florida.

The NFL Network reported Watkins’ meeting with the 49ers is the first of multiple visits he has scheduled.