All the Super Bowl Halftime Show Moments That Went Viral from Surprise Guests to Political Statements

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We knew this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show was going to bring the party, with the big game’s first-ever rap and hip-hop artist showcase. With Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar on the roster, how could it be anything but a great time.

The state setup was an incredibly intricate series of connected rooms and rooftops, like something out of a music video. Everything about the set aesthetic was pure white, so that the artists performing and dancing would pop even more.

As the cameras moved all around, everyone brought their A-game and some of their biggest hits. Whether you’re a fan of hip-hop or not, there’s no way you aren’t familiar with some of the most iconic rap songs of all time like “California Love” and “Lose Yourself.”

They even brought along a few surprise guests to get us hyped, with Anderson .Paak providing backing drums while Eminem performed his Oscar-winning track. But background performing in support of these titans of the industry wasn’t where that stopped.

While we are unable to embed the video due to NFL restrictions, you can watch it in its entirety over on YouTube here.

After Mary J. Blige hit us with a one-two punch, proving she may prefer “No More Drama” in her “Family Affair,” but she can still bring incredible dramatics to the stage, the camera panned down to one of Eminem’s most famous finds hanging from the ceiling.

Just like his breakthrough video, 50 Cent was “In Da Club” and in the stadium, adding even more grandeur to what almost became a walk through the history of hip-hop and rap, with Dr. Dre representing its earliest days and Kendrick Lamar modern rap’s “m.A.A.d. City.”

Every artist got their moment to shine in what turned out to be one of the most memorable and exciting Super Bowl Halftime shows in recent memory. Only time will tell if it goes down in history as one of the most lauded Halftime shows of all time. But one thing’s for sure, it definitely got fans and celebs alike talking.

Here’s the biggest moments they couldn’t get enough of.

50 Cent Drops In

One of the show’s biggest surprises had to be 50 Cent literally dropping in from the ceiling to reprise his biggest hit. Fans were both excited to see him, a little surprised that he showed up out of nowhere, and teasing him for both how he came into the show and for being a little thicker than he was in his ripped heyday.

Nostalgia to the Max

Even though Anderson .Paak and Kendrick Lamar were there representing some of the newer generations of hip-hop and rap, there’s no denying that this was mostly a showcase for some of the biggest artists from the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s. That left younger fans teasing the older generations a bit — but there’s nothing wrong with reaching back and discovering the greats from before your time, kids!

Eminem Takes a Knee Anyway

There was nothing overtly political said during the Halftime show, but there had been some speculation that Eminem and the NFL had gone back and forth over him taking a knee in solidarity and support of Colin Kaepernick. The former quarterback famously took a knee in protest of police brutality and racial inequality before Black Lives Matter became a national movement, and paid for it with his professional football career. After he performed, Eminem took a knee and held it as the stage shifted downward, a statement that was not missed by those watching.

Dre Pays Tribute to Tupac Shakur

Obviously, with Dre performing a verse from “California Love,” the spirit of 2Pac was already in the stadium, but when he hit the piano, he dropped a few bars from his “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” and fans were touched and moved by the brief tribute to the hip-hop legend taken way too soon as part of the deadly East-West rap feud of the ’90s. Thankfully, they resisted the urge to drop a hologram of him to join in the festivities.

Mary J. Makes a Meme

It was just one dramatic moment of her epic performance, but the shot of Mary J. Blige after she fell onto her back on the roof was just too perfect. It was practically asking to be the meme of the night, and while it’s perhaps a bit too early to say that for sure, fans have already been having fun with the image that certainly looks the way most people feel after an epic Super Bowl matchup — or incredible Halftime performance!

One Legendary Performance

The bottom line is that this put a spotlight on some of the titans of rap and hip-hop. The Super Bowl has been celebrating the legends of pop and rock for years, but as pointed out by Snoop Dogg ahead of this performance, hip-hop culture has been a part of the NFL for as long as there has been a thing called hip-hop. It is long overdue that it is celebrated on the field like this, and fans were here for every bit of it — and even upset that it was over already. 12 minutes was just not enough!

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