Describe in one word this year’s Super Bowl halftime show: That was the question posed to Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Mary J. Blige to close out a brief yet lively 15-minute press conference inside the Convention Center in Downtown Los Angeles on Thursday morning.
“Fucking incredible,” Dre said, borrowing an extra word. Blige was so impressed by his choice that she offered “what he said,” leaving Snoop to close the show with, “It’s going to be magnifico.”
While they were short on specifics, three of the five artists slated to take the stage Sunday inside SoFi Stadium as part of the blockbuster lineup — Eminem and Kendrick Lamar are the other two performers but neither attended Thursday’s press conference — spoke at length about how much the moment means to them personally and the legacy of hip-hop.
“This should’ve happened a long time ago,” offered Dre, who spent the most time on the mic at the packed event hosting well more than 100 reporters. “Hip-hop is the biggest genre of music on the planet right now, so it’s crazy that it took all of this time for us to be recognized. I think we’re going to go on and do a fantastic show and we’re going to do it so big that they can’t deny us any more in the future.”
In the process, Dre added, they are going to leave the door open for hip-hop acts to take the spotlight in the future while showing “how professional we can be, how dope we can be and how exciting” they will be as a group. “We’re going to let you know what it is.”
And what it is is a storybook setup for the city of Los Angeles with three of the five performers hailing from City of Angels with Dre, Snoop and Lamar along with hometown team, the Los Angeles Rams, competing in the Super Bowl from Inglewood’s new $5 billion crown jewel, SoFi Stadium. Dre even revealed that he manifested such a dream scenario.
“I’m not trying to be egotistical or anything like that but who else could do this show here in L.A.? Who else could perform the halftime show other than these amazing artists that we put together for this thing?” Dre asked. “And not only that, I’ve been manifesting the Rams since the beginning of the season. I’m just thinking about it every day, I’m meditating on it, I’m like OK it’ll be perfect if we’re in the Super Bowl performing at halftime and the Rams in the game as well.”
The press conference kicked off shortly after 10 a.m. with welcome remarks by the NFL’s Brian McCarthy and Pepsi marketing chief Todd Kaplan, the latter of whom introduced the well-received halftime show trailer, “The Call,” directed by F. Gary Gray. After the clip played, moderators MJ Acosta-Ruiz and Nate Burleson took the stage and welcomed the trio to their seats.
Burleson kicked it off by asking how they prepared to perform on the biggest stage of their lives. “Rest, train, stay quiet, stay out of trouble,” Blige said. “That’s really it.”
“We know what Snoop does,” quipped Dre, drawing huge laughs from the press. But Snoop was quick to dismiss talk of smoke. “I’m a professional trainer — my cardio is on point.” But on a serious note, Dre said his prep is simple: “I wake up and count my blessings.”
Los Angeles officials and residents have been doing a lot of the same recently after the Rams clinched a Super Bowl berth to play in the newish SoFi Stadium, a significant moment for Snoop and his city of Inglewood.
“I have people that I know who worked on building the stadium that the city of Inglewood gave opportunities to people to be a part of creating,” Snoop explained. “Knowing that the stadium was built and the Super Bowl is going to be here and that we have an opportunity to perform onstage, it’s just a blessing because the Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event in the world, and hip-hop is the biggest form of music in the world. For us to have the opportunity to bring the two worlds together — we got the queen of R&B, we got the king of hip-hop, we got all of his proteges in the place — this is what it’s about. This is what hip-hop and what the NFL is supposed to be about; representing change and moving forward.”
Snoop said he appreciates the NFL for even entertaining hip-hop on the main stage, “because we know a lot of people didn’t want hip-hop on the stage.”
Asked to reveal who they called first once it was confirmed they would perform, Blige said her management team (“Screaming, so they could jump on it”) and her family. Snoop said he dialed up his hairstylist and stylist so that “my look was together. I’m concerned with my look.”
They did not offer any details on what to expect on ensembles or otherwise, but Dre did reveal “the first rehearsal was surprisingly fantastic” even though the show is not yet ready to roll. “We’re onto something really special,” he said. “Of course, we had to work the bugs out, and we’re still working the bugs out, but it’s feeling amazing.”
He said he caught Blige’s set, suggesting that the performances are broken up by performer. “I had the chance to sit back and watch her set and it gave me goosebumps. And if I’m getting them, I know that the audience is going to feel when she hits the stage.”
Blige said she plans to give it her all. “The vision is to do what I do, which is to leave it all on the stage, give everything,” she said.
But Dre said he doesn’t want the others to give absolutely everything. After Snoop promised “no wardrobe malfunctions,” Dre said, “I had to talk Snoop and Eminem out of pulling their penises out.”
Speaking of wardrobe malfunctions, Dre singled out Justin Timberlake as one of his favorite Super Bowl halftime show performers ever, while Blige and Snoop cited Michael Jackson and Prince. But, come Sunday night, it’s clear that the trio hopes their names are on that list.
“I’m the greatest to ever do it,” Snoop said. “Somebody got to say it. Tom Brady didn’t say it. I’m the GOAT.”
Dre finished the thought: “We want to make sure that everybody knows this is the best halftime show ever,” he said. “I know we’re going to kill this shit.”