The first Super Bowl held in the Los Angeles area in nearly 30 years is not gonna miss out on an opportunity to celebrate perhaps the richest musical dynasty the city has hosted over the past three decades. Dr. Dre will be leading the way at halftime of Super Bowl LVI this upcoming February, flanked by his protégés (and fellow West Coast legends) Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar, his Detroit disciple Eminem, and his East Coast collaborator Mary J. Blige.
Between them, the five performers have dozens of timeless smashes to their name, any number of which could absolutely set the crowd ablaze at Inglewood, Calif’s SoFi Stadium. Below, here are our picks for the 11-song set that would make the most sense.
1. Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg, “Still D.R.E.”
No better introduction for Dre than those Scott Storch piano plinks — well, except for maybe the bellowing synths of “F–k Wit Dre Day,” but no way he’d be able to get through more than a couple lines of that before the NBC execs started lunging for the kill switch. And hey, 20-plus years later, leading Super Bowl halftime is pretty good evidence that Dre is indeed still representin’ for them gangstas all across the world.
2. Snoop Dogg, “Gin and Juice”
As classic as classic gets, you can’t have Snoop on the world’s biggest stage without him kicking a little something for the G’s and performing at least a verse and chorus of his signature Doggystyle smash. Hopefully a helpful stagehand will supply him with the appropriate Seagram’s and mixer by the time he gets to the hook.
3. Snoop Dogg, “Drop It Like It’s Hot”
Time to flash-forward from 1993 to 2004 with the biggest hit of Snoop’s second decade, and still his only Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit as a lead artist. Probably no time for a Pharrell pop-in to do his opening verse, sadly, but maybe he can stop by for a “SNOOOOOOOOOOOP” or two on the intro at least.
4. Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg, “The Next Episode”
Ending the Dre and Snoop portion of the early festivities, let’s hear those eternal David McCallum horns that herald “The Next Episode,” another timeless party starter from the post-Death Row duo. Just sad that the late great Nate Dogg isn’t around to do his part — not that its most memorable moment would be able to make it past the censors anyway.
5. Eminem, “The Real Slim Shady”
And now, another iconic entrance song: Eminem’s second in as many albums, and probably his best-remembered. Will he bring the army of peroxide blonde clones with him this time? Will he don the ‘do himself for old time’s sake? We can only hope.
6. Eminem, “Lose Yourself”
Then it’s hoodie season, even in Southern California, because there’s no way we’re making it through the most-watched sporting event of the year without hearing the most famous pump-up song of the 21st century. Maybe as a tie-in, we can also get a Mom’s Spaghetti pop-up concession booth at SoFi Stadium.
7. Kendrick Lamar, “Humble”
You know what time it is when those fuzzed-out guitar chords hit — time for the most recent Hot 100 No. 1 that any of this crew has been involved with. Not like “sit down, be humble” is exactly the classic message for a Super Bowl halftime pep talk, but with that piano riff pounding away in the background, everybody in the building is going to be doing exactly the opposite anyway.
8. Kendrick Lamar & Mary J. Blige, “All the Stars”
Sorry, “Backseat Freestyle” and “King Kunta” enthusiasts — maybe when Kendrick headlines solo someday, but for now it’s blockbuster hits only. And what from K.Dot’s catalog screams “blockbuster” more than this Black Panther soundtrack smash? Apologies to SZA as well, since this should rightfully be her Super Bowl moment, but when you’ve got Mary J. in the building, you can’t be keeping her on the bench too long, and she could belt this with the best of ’em.
9. Mary J. Blige, “Family Affair”
Once Mary J. Blige starts to get it crunk up in this dancery, you gotta let her ride. Certainly no way she goes without playing this peerless 2001 banger — whose instantly recognizable strings were of course helmed by the man of the hour, the Dr.’s second Hot 100 No. 1 as a producer.
10. Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg, “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang”
Gotta start winding to a close by bringing the dynamic duo back out, with the song that officially kicked off the G-Funk era and set nearly the entire next 30 years of hip-hop in motion. Guaranteed that even Al Michaels will be rapping along, “One, two, three and to the four, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Dr. Dre is at the door…”
11. Dr. Dre, “California Love”
Is there any other way to possibly end a Dr. Dre Super Bowl than with the man welcoming everybody to the wild, wild west just one more time? Considering it has to be the only Hot 100 No. 1 to ever shout out Inglewood by name, it’s the logical climax for the entire set — particularly if the famous 2Pac hologram, celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its famous 2012 appearance at Coachella next year, returns for another round of virtual California dreamin’.