Super Bowl LVI halftime show review

In the Super Bowls first halftime show featuring rappers, the risk did not disappoint. Receiving high praise, this was an extremely memorable show.

In the Super Bowl’s first halftime show featuring rappers, the risk did not disappoint. Receiving high praise, this was an extremely memorable show.

Benjie Thimangu, Radical Reviewer

Many of hip-hop’s most prominent figures took the stage at Superbowl LVI last Sunday. The Los Angeles show, which was one of the most highly anticipated in years, featured a handful of rappers that have made their way onto the Mount Rushmore of music. While some crtics thought the show was full of indecipherable lyrics and poor vocals, they missed the power and ingenuity of having so many legendary performers on one stage.
Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre started off the show with the iconic “The Next Episode,” emerging from an all white stage in the shape of the Compton courthouse and Randy’s Burgers, all on top of a floor made to look like a street map of Compton. The theme of LA continued with a rendition of Tupac’s “California Love.” The rendition was great, and the high energy of the crowd added to the show perfectly.
The set was accompanied by lowriders akin to those featured in the Famous “Still D.R.E” music video, and a multitude of backup dancers. Possibly one of the best moments of the show came when 50 Cent emerged upside down in one of the most odd (and cool) Super Bowl entrances in recent memories, performing “In Da Club” while suspended from the ceiling.
Mary J. Blige, the queen of hip-hop and soul, sang “Family Affair” and “No More Drama,” two of her many songs produced by Dr. Dre. She wore a white disco-ball suit that flashily matched the stage. The change in energy from Snoop and Dre’s West Coast classics, to the 1950’s iconic New York sound, to Mary J.’s sense of soul gave great contrast that complimented each other greatly.
Another drastic change occurred as Kendrick Lamar emerged from the center of the arena sporting a black and gold suit with a multitude of middle-aged, male backup dancers with bleached hair and goatees that gave off a similar feel to his “Humble” music video. He performed “mAAd city,” immediately followed by “Alright,” which was my favorite part of the show. “Alright” was also the only song of the night that addressed racism in any way, an issue that has been prominent in the NFL since quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality in 2016.
Eminem blew the walls off the stage, literally, as he sang “Lose Yourself,” making the crowd go even more wild than they had been. Some controversy was sparked when Eminem knelt following his performance. It’s unknown if this was to a symbol of solidarity with Kaepernick or to commemorate Tupac, but it was very meaningful either way.
When such a large group of icons come together for a concert, it is nearly impossible to get wrong, and they did not disappoint. The concept of the show was a risk for the NFL, as it was the first time all of the main performers were rappers, but overall, the show was received well by many people and celebrities.

I loved the show not only because of the performers but also due to the set. While previous shows have featured strobe lights and lasers or jumps from the top of the stadium like Lady Gaga in 2017, this show was clearly focused on the performers. The simplicity of it focused on the great music and vibe of the crowd and made for a great show. If one thing is certain regarding the show, it is that in future years hip-hop needs to continue to be a headline genre in the Super Bowl.