It’s game time. With football season officially underway tonight, New Orleans vs. Minnesota in prime time, XXL tore eight pages from various NFL playbooks to breakdown the strategies of your favorite rappers. Red, double X… White, letter L… Hut… Hut… Write!

Play: 23 Option
Formation: Wildcat
Goal: A creative run or pass option for a running back.

This play, developed in the college ranks, has become a lethal weapon for NFL offensive coordinators and a nightmare for defenses to defend. Similar to how Kanye West has become a monster to contain for opposing rappers. With the running back lined up in shotgun behind the center, the QB is either out of the game or lined up as receiver. Given the creative options here to run or pass, there’s no telling what a maverick like Mr. West is likely to do in the Wildcat. However, it’s likely that ’Ye will try to keep the ball for himself.

Here’s what that play looks like on tape:

Play: Havoc
Formation: Spread Offense
Goal: Get the ball to the star wide receiver (Drake) who’s a big play (big hit) threat on every possession.

Ideal for a talent-laden squad like Young Money, Havoc calls for the team to set up in a spread offense designed for a flashy aerial attack. It’s the right play call if you’re trying to pick up big chunks of yardage, or cash money. Three wide receivers line up on the left side, with one WR isolated on the right. As good as the rest of the YM roster may be, Drizzy has pretty much been singled out as the one. The objective of the lone pass catcher on the right is to beat his defender on a slant and get behind the safety. If the WR does that, the QB should hit him in stride for a score. This has long been a bread and butter play for Drake and Wayne, who have connected on quite a few big plays since 2009.

Here’s what it looks like on tape:

Play: Jailbreak Option
Formation: Spread Offense
Goal: Give your quarterback the option to run or pass for the score.

Designed for a duel threat quarterback (versatile rapper) who can run (rampant on tracks) or pass (off to one of his worthy cohorts) the Jailbreak option puts pressure on the defense to bring down the running QB or stop the pass to an open receiver. In YM’s familiar four wide receiver set (Drake, Nicki Minaj, Tyga, Gudda Gudda) the defense has to pick its poison. With Wayne’s current situation, we think he’ll probably elect to run out of this one.

Here’s what the play looks like on tape:

Play: TE Attack
Formation: Gun Tight End Spread
Goal: Get the ball to the tight end.

A favorite of the Dallas Cowboys, this play is designed to get the ball to the tight end, in this case Nicki is obviously the best Young Money player suited for that position. With the quarterback in the shotgun, he has the option to hand off to his running back, pass to one of his three wide receivers, or hit the tight end going up the middle on a skinny post. It’s a good option to help tight ends pad their RAC (run after the catch) yards—and Nicki has a nice rack, too. The play has worked so well for the Lone Star State heavyweights; can’t see why it won’t be productive for rap’s supreme five star chick.

Here’s what the play looks like on tape:

Play: 46 Maniac
Formation: 46 Defense
Goal: Defense brings the heat to the offense.
The defensive strategy made popular by former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan is designed to bring pressure to the opposing offense. Lately Beanie Sigel has been doing all he can to ruffle the feathers of New York giant, Jay-Z. Aimed at confusing the offense, the 46 D uses the unorthodox approach of overloading players on the left side of the offense making it hard for the offensive line to pick up their blocking assignments. That might be equivalent to the Broad Street Bully bombarding the market with scathing diss records towards his former boss. Most times the pressure of the 46 gets to the QB like this…

Play: Delta
Formation: Singleback-Big
Goal: Protect the quarterback long enough for him to toss a long pass to a deep receiver.

If anyone is going to be cool under pressure it’s Jay-Z. Borrowing a page from the dynasty that is the New England Patriots, Hov is fully protected in this formation with two tight ends in for blocking. Because Bean’s 46 defense is aggressive against the run, Jay has the option of running a play-action pass out of this format that is favorable to the run, then tossing a long pass to an open receiver. Sort of like this…

Play: Swamp Bite
Formation: 3-4 Defense
Goal: Cause mayhem with your speed on the defense. Force the offense into turnovers.

The intention of the Swamp Bite in the 3-4 defense is to utilize four speedy linebackers with blitzing. In the past 50 Cent’s G-Unit click could easily feature four rhyme slingers who could bring the hard knocks to opposing rappers. These days they are a little short on personnel after some cuts, so they rely on the element of surprise more. So, much like the New York Jets’ defense, which features fierce blitzing from the linebackers, this play requires that they have full trust that their cornerback can defend a wide receiver on an island by himself. We’ve already seen what 50 is capable of when dealing with a rapper on an island (aka Belize). He’ll intercept a conference call just the same as Derrelle Revis intercepts a pass. And certainly no one saw his recent Twitter rants coming.

Here’s what that play looks like on tape:

Play: Fake FG/Punt
Formation: Punt
Goal: Fool everyone

Sometimes when straight up X’s and O’s fail, you have to resort to some trickery to beat the opponent. Faced with a fourth and long odds that he’d come back from his correction officer controversy, Rick Ross fooled everyone that thought he’d punt his career away after the drama. The Bawse drew up a wily fake punt scheme and tossed a touchdown. Now he’s winning by margins bigger than Fran Tarkenton.

Here’s what that play would look like on tape:

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