On Sunday night, NFL fans gathered in the stands, the bars, and in their living rooms for the league’s 56th Super Bowl. Athletes were slamming into each other while throwing a football around. There were commercials with random celebrities and some kind of robot dog. Odell Beckham Jr. got hurt near the end of the first half but the Los Angeles Rams still beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20.
So now that this quick and admittedly uninspired game recap is out of the way—we have got to talk about that halftime show.
As many have known for weeks, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, and Mary J. Blige were slated to give us the Super Bowl’s first Hip-Hop-centric halftime show, and as many of you found out Sunday night, 50 Cent made an appearance as a surprise performer for the show. If you’re the ’80s or ’90s baby, you were likely amped for this show. And if you’re an L.A. native, what you likely witnessed was heaven on stage. A lot of gen-z babies probably got a little embarrassed watching their mothers and fathers c-walk across the living room floor as the show gave us ’90s and mid-2000s nostalgia some of us haven’t felt in some time.
Anyway, here are five takeaways from what many of us considered to be Sunday night’s main event.
1. It should have been longer.
Listen: The average Super Bowl halftime show lasts around 12-15 minutes, so it’s not surprising that this year’s show also ended after about 15 minutes—but damn, I wanted more. Dre and Snoop started with “The Next Episode” and segued into “California Love” then gave us a snippet of “Still D.R.E” later on in the show, and that was nice, but it would have been great to see them dig into their early ’90s bag and slap us in the face with “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang,” “Gin and Juice” or “Let Me Ride.” Somebody could have informed Eminem that “Lose Yourself” is not the only hit of his anyone knows and that he’s not required to throw that one out there for every major event he’s invited to perform at. Mary could have reminded us that she was one of those songstresses that owned the mid-’90s R&B scene.
But, alas, there simply wasn’t enough time. What there was time for, however, was a thug-tear-jerking moment where Dre got on the piano and played the tune of 2pac’s “I Ain’t Mad at Cha.” (I’m also glad they didn’t feel the need to resurrect the Pac hologram.)
2. So…I’m starting to strongly suspect Snoop Dogg is a Crip.
I feel like, at some point in the early ’90s, Dr. Dre had to talk Calvin Broadus Jr. out of choosing the rap name “Crip Crippy-Crip.” For the 30 years that Snoop has been a star in the rap game, the 50-year-old has never been shy about showing off his past gang affiliations. Martha Stewart is probably c-walking across her kitchen right now because of the infectiousness of the man who loves blue almost as much as he loves green. (There were reports of him smoking weed right before the show, but that’s news like the sky turning less blue when the weather is bad is news.)
It’s kind of funny how kneeling and the anti-police sentiment is such a hot-button issue with the NFL, but gang-related attire and dance moves seem to easily fly under the controversial radar.
3. Eminem kneeled and no one cares.
OK, I’m sure someone cared that Eminem honored Colin Kaepernick by taking a knee after his performance and during the parts of the show that followed. Some frothing at the mouth “patriot” who already had their star-spangled tighty-righty-whites all in a bunch over all these “thugs” being on the Super Bowl stage in the first place probably popped a blood vessel over Em kneeling.
This guy was probably big mad and somebody who cares about the physical health of racists who love racist artists should probably check on him:
Sure, a lot of media outlets reported on Em’s show of support for the cause, but, for most people, it was, at best, a noble gesture. And despite rumors that the NFL instructed the performers to stay away from anything political including taking the knee, even the league claims it had no issue with it.
4. Kendrick Lamar…that is all.
Kendrick arguably gave us the best performance of the night. His was the only performance that took place outside of the makeshift mansion dollhouse set displayed on the big stage. he started with the intro to “m.A.A.d city” then segued into a censored version of “Alright” that unsurprisingly excluded the “we hate po-po” lyrics.
My only complaint was that if K-Dot was going to bring out the Golden Lords as his backup dancers, he could have at least blessed us with some Meteor Man cosplay.
5. These artists are old, but they’re not dead.
Look, Kendrick was the only featured artist in this year’s halftime show that wasn’t over 50 or pushing 50. Dre and Snoop both looked like the old uncles at the cookout who spend the whole day tending the grill in open-toe sandals and shouting “What you know about that there, youngin’” at everyone under the age of 40 every time Earth, Wind and Fire or Franky Beverly came up on the playlist. 50 Cent was looking more like a buck-75 and it’s entirely possible Eminem stayed down on his knee for so long because he needed help getting up—but they all still damaged to give us a hell of a show. (50 is probably nursing them knees and ankles from hanging upside down right now though.)
And Mary? Don’t even get me started on how the “Real Love” goddess let it be known that her energy and them thighs are timeless.
All and all, it was an imperfect, but still great show.
So what did y’all think?