Rapping up the Super Bowl halftime show


photo by Creative Commons

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg were two headliners at the Super Bowl LVI halftime show. The two performed together at Coachella in 2012.

Following a long line of halftime shows led by pop singers, a true rap and hip-hop show was long overdue. With a combination of newer and older artists, the 2022 halftime show was a dazzling performance that surpassed  previous years.

The Super Bowl LVI halftime show was a great break from traditional halftime shows. The performance showcased Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Eminem and 50 Cent, all Grammy and MTV award winners for rap and hip-hop.

Although a lineup of six different singers presents a challenge, they all blended well, and the transitions were smooth when different performers started singing. 

The artists performed some of their top songs like “In Da Club” by 50 Cent, “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar, and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. All performers sang two of their popular songs, with the exception of 50 Cent and Eminem who sang one. Despite the songs being cut short for time, all were still catchy and could be distinguished as soon as the music started. 

Another big moment of this year’s super bowl was when 50 Cent not only made a surprise appearance, but also started his performance upside down. Along with that, Dr. Dre played a piano riff from Tupac’s “I Ain’t Mad At Cha,” which was a great addition to the show.

While most of the halftime show was a step forward from the past, the set seemed like a step back. In past years, the field would feature giant stages and crazy design additions like the hall of mirrors in The Weeknd’s 2021 halftime performance. However, this year was subtle and less extravagant with a giant rug rolled up, five box shaped rooms and a couple cars. 

Even though the set was too minimal, the simplicity of other aspects of the show, such as the outfits and choreography, was good. With the exception of Blige, most of the singers and background performers wore simple colors and clothing creating less distractions from the music. This allowed viewers to enjoy the music and take in the performance as a whole instead of being distracted by other aspects.

Despite rap and hip-hop’s stereotypes of suggestive language and topics, this year’s show did not have much controversy – although there were still moments like 50 Cent’s background dancers dancing – for the most part, the show was appropriate. There were more family-friendly outfits and the dancing was not as provocative compared to past performances like the pole dancing of  Jenifer Lopez and Shakira.

The most controversial moment, however, might have been when Eminem took a knee at the end of his performance, which many believe was a protest similar to Colin kaepernick’s kneeling to protest racial discrimination and police brutality. 

And in Lamar’s song “Alright,” the word “po-po,” talking about the police, seemed to be cut from one of the lines, leaving many to believe the NFL wanted to censor anything controversial. But these moments seemed insignificant, and did not keep viewers from enjoying the entertainment. Nonetheless, both moments were still unforgettable and symbolic despite the debatable purposes.

Despite having a simple set, the 2022 Super Bowl halftime show was one of the best performances yet. With a first-time showcasing of rap and many notable moments, the show was one that will not be forgotten and hopefully will change the path for future shows.