Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show: Dr. Dre’s family reunion on home ground was a spectacular one

 This star-studded halftime show was one for the ages

Whether you are a football fan or not, Super Bowl Sunday is always a night you circle in your calendar. Some might use this yearly event as an occasion to appreciate one of the most-watched sporting events of the year, others use it as an excuse to gather round with friends and family to drink cold brews and eat an unreasonable amount of chicken wings. One thing is for sure though, everyone enjoys the halftime show. From 15 to 20 minutes packed with performances from legendary artists to the likes of Prince, Beyonce and Paul McCartney creates one of the most talked about music events of the year — propelling superstars into legendary status. 

The LVI Super Bowl made no exceptions by spoiling hip hop fans with the invitation of Dr. Dre and friends to headline this year’s show. And by friends, I mean four of the greatest MCs the legendary producer has ever worked with: Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J. Blige.

With the Super Bowl taking place in the Golden State, it was only natural to name the Compton native Dre as a headliner. The show started off with Dre and Snoop appearing on top of small white houses, to perform their hit “The Next Episode,” followed by 2Pac’s “California Love,” where Snoop rapped the late East Coast rapper’s verse. Following another track from the two, both Blige and Lamar performed two songs of their own while Eminem jumped on the chorus of “Forget about Dre” before performing his own “Lose Yourself.” An upside-down 50 Cent made a surprise appearance on the set to rap his hit song “In Da Club.”

While far from being the most visually stunning or creative halftime show, the music more than made up for it with hit after hit being played. This concert saw six of the most influential hip hop artists of the millennial generation, one being arguably the greatest rapper of the 2010s perform their best work. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg without a doubt stole the show, showcasing that Cali connection and looking like the coolest fifty-somethings out there. Lamar’s theatrical performance was also a highlight, with the Compton artist performing what might be his most important song “Alright” — especially during Black History Month. And while I could have gone without Mary J. Blige’s or Eminem’s performances to let the three West Coast rappers sing more songs, I get their inclusion to this lineup and they still did their thing.

All and all, this year’s halftime show was a memorable one and Dr. Dre orchestrated what might be the best hip hop-focused Super Bowl halftime show of all time.




Warren G tells his story about the rise of G-funk

G-funk documentary in honour of Nate Dogg premiered at SXSW

The documentary G-Funk portrays Warren G, Nate Dogg and Snoop Dogg rapping together in their childhood years and charts their progress as international hip-hop stars. From their early days at Long Beach Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, Calif., the trio had talent and dreams to become famous rappers. They rap-battled their friends during recess and at parties. In 1990, they formed a rap trio called 213, and eventually became the pioneers of a hip-hop subgenre called G-funk, or gangsta-funk. G-funk emerged in the 90s in southern California and is also known as West Coast hip-hop. It is a combination of motown, funk, R&B and gangsta rap, and has become a staple in mainstream American music culture.

As mentioned in the documentary, G-funk is different from East Coast hip-hop—it doesn’t fit the flow of New York City. G-funk is mellow and smooth, and is meant to be heard in your drop-top below the palm trees as you cruise along Sunset Boulevard—it has a laid-back, West Coast feel to it. Some classic G-funk tunes include “Regulate” by Nate Dogg and Warren G, or “Ain’t Nothin’ But a G Thang” by Snoop Dogg. The film featured several hip-hop artists who played leading roles in the rise of G-funk, such as Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre. There were also interviews with hip-hop artists, who have been around during the rise of G-Funk or who were greatly influenced by Warren G’s career, such as Russell Simmons, Ice T, Wiz Khalifa, Too $hort, George Clinton, Deion Sanders and Big Boy.

The documentary depicts the rise of drug and gang violence in Los Angeles in the 1990s, and the many who lost their lives or were incarcerated. G-Funk also highlights how black men often faced severe police brutality and racial profiling by the Los Angeles Police Department. It was a tough time for these up-and-coming rappers, which is probably why their music connected with so many people since they sang and rapped about their hardships.

From left to right, Bob Ruggeri, Karam Gill, Warren G, Gary Ousdahl and Rafael Chavez at the G-funk panel. Photo by Sandra Hercegova

The film touched on G-funk’s contribution to the rise in sales and popularity of the hip-hop genre. The film premiered in Austin, Texas, during the SXSW Festival at the Paramount Theatre on March 15. It was a tribute to one of the main leaders of G-funk, Nate Dogg, who passed away on March 15, 2011. The film portrays Warren G, Nate Dogg and Snoop Dogg as a family. “Snoop is one of my best friends,” Warren G said. “We talk all the time, you know. He crazy, but that’s my dog.” As for Nate Dogg, “I miss him. We all miss him,” Warren G added. “Nate wrote songs that people go back to. ‘The Hardest Man in Town,’ that’s one of the dopest records ever,” he said.

