The NFL Warned Eminem And Dr. Dre Not To Get Political During The Super Bowl Halftime Show, Which They Did Anyway
The Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show (brought to you by Pepsi) happened last night, as expected, and it went off without a hitch. Dr. Dre was joined by Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, and Anderson .Paak. No Left Shark here. Except, if you’re the NFL, then you might think that was the biggest PR disaster of a Super Bowl Halftime Show this side of Justin Timberlake’s hand exposing a titty. According to sources, the NFL really didn’t want Dr. Dre to sing one very specific anti-police lyric in “Still D.R.E.“, and they really really didn’t want Eminem to take a knee, a la Colin Kaepernick. That screen shot above might have been the exact moment all those NFL politically-averse control freaks dropped their Pepsis in shock. Because as you can see, Eminem took that knee, and Dr. Dre closed the show with “Still D.R.E.“, with that anti-cop lyric right where it usually is.
The Super Bowl Halftime Show is practically produced down to how many times the headliner might blink from start to finish, so it should be no surprise that the NFL made sure to cross all their Ts and dot all their Is and make sure nobody did anything that might offend Karen and her husband at home. Unfortunately, the NFL was dealing with Eminem, aka the humanoid form of not giving a single shit, and Dr. Dre, a man who has allegedly attempted to square off with Suge Knight. So they might as well have taken their production notes and offered them to Snoop Dogg as XL rolling papers. According to Popculture, the NFL was aware that Eminem had planned to take a knee at some point during the Halftime Show performance. They also knew that Dr. Dre would be singing “Still D.R.E.“, which includes the lyrics: “Still not loving police.”
Before the game, Puck News journalist Eriq Gardner tweeted that the NFL wanted to make the halftime show as controversy-free as possible. This meant back and forth conversations with Dre about some of his anti-police lyrics. The NFL also “nixed” Eminem’s plan to kneel, according to Gardner, and wanted to make sure Snoop Dogg did not wear anything gang-affiliated. Eminem kneeled anyway, holding the pose to make sure it was not taken as anything but a statement.
Snoop didn’t technically wear anything political. He wore a bandanna-printed tracksuit in blue and yellow, which are the colors of the Los Angeles Rams, who won last night’s game. But, that blue bandanna-printed tracksuit just so happened to also be Crip colors. Snoop is not a member of the gang, but you don’t have to look very hard to find Snoop in Crip blue.
As for Eminem, some people on Twitter took Slim Shady’s knee moment as his way of paying tribute to Tupac, who worked closely with Dr. Dre. When Dre sat down at the piano after Eminem was finished performing “Lose Yourself,” he played a few bars from Tupac’s “I Ain’t Mad At Cha.” But knowing that the NFL specifically didn’t want Eminem participating in any knee politics, it was probably exactly what it looked like. Aka, a giant “fuck you” to the NFL while making it clear where he stands on the Black Lives Matter movement.
However, NFL league spokesman Brian McCarthy released a statement after the performance, saying that everyone watched all the Halftime Show elements and they were totally aware that Eminem was going to take a knee at some point, and that they supported his decision.
Eminem’s iconic #performance at the #SuperBowl Halftime Show💥pic.twitter.com/MzbwIJ8adI
— ZONE23 (@ZONE23WORLD) February 14, 2022
And of course, Dr. Dre wasn’t willing to drop that lyric explaining how he feels about law enforcement. Honestly, it’s asking entirely too much of Dr. Dre and the gang to start retrofitting their lyrics to please NFL’s family-friendly standards. It’s corny enough that they had to use censor-approved stand-ins for words like “mother fucker.” What else do you want from him? It would be way more offensive to everyone at home if they were nodding along to “Still D.R.E.” and out of nowhere Dr. Dre raps something like, “Still love brushing my teeth.”
#SuperBowl halftime shows are goated! 🔥
2022 is the best I've seen. Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Dr.Dre, Mary J. Blige e Kendrick Lamar and 50 cent, singing STILL DRE #PepsiHalftime #nfl pic.twitter.com/dKu35WGHxj
— Nana Yeboah Ps2 🔥💯🇳🇬🇬🇭🏴🇿🇦 (@dr_2pain) February 14, 2022
You can watch the whole show on YouTube, but here are some clips from the show, like Mary J. looking like a gorgeous disco ball and 50 Cent about to pass out from some upside-down gravity antics:
Dr Dre and Snoop started off the Super Bowl Halftime show! pic.twitter.com/3aaHfGzX2h
— Dallas Cowboys Collaboration (@mailman_phil) February 14, 2022
mary j. blige performing ‘family affair’ and ‘no more drama’ at the super bowl halftime show 🔥 #SuperBowl
— 2000s (@PopCulture2000s) February 14, 2022
Surprise: 50 Cent pulls up to the #SuperBowl halftime show. pic.twitter.com/j4ILHEe85G
— The Recount (@therecount) February 14, 2022