Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar all took to the stage at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California for the Super Bowl 2022 halftime show, celebrating some of the greatest living artists in hip-hop and R&B.
The Super Bowl half-time show remains the biggest gig in the world, and is as popular as the game itself (the Los Angeles Rams won Super Bowl 56 after a rollercoaster game with the Cincinnati Bengals).
The halftime show boasts an unparalleled live TV audience – last year the show racked up 96.4 million total viewers, with just under 92 million watching on CBS’ linear TV broadcast. The viewing results for 2022 have yet to be released.
"The opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime show, and to do it in my own backyard, will be one of the biggest thrills of my career," Dre said in a statement.
Sunday's halftime show was the third year of collaboration between the NFL and Roc Nation, the entertainment company founded by Jay-Z, and was the perfect platform to showcase the best in old school ‘90s hip hop and R&B, as well as being the first time hip-hop artists were the main performers for the prestigious halftime show.
In addition to the much-hyped hip hop line up sharing the top billing, the ensemble performance featured a surprise guest appearance by 50 Cent (representing the rival East Coast rap scene), who appeared upside down – recreating his music video for his 2003 hit, In Da Club – all brought together by Anderson.Paak’s live band.
Dre manned an enormous white mixing desk atop a mock-up of a neighbourhood in his native Compton, the L.A neighbourhood that gave the world some of rap’s greatest talents.
Dre, Snoop Dogg and Lamar are all Southern California natives, so it was a no-brainer for Snoop and Dre to kick off the show with The Next Episode, followed by the iconic, California Love – the latter which saw Dre rapping his own verse from 2Pac's most famous song. No 2Pac hologram joined them for the performance, despite rumours indicating that this would be the case.
Following 50 Cent’s performance, Mary J Blige stood atop the set to belt out her hits, Family Affair and No More Drama.
Next up was Compton-raised Kendrick Lamar, performing amid a formation of dancers inside cardboard boxes to perform Maad City and Alright – the latter that was heard at Black Lives Matter protests across the country.
The choice of song was made even more poignant, as famously after Colin Kaepernick took the knee in protest against police brutality and racism in 2016, the NFL came under widespread criticism for failing to back players who made the important gesture.
Eminem also protested racism and police brutality by taking the knee after his performance of Lose Yourself.
Dre finished with a small tribute to 2Pac, playing the piano riff from I Ain’t Mad At Cha, before the three generations of artists that Dre mentored, collaborated with and produced came together to watch him perform Still Dre, a song that nods to his unrivalled dominance over west coast hip hop.
Full set list:
1.The Next Episode - Dr Dre & Snoop Dogg
2. California Love - Dr Dre
3. In Da Club - 50 Cent
4. Family Affair - Mary J Blige
5. No More Drama - Mary J Blige
6. M.A.A.D City - Kendrick Lamar
7. Alright - Kendrick Lamar
8. Forgot About Dre - Eminem
7. Lose Yourself - Eminem
8. Still D.R.E. - Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg