West side story: is this the greatest half-time show ever assembled?

Birds of Tokyo, this ain’t. The first Super Bowl to be played in the Los Angeles area in 30 years will feature a cast of hip-hop and R&B icons performing at half-time.

The NFL announced Thursday (Friday AEST) that Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J Blige and Kendrick Lamar will perform in the Super Bowl LVI half-time show on February 13 (February 14 AEDT) at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre onstage together in Inglewood in 2016.Credit:Getty

While Family Affair and No More Drama hitmaker Blige was born and raised in the Bronx and Eminem the midwestern city of Detroit, Dr Dre and Kendrick Lamar hail from the Los Angeles-area city of Compton, and Snoop Dogg is from nearby Long Beach.

“The opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl half-time show, and to do it in my own backyard, will be one of the biggest thrills of my career,” Dre said in a statement.

“I’m grateful to JAY-Z, Roc Nation, the NFL, and Pepsi as well as Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J Blige and Kendrick Lamar for joining me in what will be an unforgettable cultural moment.”

Five artists will collaborate for the half-time show one year after The Weeknd performed as a solo act in Tampa Bay, where new quarterback Tom Brady led the Buccaneers to a rare home Super Bowl win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Blige is the only artist of the 2022 line-up to have previously performed at a Super Bowl. She took to the stage in 2001, also in Tampa, to join Aerosmith, NSYNC, Britney Spears and Nelly.

The high-powered lineup marks the third half-time show produced in part by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation firm, following the performance by The Weeknd and a 2020 collaboration between Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.

“This is history in the making,” said Jay-Z, who described Dre as “a musical visionary from Compton,” Snoop as “an icon from Long Beach” and Lamar as “a young musical pioneer.” He went on to refer to Eminem as “the lyrical genius” and Blige as “the timeless queen.”

America’s biggest sporting event was last held in the Los Angeles area in 1993. Michael Jackson was the half-time performer that year, notable for being the first time in history that TV ratings — which today regularly nudge the 100-million mark in the US — went up during the break.

That success led to a policy of pursuing top-drawer entertainment which has seen everyone from Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce (twice), Katy Perry, U2 and Paul McCartney take to the stage since.

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