Super Bowl Halftime show stands out from the rest

Hip-hop OGs show young artists how it’s done


Tribune News Service

Eminem takes a knee during halftime show performance as Black ally and in continued support of Colin Kaepernick.

Ali Smith, Arts & Leisure Editor

Last year, I smeared The Weeknd for his chaotic Super Bowl halftime performance. This year, though, for the 56th annual Super Bowl Halftime Show, the OG hip-hop artists showed the young artists of this generation how entertainment is done, redeeming the show from last year’s flop tenfold.  

Monday morning on 93.9-FM The Wolf, a local country radio station, the hosts of “The Bobby Bones Show” called this halftime show one of the greatest of all time due to its universal appeal, and I couldn’t agree more.  

The hosts said that for all ages, this show was nostalgic.  

While I wasn’t even born yet for the prime of most of these halftime show artists, the show’s lineup was also very nostalgic for me, as I grew up listening to Eminem CDs with my mom in the car on my way to school and heard my dad contrast the talent of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre to the “mumble rap” that hip-hop artists of this generation are famous for, as he puts it.  

Joining Dr. Dre, Eminem and Snoop Dogg were “Candy Shop” rapper 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige and the youngest, Kendrick Lamar. 

As soon as Dr. Dre dropped the beats for Snoop Dogg’s famous song “The Next Episode,” I began bouncing in my seat as if I were at a 2000s house party, which was the concept for the set of the halftime show.  

That was the perfect song to open up with, because most everyone — old and young — knows the beginning riff of that beat. 

Speaking of Snoop Dogg, imagine being so rich, famous and chill that you perform the Super Bowl Halftime Show in a sweat set. That has stuck with me. 

The rapping from the performers was top tier, and I was impressed to say the least to see a group of 50-year-olds busting out rhymes like they were still at the peak of their careers.  

Lamar ruined this aesthetic, though, with his ear-piercing performance. I see the coordinator’s intention behind including a young rapper in the nostalgic lineup, but it could have done without. This just goes to prove that entertainers of the ‘90s and early 2000s were truly performers, and today’s artists are more focused on creating radio hits, car-blasting music and party beats. 

I also enjoyed the street dancing aspect of the show, which paid tribute to the specific kind of culture surrounding the hip-hop genre.  

Then comes 50 Cent with his grand appearance, hanging upside down just like he did in his original music video to “In Da Club,” which is another song from my childhood I find myself weaving into my daily musical outbursts. 

This is no easy task for someone his age, and it was impressive even 13 years ago. 

The women dancing around him, fitting the house party vibe check, were also so incredibly talented in such a nonchalant way. 

The 51-year-old Blige came out dazzling as well, giving young viewers Megan Thee Stallion vibes with her long hair, sparkly bodysuit and high leg boots.  

Although her vocals weren’t the best, her dramatic nature and drive to perform made up for it. 

During every performance, there was a crossover of all of the rooms of the house and of the dancers from previous songs, which gave the genre and culture surrounding the music a universal vibe.  

I also enjoyed the details of the set, including the cityscape flooring, paying homage to the kinds of settings where most of the performers grew up, such as Detroit native Eminem. 

Eminem opened his performance with his classic, “Lose Yourself,” which threw fans back to where he began, reminding them of the tremendous transformation he has made as a person, all while remaining an incredible artist.  

In a predominantly Black lineup, Eminem was an important addition due to his contribution to the rap genre and his allyship to the Black community.  

50 Cent and Blige showed their support of his music by bouncing to his beat on the house party couch, which was representative of me at home. 

Ending the performance with Dr. Dre on the piano and a final collaboration with Snoop Dogg was the perfect way to bring the show full circle, and it also showed that although the hip-hop genre is popularized for electronic beats, these “OG” artists are truly masterly musicians. 

I also enjoyed that Blige was able to feel equal to the men of her genre and vibe to the music like one of the boys.  

This performance was so simple yet so intricate, which is telling of what the greats of the genre were trying to prove: sometimes you just have to do what you came to do and perform.  

This was truly a great celebration of hip-hop culture and each artist who has built the genre to what it is today, laying the foundation for young rappers like Lamar.  


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