Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem and special guest 50 Cent just wrapped the Super Bowl LVI Pepsi Halftime Show, one that may be remembered more for its cool set design than the actual performance of the song set.
The supergroup had several different spaces to play with. The setup, a train car-like collection of all-white dwellings, was parked atop a bird’s-eye view of the Los Angeles streets. And yes, there were low-riders parked at midfield — but those weren’t the only set pieces with sweet hydraulics.
Snoop and Dre opened the high-profile gig with “The Next Episode” and then went into “California Love.” After their mini-reunion, 50 Cent popped up — or down, really, as he was rapping while hanging upside down — and performed “In Da Club.” Blige then sang two songs from the rooftop, before Lamar did his thing on field level. The local rapper got big applause from his hometown crowd.
Eminem, the good doctor’s protege out of Detroit, was the final reveal, performing “Lose Yourself” from Hollywood hit “8 Mile.” Slim Shady took a knee at the end of his solo segment, likely in support to Colin Kaepernick’s old pre-game protest against racial inequality in America.
Together, the whole gang closed with “Still D.R.E.,” which was appropriate both tonally and physically in SoFi Stadium’s Inglewood, California, setting. Other highlights included a brief Tupac Shakur tribute, and Dr. Dre trading in his giant mixing board to play a little piano, including the instrumental to Pac’s “I Ain’t Mad at Cha.”
So, yeah, the songs were all awesome, but most of the vocals sure sounded prerecorded. And with six stars dividing up just 12 minutes, there was simply only so much time to go around. Plus, let’s be honest, no one on the planet was going to top The Weeknd’s incredible — and incredibly expensive — halftime show last year.
During a news conference in the week leading up to the big game (and its big halftime show), Dre said the decision to have five hip-hop artists take the stage together was a long time coming, and they hope the performance will move the needle forward for the genre.
“We’re gonna open more doors for hip-hop artists in the future, making sure the NFL understands that this is what it should have been a long time ago,” Dre told reporters. “We’re gonna show exactly how professional we can be, how dope we’re gonna be on stage, and how exciting we’re going to be to fans.”
While the super-producer was confident his quintet would “kill this s—,” His protege, Eminem, had some butterflies leading up to the giant event.
“I’m gonna tell you, it’s f—ing nerve-wracking,” Eminem said last week on SiriusXM’s Shade 45. “To me, there’s nothing more final than live TV. You know what I’m saying? So if you f— up, your f— up is there forever.”
Well Em, you didn’t f— up.
Oh yeah, and there was also a pretty big football game going on this evening. As of halftime, the Los Angeles Rams were ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals, 13-10. Super Bowl LVI aired on NBC.