rap and hip-hop, a time to appreciate music history


photo: “Mary J. Blige & Markus Klinko (#31391)” by mark sebastian is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 *see links below

The first time that both rap and hip-hop graced the stage in halftime show history was in this year’s halftime show which sits in the category of being a memorable experience. Whether you were watching on TV or in person, you won’t forget those performances. 


Rap first became mainstream in 1979, the first song being “King Tim III (Personality Jock)” by The Fatback Band. In that same year a group emerged called The Sugarhill Gang, and the group released a song titled “Rapper’s Delight.” 


This was such an iconic performance because it took place during the time when we observe the history of Black people. Dr. Dre is a musical mastermind and has played an intricate role in each of these artists’ musical careers by producing popular hits for them. 


What makes this halftime show such a memorable experience is because rap was once considered a “fad” and today rap culture has become a phenomenon that has influenced almost everything from sports to commercials.  


Out of all five artists, Mary J. Blige is the only artist that previously performed in a Super Bowl halftime show. In 2001 she was a part of “The Kings of Rock and Pop” halftime show that featured Nelly, Britney Spears, Aerosmith and NSYNC. 


Kicking off the 2022 Super Bowl halftime show was Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre performing “The Next Episode.” Standing on top of a stage lift that stood over a map of Compton, the duo highlighted landmarks in South LA such as Randy’s Donuts, Tam’s Burgers and the Compton Courthouse. Snoop Dogg sported a blue and yellow bandana tracksuit paired with converse with yellow laces. 


Snoop’s career began in 1992 when he was discovered by Dr. Dre. Snoop has sold over 23 million albums and has appeared in numerous films such as “Baby Boy n Soul Plane” as well as television shows throughout his career. He’s had 17 Grammy nominations in his lifetime and has yet to actually win one despite his musical talent. 


Dr. Dre, rocking all black from head to toe, then began to spit his catchy rhythms to the song by the late 2pac Shakur, “California Love,” bringing back 1995 memories for all. 


Dr. Dre has produced many records in his lifetime, many of which became hits. His career blossomed with the group N.W.A and later on he co-founded Death Row Records in 1991. In ‘96 Dr. Dre started Aftermath Entertainment and signed both 50 Cent and Eminem. 


As a surprise for the audience, 50 Cent (Curtis James Jackson III) appeared upside down just as he did in the video, rapping the lyrics of his song “In the Club.” 50 Cent’s appearance was a little more subtle with a Dior belt, white tank and white headband. 


50’s album “Get Rich or Die Tryin” was produced by Dr. Dre and Eminem, which went on to sell nine million copies. His verses were based on real-life experiences. He has also played in films and T.V. shows, “Den of Thieves,” “Escape Plan” and “Southpaw.” 


Mary J. Blige stunned us all by bodying her two-piece sparkly set paired with matching thigh-high boots and waist-length tresses. Performing hits such as “Family Affair” and “No More Drama,” the crowd was sure to be standing on their feet singing along. 


Blige has won nine Grammy Awards along with eight platinum albums just to name a few of her accolades. She currently stars in STARZ’s hit show “Power,” however, Blige is a singer, songwriter and producer. Her voice has become one that has resonated within us over the years. 


Kendrick Lamar’s entrance with songs “m.A.A.d City” and “Alright” ignited pure excitement throughout the audience with sharp moves by his backup dancers. Lamar wore an all-black tailored suit with gold accessories, very much giving Janet Jackson “Rhythm Nation” vibes. 


Lamar’s lyrics are much like poems, revealing what it was like to grow up on the streets of Compton. His albums “To Pimp a Butterfly” and “DAMN” won a Grammy for Best Rap Album. “DAMN” made history by being the first of its genre to achieve a Pulitzer Prize. 


Eminem’s (Slim Shady) Jordan 3 shoes, black jeans and black hooded jacket was the perfect combo to rap the lyrics of “Lose Yourself,” topping off the entrance by taking a knee after allegedly being warned not to. The NFL was aware of the fact that Eninem was going to kneel during his performance, because he had been kneeling in rehearsals. League spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Associated Press that the allegation of advising Eninem not to take a knee was false. 


We watched all elements of the show during multiple rehearsals this week and were aware that Eminem was going to do that,” said McCarthy. 


As Dr. Dre sat at the piano and played the melody of 2Pac’s “I Ain’t Mad At Cha,” it’s still slightly unclear as to why Eninem took a knee. Some say it was in honor of Colin Kappernick and others say it was to recognize the late great 2pac. 


Eminem is a two-time Grammy Award winner and four-time MTV Video Music Award Winner. Despite everything he faced in his life, he managed to become the essence of greatness by having one of the fastest-selling albums in rap history, which was “The Marshall Mather LP.” 


Wrapping up the show was Dr. Dre, who showed off his musical skills by playing the piano and rapping to the song “Still D.R.E.”


These artists performed with heart and soul, bringing up old memories from different eras in our lives. Rap/hip-hop music has influenced our society by acting as a tool of social awareness. The 2022 halftime show gave us the opportunity to appreciate music history. From watching the halftime show people can gain a better understanding of rap and hip-hop culture. This show exposed this new generation to iconic music. For me the halftime show was a moment where Black people could be themselves without having to apologize for it.   

Watch the Super Bowl LVI halftime show here: https://youtu.be/gdsUKphmB3Y


Featured Image Photo credit: “Mary J. Blige & Markus Klinko (#31391)” by Mark Sebastian is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0


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