Game Time! A Short History of Rappers Performing at The Super Bowl


When you sit down and think about it, Nicki Minaj is going to make history when she performs alongside Madonna at Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday. Although many people point to 2003’s “Nipplegate” and blame Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake for the lack of young talent during the Super Bowl halftime show in recent years, the truth is that hip-hop music has never had a real presence at the Super Bowl before. Years ago, marching bands were a big hit when it came time to book a performer for the big game. Then, the NFL favored huge pop stars like Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, and ‘N Sync. And, just when it looked like the league might embrace hip-hop, Janet and JT forced the NFL to look to older singers and bands who were less likely to cause controversy while providing halftime entertainment.


However, what Nicki’s doing right now isn’t completely unprecedented. In the past, there have been a few hip-hop acts who have snuck on stage (figuratively, not literally) at the Super Bowl to perform during halftime. So in light of the fact that Nicki will be joining Madonna on stage tomorrow, we decided to honor those acts by taking a look back at the most prominent hip-hop performances at the Super Bowl. Super job, guys.—Chris Yuscavage

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