Ever since the University of Arizona Symphonic Marching Band stepped onto the turf during halftime of the first-ever Super Bowl, artists have dreamed of showcasing their talents during what is now one of the most-watched events in the world. Iconic figures such as Gloria Estefan, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, and Beyonce have all played during a Super Bowl halftime, but the 2022 edition was something special because it was the first halftime show that was entirely hip hop.
The SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, was the venue for what was one of the greatest Super Bowl shows ever. With the punters around the world betting online with mybookie with the Los Angeles Rams leading the Cincinnati Bengals 13-10, some of the most historical hip hop stars gathered on the field.
More Than 103 Million Viewers Tuned In
Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lemar, Mary J. Blige, and special guests 50 Cent and Anderson .Paak. wowed the 70,048 capacity crowd in addition to some 103.4 million television viewers globally. The epic show created bags of nostalgia for Generation X and Millennial audiences and possibly introduced some hip hop legends to the genre’s newcomers.
Everything kicked off with a rendition of The Next Episode from Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg before the pair performed the iconic 2Pac track, California Love. Hip Hop fans across the world tingled with excitement as Dre and Snoop threw at each other from opposite ends of the stage, which was laid out as a map of California.
50 Cent’s anthem “In da Club” got the crowd on its feet before Mary J. Blige belted out two of her classics. First, Blige treated everyone to the 2001 Hot 100 number one “Family Affair” before a passionate rendition of No More Dramaleft the icon laid out on stage, exhausted!
The only non-legacy act, Kendrick Lamar, took center stage with “M.A.A.D City” and his social anthem “Alright.”Lamar spat and danced with a crew of blonde buzzcut dancers; a doff of the cap to Eminem’s famous look back in his Real Slim Shady days.
Eminem Steals The Show
Viewers were now rocking as the Eminem became the center of attention with “Forgot About Dre” and “Lose Yourself.” Both tracks won a Grammy Award in the Best Rap category in 2001 and 2004.
The press made a big deal of Eminem taking the knee during his outstanding performance, a tribute to the movement started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Rumors circulated that the NFL officials had banned any such protest, but it later came to light they signed off Eminem’s gesture.
An instrumental version of “I Ain’t Mad at Cha,” a tribute to Tupac Shakur, was the perfect warm-up for the final track, “Still D.R.E.,” performed by all the artists plus Anderson .Paak. on drums. The NFL asked Dr. Dre to omit the line “Still not loving police” during the track, but Dre sang it anyway; like anyone tells Dre what to do!
In addition to the halftime show featuring some of hip-hop’s most storied performers, two other rappers took to the stage in a Super Bowl first. Sean Forbes and Warren “WaWa” Snipes, two deaf rappers, appeared among the legendary figures and provided sign language interpretation of the tracks.
Both rappers are accomplished in their own right. Forbes’ 2020 album “Little Victories” reached number one on the iTunes and Amazon hip hop album charts. WaWa has rapped since 2005 and is seen as a trailblazer for the National Association of the Deaf. This was not WaWa’s first time at the Super Bowl because he performed the national anthem in American Sign Language at last year’s event.