By Caroline Griffin
Art by Allie Burkhart
The 2022 Super Bowl Halftime Show in Los Angeles was designed as an ode to the roots of hip-hop featuring rap icons Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg, and 50 Cent. Taking place in the heart of West Coast rap, the performance left viewers with mixed opinions.
As a lifelong hip-hop music lover, born and raised on old-school, 90s rap, I had quite high expectations for this Super Bowl performance. Upon first hearing of the lineup of legendary hip-hop artists, I couldn’t help but think it would be the best, most unforgettable halftime show of the Super Bowl I had ever seen.
Also, perhaps the laid-back nature of West Coast hip-hop, hints of East Coast rap, plus nods to modern-day rap would provide a breath of fresh air contrary to the previously loud and energetic performances of Katy Perry and Beyonce.
With all of this potential, the show was already bound to be amazing… right.
However, some believed that the show which was centered upon 90s music naturally targeted a rather older audience. Kennedy Polk (10) said, “I thought it was just okay, but my parents thought it was the best halftime show of all time. They knew every word to every song. I think it appealed to them more than me because they grew up listening to those songs.”
On the other hand, other St. Mary’s students were long prepared for this performance thanks to their parents’ extensive hip-hop knowledge. Anna Katherine Farmer (12), said, “My mom and I were so excited for the halftime show. Mary J. Bilge was incredible. I knew the words to so many of the songs because of [my mom’s] long-lasting love for them. It was awesome.”
In an attempt to draw in a younger audience, the show included Compton’s very own Kendrick Lamar. I truly appreciated his appearance in the lineup. His performance of hits “Alright” and “m.A.A.d City” were a perfect portrayal of the evolution of hip-hop throughout the decades.
But, I was disappointed to see that some artists missed out on performing some of their most well-known songs. I would have loved to hear Snoop Dogg sing “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” a staple song of 90s rap…and absolute banger. It also would have been great to hear more from Eminem during the show. How epic would it have been to hear “The Real Slim Shady,” or “8 Mile.”
The halftime show undoubtedly made hip-hop history. But, since it consisted mostly of 90s and early 2000s music, it became difficult for the young teenage audience to appreciate and thoroughly enjoy the performance. A lineup of unforgettable artists put on a great show, yes, but in my opinion, it did not come close to the legendary halftime shows of Coldplay in 2016 or Shakira and Jennifer Lopez in 2020.
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