Dr. Dre and Friends
There’s a saying in quite a few American households that goes, “Sundays are for football.” While that may have been truer than ever on February 13, that Sunday was also for groundbreaking hip-hop production, elite-level rapping, and a healthy dose of West Coast gangsta music. This year’s game featured a halftime performance from none other than Dr. Dre, and the good doctor brought along some friends. At his side were maybe the most recognizable MC in the history of hip-hop, Snoop Dogg; the queen of hip-hop soul, Mary J. Blige; the rap god himself, Eminem; and perhaps the most revered MC of the day, Kendrick Lamar. They’ve worked with Dre in different capacities, to be sure, but they’re all integral to his story and helped him put on a show with so much star power we could imagine players sneaking out of the locker rooms to catch a glimpse live. Get reacquainted with the catalogs of these stars in the aftermath of their historic performance.
Beats by Dr. Dre
In the world of hip-hop, few sounds provoke as visceral a reaction as the opening chords of Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode.” The same could likely also be said of Dre’s "F**k wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin’),” “Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice,” 2Pac’s “California Love,” Eminem’s “My Name Is,” 50 Cent’s “In da Club,” and any number of hits that Dre produced over the course of a career filled with both innovation and reinvention. These songs, and the ones that make up the rest of his impossibly rich catalog, aren’t just good, they stick with you. They soundtrack movie scenes and private memories. His music is largely associated with the United States’ West Coast, but he’s brought the sound of Los Angeles to the world. Which is exactly why he’s been tapped for the halftime show of the most watched game of football in America. “Icon” is nearly too frivolous a term to describe Dr. Dre’s place in music, but it’s one sure to be thrown around the Monday following his performance.
By the time he released his Dr. Dre Presents... The Aftermath compilation in 1996, Dre had accomplished so much in rap that it would have taken a veritable unicorn to turn his head in the studio. Lucky for him—and us—he found one in a prodigious white rapper from Detroit named Eminem. You’d have to have been living under a rock for the past three decades to not know what Em has accomplished since the days of his groundbreaking The Slim Shady LP, but what’s slightly easier to forget is that we might not have any idea who he was if not for the good Dr. Dre.
Mary J. Blige
Very few titles in music are as apt or all-encompassing as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. Yonkers-raised Mary J. Blige emerged just after the new jack swing era and touched hearts and souls around the world with a uniquely tough and undeniably raw style of hip-hop-influenced R&B. She’d long been a legend by the time she linked up with Dre for the heartfelt tribute to his brother that is 2001’s “The Message,” but the two proved they could do joy just as well as pain on Mary’s dance-party all-timer “Family Affair.”
How recognizable does one have to be to have a special pronunciation for the way they spell their name? The answer to that lies with Mr. “S-N-double-O-P, D-O-double-Gizzee” himself. The man known as Snoop Dogg has made hits in every era he’s existed in, which is no small task considering how long he’s been doing his thing. If you’re at all confused about that, look no further than Dre’s The Chronic, the album that put Dre back on the map after he left the powerhouse gangsta rap collective N.W.A. Whether you know Snoop from the classics he crafted during the ensuing G-funk era, from his second life as “Sensual Seduction”-singing Uncle Snoop, or as cooking show cohost to the incomparable Martha Stewart, you well understand that a Dr. Dre-helmed halftime performance couldn’t go down without him.
Like any other kid who grew up in Compton from the ’90s onward, a young Kendrick Lamar ingested the music of Dr. Dre like fumes from one of LA’s notoriously gridlocked freeways. The difference, though, is that Lamar would go on to become one of the most beloved MCs the city has ever produced. Dre understood young Kendrick’s potential before most, having signed him to Aftermath Entertainment, and eventually producing good kid, m.A.A.d city standout “The Recipe.”