INGLEWOOD, Calif. – With Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem and Mary J. Blige headlining the Super Bowl LVI halftime show on Sunday, the annual professional football entertainment extravaganza will rap at a faster rate.
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It’s not the first time a rap or hip-hop artist has been part of a Super Bowl halftime show, but it’s the first time they’ve taken center stage, reported the New York Times. Super Bowl halftime shows are typically watched by more than 100 million people, according to Sports Media Watch.
“We’re going to open more doors for hip-hop artists in the future and make sure the NFL understands that this is what it should have been a long time ago,” Dr. Dre said at a conference. press Thursday. “We’re going to make it so big that they can’t deny us in the future.”
Blige, for example, is the only performer on Sunday to have appeared in a Super Bowl halftime show. She was part of the show in 2001 in Tampa, Florida, according to The Sporting News. That year, she appeared as special guest stars with Britney Spears and Nelly. Aerosmith and NSYNC were the headliners that year.
The first Super Bowl halftime show, held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, featured trumpeter Al Hirt, the Grambling State Marching Band and the Anaheim High School Ana-Hi-Steppers Drill Team and Flag Girls. He also played the The University of Arizona Symphony Marching Band, which performed songs including Dixie’s anthem, “Waiting for the Robert E. Lee,” reported the Times.
Now the Super Bowl is moving back to sharper performances. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, now among hip-hop’s most recognizable veterans, were once controversial figures.
“At one point, Dre was part of a group (NWA) banned by popular culture,” Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, who headlined the show in 2011, told The Times.
Four of the Sunday show’s five performers have combined to win 44 Grammy Awards. Only Snoop Dogg hasn’t won a Grammy, despite 16 nominations.
Eminem, who has been nominated 44 times, tops the list with 15 Grammy Awards, with Lamar nominated 39 times and winning 13 awards. Blige has won nine Grammys after 31 nominations, and Dr. Dre has been nominated 26 times and won seven times.
Dr. Dre has been a force on the music scene since the 1990s with the rap group NWA. For this year’s halftime show, Dr. Dre added two deaf rappers, Sean Forbes and Warren “WaWa” Snipe. It was the first time in Super Bowl halftime history that sign language interpreters were included, according to Variety.
Eminem, real name Marshall Mathers, was a rapper, songwriter, producer and actor. He starred in “8 Mile,” a film based on his life that won an Oscar in 2002 for Best Original Song, “Lose Yourself.”
Snoop Dogg has had a great connection to the sport over the years. He commentated on hockey, coached a junior football team, and even ran a junior football league. The 50-year-old entertainer’s favorite team is the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he’s also been seen at the stadiums of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Las Vegas Raiders and New England Patriots. Snoop Dogg has released 18 studio albums in his career, most recently in 2021 with “From tha Streets 2 tha Suites,” according to The Sporting News.
Although he was the youngest entertainer on Sunday’s halftime show, Lamar, 34, is no stranger to performances in league games. The rapper, songwriter and producer performed at halftime during last month’s College Football Playoff National Championship game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide. Lamar made his debut in 2012 with his album “Good Kid, MAAD City”. Lamar, a native of Compton, Calif., is a fan of the Los Angeles Rams.
Blige, 51, has scored 41 Billboard Top 100 singles. Since signing to Uptown Records in 1991, she’s been a force in the hip-hop world. Blige’s influence has also extended to the big screen. In 2017, she became the first person nominated for an Oscar for acting and songwriting in the same year. It was for the movie “Mudbound”.
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