Dr. Dre and Aftermath Records Return To Inglewood For Nostalgic Halftime Show

L.A. rap legends pay homage to Dr. Dre at Super Bowl LVI

From left to right: Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige and Snoop Dogg.


From left to right: Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige and Snoop Dogg.

“35 summers in the making,” Kendrick Lamar professed to a rocking crowd of over 70,000 fans in Inglewood, California as part of a star-studded lineup of L.A. legends at the Super Bowl LVI halftime show. 

Every aspect of the Super Bowl was connected to the city of Los Angeles. It took place in SoFi Stadium, which was a 5.5 billion-dollar investment to bring the Rams back to L.A. It was the second time in NFL history that a Super Bowl team, the Rams, would play in their home stadium. And the halftime show — a short but monumental showcase of musical talent — featured Dr. Dre and his proteges honoring the history of gangster rap in Los Angeles. 

The show opened with Dr. Dre seated at a nine-panel mixing board with the switches, knobs and sliders the producer has used to create some of the most impressive beats of the 90’s and 2000’s. It was part of an all-white strip of mock L.A. businesses atop a map of the city. 

“The Next Episode,” an upbeat rap anthem featuring Dr. Dre’s protege Snoop Dogg, started off the set list. The pair clearly reveled in the L.A. atmosphere, and incorporated the city’s iconic lowriders into the choreography. 

The cuts between songs were polished and methodical, which made the presence of five artists who could each headline their own Super Bowl shows feel cohesive and natural. The transition from “The Next Episode” to “California Love” sent the packed SoFi Stadium rocking. Dre’s bar “let me welcome everybody to the wild wild west” instantly channeled the energy from his hit with the late Tupac Shakur into the arena. 

The surprise of the night came following that track when 50 Cent, who Dr. Dre first signed to his Aftermath Entertainment label, dropped from the set ceiling to perform his hit “In Da Club.” The visuals conveyed the L.A. club life with flashing lights and dancers which complimented the street life portrayed by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. 

Next was “Family Affair,” the 2001 hit produced by Dr. Dre and performed by Mary J. Blige, who rocked a glamorous two-piece outfit. Blige quickly transitioned to a ballad-style “No More Drama,” a slower piece calling for the end of pain and suffering. It was a stark contrast from the energy in the previous tracks, but it made the transition to Lamar’s segment more powerful. 

Out of all the performers, Lamar has the strongest stage presence, and it showed. The rapper opened with the intro to his “m.A.A.d city,” leading into “Alright” with impressive flow. Lamar was supported by a crew of backup dancers mimicking military-style processions, clad with “Dre Day” sashes, an homage to Dr. Dre’s 1992 smash hit, “F**k wit Dre Day.” 

Lamar finished his set proclaiming the performance was “35 summers in the making,” referencing Dr. Dre’s start in rap music with N.W.A. in 1985. The entire performance was a tribute to Dr. Dre, who was a mentor to every performer in the show throughout his career. Even the drummer, Anderson.Paak of Silk Sonic, is currently signed to Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment label. 

Eminem quite literally entered with a bang, appearing on set after the walls blew apart. He opened with his iconic bars on “Forgot About Dre,” a seamless continuation of Lamar’s finale. “Lose Yourself,” arguably Eminem’s most well-known song, consumed the bulk of his performance. It’s unfortunate that the rapper didn’t get to perform any of his features with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, but the shift did provide a more varied set list. 

The finale was ignited by Dr. Dre himself, who sat at a piano and performed the quintessential bars of “Still Dre.” It tied the whole show together: Dr. Dre is still here, and he’s responsible for the hip hop and rap industry as it is today. The legendary producer cracked a genuine smile as he recited “haters say Dre fell off, how homie the last album was the chronic,” a line that characterized his second and final album: “2001.” 

Dr. Dre only released two studio albums, “The Chronic” in 1992 and “2001” in 1999, but his fingerprints are all over rap music today. It’s only fitting that a Super Bowl marking a return to Los Angeles featured a historic performance from the city’s greatest musicians.