To say that this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show was hyped up would be an understatement. Everyone and their mother was talking about how great it was going to be (including us), and this left us all wondering one thing: was this going to be legendary, or just another Katy-Perry-Dancing-Shark-esque performance?
Anyone who tuned in for halftime on Sunday quickly found out that it was the former.
A Dramatic Play-By-Play:
The light from the warm, Los Angeles sun breaks through the glass barriers enclosing the largest spectacle in sport, lighting up an otherwise shaded stage. The stage is massive, and it stretches across midfield, broken into five platforms, each of which sit atop a prop home. The stage setup sits, patiently waiting for the performance to begin.
Bright lights are scattered across the field — dots and clusters of orange and white, seemingly arranged in some sort of foreign pattern. Ever so gracefully they sit and glow, before the realization hits: These are no ordinary lights, these are the streets of Compton. Just as a sense of awe is struck across the audience, there’s a sound. The piercing crash of a cymbal, accompanied by a booming bass wave, and a collective roar from the crowd.
It’s at this moment that all in attendance know it’s time.
Slowly arising from within the stage is an elegant rectangular platform, fitted with a pristine white mixing board that looks as if it’s from the year 2100. Standing tall behind this futuristic musical automaton, is the immortal greatness of he who is known as Dr. Dre. His beautiful, bald head reflects the now bright lights shining upon him.
As excitement around the stadium grows, a familiar tune begins to fade into the soundscape. Suddenly, those born between 1972-1999 were hit with an unruly urge to sing the words, “La-da-da-da-dah.”
“It’s the one and only D-O-double-G,” exclaims Snoop Dogg, who to the surprise of the fans, is now standing across the stage from Dre. After a warm introduction from Dr. Dre, Snoop continues, rapping into his gold-encrusted microphone, “Top Dogg, bite ‘em all, yeah I’m burnin’ it up.”
Snoop continues through his verse, and before anyone can comprehend what they’ve witnessed, it’s Dre’s turn to step into the spotlight. He wraps up the hook with Snoop, and without a moment to spare, the famous intro to “California Love” begins, eliciting head bops from listeners worldwide.
Dre burns through his verse, reciting each line with perfection and a sense of swagger. As California Love begins to fade out, Snoop and Dre point down towards the prop house underneath their platform.
Wait, what is this?! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s 50 Cent!
As if by some form of magic, he’s suspended upside down, his impressive frame making him look more like a whole dollar than a measly two quarters. His shocking reveal is soon followed by a performance of his culturally-iconic work, as Mr. Cent proclaims, “Go shorty, it’s your birthday. We’re going to party like it’s your birthday.”
After completing the song’s introduction, Fifty detaches himself, and with a gaggle of synchronized dancers behind him, he finishes “In Da Club”. It’s absolutely mesmerizing.
In a matter of moments, attention is directed back up to the top platform. Waiting there is a stunning queen of R&B, Mary J. Blige. Covered in white and silver cheetah print, with thigh high boots running up her legs, she carries herself with a powerful presence. With unmatchable confidence, she performs her contradictorily named songs “Family Affair” and “No More Drama”. Before finishing with a dramatic drop to the floor, she lets out one final battle cry, to further assert her paramountcy.
With Ms. Blige’s performance completed, the audience’s attention is directed down to the field. In a delicate array sit dozens of cardboard boxes, all with the label, “Dre Day”, each of them holding some unknown cargo.
In the blink of an eye, men emerge from the boxes. Among these men is Kung Fu Kenny himself, Kendrick Lamar. With considerable pageantry, he delivers his world-renowned hit, “M.A.A.D. City”. The mysterious box men continue to dance around him, intensifying his performance.
Suddenly the battalion of men disperse, and Kendrick is centered amongst them. He then breaks into the hook of his song, “Alright”. The crowd instantly recognizes it, and passionately sings along. The dancers move back in towards Kendrick as he speeds up his rapping, precisely dictating each word in perfect sequence.
As Kendrick finishes, there seems to be some sort of musical transition. As the audience tries to predict what may be coming next, there’s an abrupt explosion. The sound erupts from a cubed section of the stage, which now has broken walls, revealing a figure rising out of the box.
Accompanied by smoke and white confetti, it’s now clear who is emerging: Eminem.
As the stadium roars, a riff can be heard emanating from an overdriven guitar. It’s not just any riff, it’s the beginning of the song, “Lose Yourself”. With an abundance of poise, Slim Shady completes his performance of his essential hit, and in a dramatic fashion, he drops to one knee.
As Eminem stays in pose like a statue, Dre begins playing what sounds like jazz on the piano. As he continues, it’s clear that this is a transition into the final song. It’s the moment that everyone was hoping would happen. It’s time for “Still D.R.E.”, an all-time favorite which is a collaboration between Dre, Eminem, and Snoop.
As if from a dream of some 90s music executive, these three pillars of Hip-Hop perform their incredibly famous work on the largest stage in the world. For tens of millions around the world, this is a wish come true.
Seemingly too soon, the halftime performance is complete, and all six performers stand on center stage, basking in their glory. The bright lights behind them begin to fade, and the California sun once again softly drapes over their skin. It has been the 2022 Super Bowl Halftime Show.