There may have been some big boys fighting in Super Bowl 2022, but it was a night of hip-hop heavyweights at the Super Bowl LVI halftime show on Sunday.
Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and, unnecessarily, 50 Cent shook the stage at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., halfway through the big game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. And of course, they were joined by the queen of hip-hop soul herself, Mary J. Blige.
But if there was a headliner among this packed lineup, it was Dr. Dre. The 56-year-old producer, rapper and mogul presided over the festivities like the hip-hop boss he is. Not only has he proudly represented California from day one — helping put West Coast rap on the map — but his work with every other artist on the bill has propelled them to some of their greatest heights.
When he opened the halftime show doing “The Next Episode” with Snoop, it felt like a family reunion as the two Cali boys came together to rock that “2001” jam in front of the hometown crowd. Dre and Snoop were undoubtedly at the heart of this halftime show – no more so than when they made the No. 1 hit “California Love,” with Snoop replacing the late Tupac Shakur because you could feel the whole thing. love for the Sunshine State beaming throughout SoFi Stadium.
Dre and Snoop would join forces again on “Still DRE” later in the show, but at this point there was no need to remind anyone why these ’90s hip-hop titans were still around.
With so many artists on the program, it was hard for anyone to stand out. But Lamar — another California native — did just that. I expected him to do his 2017 hit “Humble,” but I was pleasantly surprised that K-Dot did his socially charged single “Alright” instead.
Backed by dancers dressed in militaristic black suits, he formed his own kind of rhythmic nation as he made a powerful statement for Black History Month amid all the club bangers into the night. And given that he was by far the most contemporary star, it was only fitting that he would represent the state of Californian hip-hop today.
Of course, it was always going to be easy for Blige to stand out among all that hip-hop testosterone, and that’s exactly what she did when she performed her Dre-produced “Family Affair” smash in a silver outfit. shimmering with matching thighs. tall boots. It was a little out of place for the vibe of the night when she followed up with her dramatic ballad “No More Drama,” but her powerful performance almost made you forget that.
Admittedly, things picked up when Eminem, dressed in a black hoodie, made his Oscar-winning No. 1 hit “Lose Yourself.” It was pretty much the perfect song for the big game – and he delivered it like he was going for the game-winning touchdown.
With five performers already, the set probably didn’t need surprise guest 50 Cent to do his hit “In Da Club” produced by Dre. Certainly, it would have been better to hear more of, say, Lamar. But if the party was meant to celebrate Dre, it didn’t hurt to have 50 people at the party.