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In what was billed as one of the greatest Super Bowl halftime shows — before the performers ever took the field — there was a bit of history in that Sunday’s Super Bowl LVI halftime performance was the first ever all-rap performance, featuring Los Angeles rappers Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar, among others. Queen Latifa was the first rapper to appear in a halftime show back in 1998, but didn’t rap.
In what was seen as a throw back to 90s-era rap, the halftime show was hyped almost as much as the big game itself leading up to Sunday and it’s debatable whether it lived up to the billing, aside from the star power on stage — in addition to the rappers named above, Mary J. Blige and Eminem were also in the lineup and 50 Cent and Anderson .Paak made surprise appearances.
As for the controversy, Sunday’s show at SoFi Stadium was nowhere near as disagreeable as Beyoncé’s 2016 halftime performance, a politically-induced ode to Black Lives Matter. The only real stir being that Eminem, the lone white representative on the stage, took a knee during his performance. The stunt was seen as a tribute to Colin Kaepernick that was reportedly against the wishes of the NFL, although the league would later dispute those reports. While still playing in the NFL, Kaepernick began protesting police brutality and racial oppression by kneeling during the national anthem, a political display that was widely interpreted as disrespectful.
Considering NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s full embrace of Black Lives Matter, to include allowing players to wear the name of the controversial, often violent left-wing movement on their helmets, it’d be difficult to see him objecting.
In reporting that the show was the third straight to be co-produced by Jay-Z’s company Roc Nation, the New York Times noted that “the league struggled to repair its relationship with artists who avoided the halftime show in support of Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback who, starting in 2016, knelt during the national anthem as a protest against police brutality and racial injustice.”
According to some reports, Eminem had requested to kneel to honor the radical left former player — which he did while performing the song “Lose Yourself” from his 2002 film 8 Mile — and was turned down because the NFL wanted to avoid a “divisive culture war moment.”
NFL Vice President of Communications Brian McCarthy said that was not true.
NFL’s Brian McCarthy on the report that the league told Eminem not to kneel during the halftime show: “Report was erroneous. We watched all elements of the show during numerous rehearsals this week.”
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 14, 2022
Dr/ Dre did not perform his hit “F*ck Tha Police, but he did include an anti-cop lyric in the final song of the performance, “Still D.R.E.,” that talked about “still not loving police.”
There was also scuttlebutt about the rapper being asked not drop the lyric, but it’s not clear if that is true — either way, he did rasp the lyrics.
The NFL told Eminem he couldn’t kneel in support of Colin Kaepernick. He did anyway.
They told Dr. Dre he couldn’t sing the lyric “still not lovin police.”
— Chuck (Taylor’s Version) (@Jamie_Maz) February 14, 2022
What is known is that the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association, in Long Island, New York, boycotted the Super Bowl halftime show because of Snoop Dogg’s anti-law enforcement lyrics in a song he just released with rapper J5 Slap.
In the song “Police,” Snoop and J5 rap\ about not being able to trust the police, and encourage listeners to “take your guns that you using to shoot each other and start shooting at these bad-a** motherf**king police / that’ll impress a motherf**ing n***** like me… Cause these police getting way too motherf**ing out of line.”
“If you choose to watch the game at all, (we won’t be) halftime is a great moment to shut your TV off in honor of those men and women in blue who gave their lives for us,” the Suffolk PBA posted on Facebook.
Snoop Dogg was also hit with accusations of sexual assault and battery leading up to his Super Bowl LVI performance, with a lawsuit being filed in Los Angeles federal court on Thursday against the rapper and an associate, Donald Campbell, who goes by the name Bishop Don “Magic” Juan.
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