Halftime Hip-Hop | Kyle Kim
In September of 2021, as many CCA students were getting used to in-person learning and the realities of a masked education, the NFL (National Football League) made a massive announcement that made even non-football fans’ heads turn: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, and Eminem were set to perform the Super Bowl halftime show. A lineup of this magnitude was a nearly unprecedented move, with the last halftime performance even coming close to this being in 2004, when Jessica Simpson, Janet Jackson, P. Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock, and Justin Timberlake all performed together for Super Bowl 38. Thus, with Super Bowl 56 fast approaching, I’d like to provide a quick review of each of the performers, as well as what I anticipate from them in the show.
Although his reputation has arguably taken a slight hit due to the poor business practices and general lack of quality of his Beats headphone brand, it’s undeniable that Dr. Dre is a hip-hop icon. I anticipate that he will perform his most popular and culturally relevant songs, like “Still D.R.E.” and “Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang,” which both feature fellow performer Snoop Dogg as well. These songs will likely be heavily censored, however, due to precedents set by previous performances and NFL codes, which arguably detracts from the enjoyment and general “punch” of the songs.
This inclusion is the most surprising to me, given Snoop’s now inescapable association with marijuana, as well as his arguable lack of commercially and critically successful music in recent years. Regardless, Snoop has transcended his role as a rapper to larger celebrity status, meaning his inclusion should draw more viewership. Also, Dre and Snoop have some great chemistry and a multitude of songs together, making Snoop’s appearance unexpected, but a logical next step after Dre.
Although Kendrick Lamar serves as a clear attempt by the NFL to draw in a younger and more modern audience amidst their generally older lineup, it is a welcomed choice nonetheless. Kendrick hasn’t made many public appearances at all in the past couple of years, and seeing any performance at all from the Compton-native is exciting. And with his new album rumored to drop in early February, this performance could not have come at a better time for Kendrick. I expect great things from him, as his live performances are known to be top tier.
Mary J. Blige:
This is the performer that I am personally the most unfamiliar with, but upon further research, I am now incredibly excited for what is to come. Blige has a variety of impressive awards under her belt, including a nomination to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Her inclusion should also add some much-needed variety in musical style amidst this rap-heavy group.
Marshall Mathers is the final artist on the lineup, and a fitting conclusion to this list. Not only does he have a long-lasting relationship with Dre, but Eminem is really one of the only people who could match the celebrity status, performance ability, and general grandeur of the other giants on the lineup. I expect to see some crowd-stirring performances of smash hits like “Rap God” and “Lose Yourself.”
With that, all we can do now is wait for February 13. The Super Bowl halftime shows of the past couple of years have been great, and I wholeheartedly expect this act to match, if not surpass, the showmanship and energy of the past years.