When the lineup for the 2022 Super Bowl halftime show was announced, it was easy to view it through the lens of a heist movie crew joining forces for one last job. Led by Dr. Dre, the performance will feature icons of the ‘90s and ‘00s in Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Snoop Dogg, along with Dre’s late-career protege Kendrick Lamar.
We now have the first commercial for the big February 13 spectacle, and it leans all the way into the getting-the-gang-back-together ethos. It’s titled “The Call,” but Dre’s Five would’ve worked, too. The commercial was directed by F. Gary Gray, whose best known features include The Italian Job, The Fate of the Furious, and Straight Outta Compton, the N.W.A. biopic that Dre co-produced.
Each artist is shown in their element before receiving the bat signal from Dre. Eminem is moving words around on a virtual screen like Tony Stark discovering a new element, while that cartoonishly fast verse from “Rap God” plays in the background. Next up is Snoop, leading a caravan of lowriders set to “The Next Episode” (in a thoughtful touch, they specifically play Nate Dogg’s vocals from the outro). A glamorous Mary J. is getting prepped for what looks like a runway shoot, and her visage is suddenly shown on a Times Square billboard while the Dre-produced “Family Affair” plays. Then Kendrick is shown furiously scribbling lyrics as the menacing notes of “Humble” boom through. Last up is Dr. Dre himself, walking along a beach where the waves lap over piano keys playing the opening chords of “Still D.R.E.” The whole thing feels very Avengers, with the graying goateed Dre in full Nick Fury mode.
Unsurprisingly, the commercial ends with 2pac’s “California Love"—L.A.’s SoFi Stadium is the site of the big game, and three of the five artists hail from the city.
Not since the 2004 Super Bowl brought together Jessica Simpson, Janet Jackson, Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock, and Justin Timberlake has the event gone for this kind of multi-star split billing. There’s a long history of special guests–but this is obviously something different, and it’ll be interesting to see how they divvy up the relatively tight timeslot.