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The Hardest Part Of Making Dr. Dre, Eminem, And Co.’s Super Bowl Halftime Show Happen, According to Producer

The Super Bowl is traditionally full of iconic moments, and this year's NFL extravaganza was no different. Outside of Gwyneth Paltrow eating her own vagina candle and the actual football game, arguably the biggest moment was the epic halftime performance from some of the biggest names in hip hop. When you’ve got a lineup of legends like Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar, and the beautifully talented Mary J. Blige in the same place, you know something amazing is going to happen. Such greatness doesn’t come easy, though, and Super Bowl 56’s Halftime show producer Jesse Collins revealed what he thinks was the hardest part of making the timeless collaboration happen.

There are still a lot of opinions circulating regarding that star-studded halftime show — and we’ve got our own take as well — but no one can deny that Gen Xers and Millennials as collective generations were struck with some major nostalgia across the board. Seeing some of the most iconic hip hop artists on stage playing their biggest hits from the ‘90s and early 2000’s has that lasting effect and the responsibility of such a feat had even the fearless Eminem a little nervous ahead of time.

In an interview with ET, the Super Bowl halftime performance's executive producer Jesse Collins revealed that the timing element was the biggest hardship involved with making that iconic slice of live television happen. According to Collins, there were so many working parts involved, on top of the potential possibilities for what could be done, that it was difficult to cut the mini-concert down to the necessary time span. This is how he put it:

We’ve been in development of this since last September, just talking every week, every single moment, and we’ve been in hard rehearsals probably for the last three weeks. I think the hardest part of it was getting it [down] to 13 minutes.

With as many iconic songs that any one of the headliners has delivered in their distinguished careers, I’m super not surprised that it took a concerted effort to narrow things down appropriately. Perhaps had he been forced to throw the whole shebang together in a weekend's time, instinct might have kicked in, but with 4-5 months to make it happen, that allows for a ton of time to second-guess one's decisions.

In the same interview, Jesse Collins says they ultimately had to make the best choices that they could, even though it could have been a full-length show in an ideal world.

I mean, you’ve got monster catalogs and trying to figure out how to make this work... I mean I could think of 10 records that I wish they would’ve done. But we had to make the best decision possible.

The song choices comprised some of the most recognizable tracks from the group of artists, and the show seemed to majorly honor Dr. Dre. This seeming tribute to the rapper and hip hop producer makes a ton of sense, though, because Dre put a ton of his own money into the production and every one of the other artists have a solid history with Dre. 

Eminem obviously has a huge connection with Dr. Dre, and attributes his success to the pioneer producer, but all of the other artists are also heavily connected to legend as well. Dre has either produced songs for the hip hop icons, has had them under his label at some point, or both. (Basically, Mary J. Blige is the only one he didn't have a hand in discovering out right.) Dre also, of course, has his own timeless bops, and one of the most iconic was featured in the halftime show, “Still D.R.E.”, which also features Snoop Dogg, making it an obvious choice for the Super Bowl. 

As difficult as it was to put together such a brief production with so many historical hip hop artists, it sure came together as a memorable halftime show, even without a major wardrobe malfunction. If you missed the show, you can still watch it with a Peacock subscription, as the Super Bowl is available to stream behind the paywall of NBC’s streaming app, along with a number of other TV necessities.

Carlie Hoke
Carlie Hoke

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.