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Eminem Taking The Knee Was Approved, But Dr. Dre Talks One Super Bowl Halftime Element That Did Have To Be Changed

This year’s Super Bowl halftime show was filled with nostalgia and classic rap hits, and there were plenty of highlights from the much-discussed spectacle. As a celebration of hip-hop culture, the big-budgeted performance also referenced some pop culture and sociopolitical moments. According to headliner Dr. Dre, those references weren’t as hard to get approved as some viewers might think, but there was indeed one element that had to be changed for the live stage.

Bringing in so many hip-hop heavyweights into one performance was a huge undertaking, even for someone as prolific as Dr. Dre, given the money he stood to lose if the show didn't happen. The hip-hop super-producer spoke with TMZ about the highly watched event, revealing that Eminem's much-publicized kneel (as a nod to former NFL star Colin Kaepernick) was approved by the organization. Plus, he said that while there were a few minor notes here and there,  He spilled he and the other performers were only given minors for their performance,  but there was indeed one halftime element the NFL required them to change. In his words:

There were a few things that we had to change, but it was like really minor things. Em taking the knee, that was Em doing that on his own, and there was no problem with that. I think you know the beginning of Kendrick’s set, he says ‘if Pirus and Crips all’ — they had a problem with that, so we had to take that out. No big deal. We get it. All and all we came in; we were professional everybody was on time, and everybody really felt the magnitude of what this thing was and what we were able to accomplish.

It was kind of sad, yet wholly understandable why the NFL wanted to change the beginning of Kendrick Lamar’s “M.A.A.D City.” Given the gang culture associated with Los Angeles, the organization wasn’t comfortable with any sort of gang affiliation language being part of the family-friendly spectacle. With the Super Bowl taking place in Inglewood, the NFL presumably didn’t want any smoke from certain sets. Gang culture is still a sensitive issue with multiple sets representing that city alone, as well as the overall L.A. area.

While the NFL was worried about gang affiliations, that didn’t stop Snoop Dogg from repping via his full Crip-blue sweatsuit. He did soften his look somewhat by adding some yellow as a nod to the L.A. Rams. 

At least it doesn't sound like anyone tried to keep Eminem from taking a knee, despite the complicated and tumultuous history between the organization and Colin Kaepernick (as well as those promoting his cause). The rap superstar tapped into hip-hop’s political roots by acknowledging the political upheaval spurred by Kaepernick’s action. Overall, he gave an exceptional performance despite feeling nervous about performing live at the Super Bowl.

Luckily, the entire performance went off without a hitch, with one of the halftime show's producers saying the hardest part was whittling down the performances to a 13-minute runtime. But that is understandable, seeing as how each performer boasts a massive catalog. Cramming so many iconic songs into such a short set, complete with the surprise upside-down arrival of 50 Cent, was one of ourd takeaways from the Super Bowl halftime show. 

Of course, the extravaganza (and the actual game) drew plenty of celebrity attendees to its L.A. setting. While the Super Bowl halftime performance is still being talked about amongst the 110 million or so people who tuned in, there are many new and returning shows to watch as 2022 goes on.

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).