Los Angeles natives Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg kicked off the halftime show at Sunday's Super Bowl with an electrifying performance of their classic hit "The Next Episode." While Dr. Dre sustained the show with a rendition of "California Love," 50 Cent made a surprise appearance by hanging upside down and performed "In Da Club."
The star-packed lineup, also featuring Eminem, R&B star Mary J. Blige and rapper Kendrick Lamar, made hip-hop the focus of the halftime extravaganza, a platform that draws the world's top musical acts. At SoFi Stadium outside Los Angeles, the musicians sang a medley of hits and traversed the roofs and interiors of a row of white buildings assembled on the football field.
Wearing a sequined white outfit with thigh-high boots, Blige performed "Family Affair" in front of a sparkling group of backup dancers. The performance was followed by her "No More Drama." Kendrick then delivered a fantastic performance of his song "Alright," preluded with "m.A.A.d. City."
Rapping his Oscar-winning hit "Lose Yourself," Eminem ended his performance by kneeling and placing his head in his hand, a gesture that former quarterback Colin Kaepernick made during the national anthem at NFL games as a call for racial justice. Kaepernick has not played since the 2016 season as no NFL team hired him after he began kneeling.
Media outlet Puck reported earlier on Sunday that the NFL had told Eminem not to kneel during the performance. NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said the report was untrue. NFL staff watched halftime rehearsals this week and the kneeling was included at that time, he said.
Dre and Snoop finished things off with a performance of "Still D.R.E."
Before the show, Dre and Snoop said that the NFL should have embraced rap years ago and they hoped to open doors for more hip-hop artists. Rap musicians have appeared previously but alongside pop and rock acts.
"THE GREATEST HALFTIME SHOW I'VE EVER SEEN!!!" Los Angeles Lakers basketball star LeBron James, who was seated in the crowd, wrote on Twitter.