– Mattea Vecera (@MatteaVecera on Twitter)
On Thursday, Oct. 30, the NFL announced via Twitter what could be its most unexpected Super Bowl halftime show of all time. Produced by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and located in Inglewood, California, Super Bowl LVI’s hip-hop centric artist lineup includes Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, and Mary J. Blige. This is not only a milestone for the hip-hop community, but also for the Super Bowl itself.
Hip-hop artists, such as Travis Scott, P. Diddy, Nicki Minaj, and Nelly, have made appearances at the Super Bowl in past years as supporting acts. However, with the NFL’s massive Black audience and the cultural significance through its relationship with hip-hop, never before has it translated to a headlining act.
While hip-hop is continuing to gain mainstream acceptance, it is not always perceived positively. According to a 2008 poll published by the Pew Research Center, more than 70 percent of Americans believed that rap had an overall negative impact on society.
In contrast, the Super Bowl is a beloved American tradition that is widely accepted. According to a 2020 study published by Sports Media Watch, 100.45 million people watched the Super Bowl on TV, making it the most watched sporting event in the United States in 2020.
Despite society’s polarization between the two, the overall media response toward the NFL is overwhelmingly positive. Many took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the upcoming halftime show.
One user wrote, “The Next Super Bowl #PepsiHalfTime Show might be the Greatest Yet.”
The NFL and Roc Nation found a balance of old school rap that every middle aged person grew up with and Lamar, which bridges the gap between the older and newer rap scene. While audience demographics are always kept in mind when choosing the artists, the NFL seems to finally be pandering more toward a modern crowd.
Dr. Dre said that he feels Super Bowl LVI will also represent a homecoming for Los Angeles natives like himself, Snoop, and Lamar. He said, “The opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime show, and to do it in my own backyard, will be one of the biggest thrills of my career.”
Todd Kaplan, Pepsi Marketing VP, also spoke on this homecoming. He said, “Artists like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg were at the forefront of the West Coast hip hop revolution, so to be able to bring them back to LA, where it all began alongside Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar will prove to be an epic, unforgettable celebration of the impact hip hop has today.”
Speculation of new albums from each of these artists since the announcement has grown tremendously, though none have released a statement yet. Lamar and his team previously spoke of an album in the works, but there was no official announcement or release date. It will be interesting to see how cohesive the show is with such a large range of years in each halftime artist’s album releases.
Depending on the execution from all artists, the Super Bowl LVI halftime show has the potential to be the greatest and most impactful of all time.