Prior to the film’s screening, Warren G and members of the G-Funk crew held a panel at the Austin Convention Center. The panel featured filmmaker and director of G-Funk, Karam Gill; executive producer, Matt Carpenter and producers; Warren G, Gary Ousdahl, Robert Ruggeri and Rafael Chavez.

Gill, who is 22 years old, began filming G-Funk as an undergrad at Chapman University. Warren G met Gill at one of his shows in Orange County, Calif. “He came in with his buddy, Daniel, and asked, ‘Can I film your show tonight?’ I was like, ‘Shit, it’s all good,’” Warren G said during the panel. When Gill showed him the concert footage a few days later, Warren G was impressed. “The stuff he was doing was off the chain—this guy can help me get my documentary laid out how I want to, and that’s how he came on board,” Warren G said. G-Funk portrays the ups and downs of the journey of an artist, “back then when I was young … I’m still young, I ain’t that old. I just went through a lot—I knew that I wanted to do a story just talking about a lot of the things that I went through before I started getting success,” Warren G said.

According to the film producer, Ruggeri, while many producers might think it insane to put their complete faith in a 22-year-old director, Gill was prepared and competent. “We flew our investor [out] to meet him and Warren and the four other producers. Karam had every single thing laid out. This film was in his head because he had been traveling with Warren previously—he had the passion and we could see this in his eyes, that this guy had it all under control,” Ruggeri said.

To Gill, G-funk is the backbone of all pop songs today. “Rappers were never singing on songs before Nate Dogg,” Gill said. “When you are thinking about Drake and hip-hop artists who sing, that’s a by-product of G-funk.”  In the hit song “Regulate,” Nate Dogg would sing on the track while Warren G would rap to it, combining singing and rapping into one song. This is an example of how G-Funk influenced hip-hop as we know it. According to Gill, G-Funk is an homage to Nate Dogg. “Nate would have wanted it to be a celebration,” Gill said. “It’s not an RIP Nate movie—it’s celebrating his life in a positive way.”

A soundtrack is to be released along with the documentary. “There’s going to be a lot of G-funk artists who you guys already know, but there’s also going to be new artists there. It’s going to be dope, trust me,” Warren G said. An artist Warren G said he would appreciate working with for the soundtrack is Erykah Badu. “I always wanted to work with her. Her voice is really dope to me, and I would love to hear her on one of my tracks as far as doing a hook and doing verses,” Warren G said. “G-funk never left,” Ruggeri added. “Everything you are hearing right now is influenced by G-funk. We are hoping this movie will revive it.”


Mixtape: Osheaga 2012 – Festival preview

If you’ve never been to Osheaga, you don’t know what you’re missing. Heat, dehydration, screaming crowds, exhaustion and, most notably, a lineup of more than fifty amazing musicians playing at Jean-Drapeau Park for three long days. Despite the less-than-stellar conditions, Osheaga is the most anticipated summer event for any music-savvy Montrealer. This year between Aug. 3 to 5, twenty talented artists—along with many more—will flood our city and play for tens of thousands of people. With big names like Snoop Dogg, Feist, Florence and the Machine and Brand New, Osheaga is bound to be the best three days of your life. Festival passes are now on sale. Let this mixtape be your precursor to Montreal’s most anticipated summer weekend of 2012.

SIDE A: Homegrown, Canadiana

1. “Help, I’m Alive” – Metric – Fantasies
2. “My Moon My Man” – Feist – The Reminder
3. “Grind” – Down With Webster – Time to Win, Vol. 1
4. “We Found Each Other in the Dark” – City and Colour –  Little Hell
5. “A Song About California” – Hey Ocean! – It’s Easier to be Someone Else
6. “I Don’t Know” – The Sheepdogs – Learn & Burn
7. “Tom Cruz” – Plants and Animals – La La Land
8. “Cover Your Tracks” – Young Galaxy – Shapeshifting
9. “Journey of a Lifetime” – Zeds Dead – Single
10. “High for This” – The Weeknd – House of Balloons

SIDE B: Come from afar

11. “Mind Eraser” – The Black Keys – El Camino
12. “Drop it Like it’s Hot” – Snoop Dogg – R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece
13. “Howl” – Florence and the Machine – Lungs
14. “Kissing the Lipless” – The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow
15. “Electric Feel” – MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
16. “Helicopter” – Bloc Party – Little Thoughts (EP)
17. “Cough Syrup” – Young the Giant – Young the Giant
18. “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” – Brand New – Deja Entendu
19. “Jacqueline” – Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
20. “Only Happy When it Rains” – Garbage – Garbage

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