Finally, hip-hop was front-and-center at the halftime show of the 2022 Super Bowl game between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. It was a star-studded event with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and 50 Cent taking to the stage for an exhilarating and long overdue show.
The impact of the Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is the ultimate sporting event in the U.S. and the culmination of the whole season. A love of the game of football is ingrained in American culture. It has even had an effect on the U.S. casino industry, with many people placing bets on the results of football games all through the season. At casinos like Parx, online gambling is very popular and its convenience and accessibility makes this a favorite activity for sports fans.
Even non-football fans watch the Super Bowl because the halftime show is usually a must-see and this year’s show was no exception.
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg show off their genius
The white set paid homage to Compton, Dr. Dre’s stomping grounds, and he kicked off the show sitting behind a faux white mixing desk. He was joined by Snoop Dogg for a crowd-pleasing rendition of “The Next Episode” and “California Love”. The two West Coast legends showed off their genius in the first cut before transitioning into the late 2Pac’s, Dre-produced cut that mentions both Inglewood and Compton.
Next, 50 Cent made his entrance upside down in a nod to the music video for his 2003 single “In da House”. His performance was a little tepid, but it was still fun.
Mary J. Blige dazzled
Mary J. Blige, the queen of hip-hop soul, took the stage in a silver-and-white leopard-print getup and killer boots. She gave a high energy performance of Dre-produced classics “Family Affair” and “No More Drama”. She even collapsed to the ground at the end of her performance which reminded everyone what survival, strength and hard-won independence sound like. Entertainment news reminds us it was 20 years ago that she took her first bow at the halftime show alongside Aerosmith.
We need to hear more of Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar, another West Coast legend, performed “m.A.A.d City” and “Alright” while standing on a map of Compton. A militia of Black dancers came out of cardboard boxes wearing blond hair, beards, and “Dre Day” sashes and surrounded him.
The explicitly political “Alright” is virtually synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement and was a bold choice considering the NFL’s ongoing controversies over racism. In 2017, Jay-Z declined to participate in the Super Bowl, and he encouraged other artists to follow suit. Many of them continued to join him, and eventually, the NFL had to acknowledge it had a mess to sort out.
Eminem takes the knee
Eminem rapped “Forgot About Dre” before launching into a fierce version of “Lose Yourself” with Anderson Paak on the drums. In a dramatic moment, he took the knee at the end of the song in unmistakable solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and the Black Lives Matter movement. There were some rumors before the show that he was going to take the knee and afterward, an NFL spokesman reportedly said they knew he would do this.
Viewership of the Super Bowl dropped to a low last year but Superbowl ratings 2022 show a rebound. It cracked the 100-million view mark in a strong finish to a season full of thrilling finishes and late-game drama.
A celebratory show
All six performers teamed up for the closing version of “Still Dre”. Given recent history, the first-ever hip-hop halftime show ended in a celebratory manner. The show demonstrated the longevity and range of Dre’s influence as a producer and rapper. In acknowledging his importance and recognizing hip-hop, the NFL finally appears to be catching up.