With Super Bowl LVI just a few short weeks away, many are anticipating the star-studded Halftime Show performance featuring iconic musicians Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem and the Queen Of Hip-Hop Soul herself Mary J. Blige, all gracing the stage to pay tribute to hip-hop.
With MJB being the sole female and primary artist credited with merging the worlds of hip-hop and R&B, it goes without saying that her portion of the performance will certainly be a highlight. However, her recent cover story for the February 2022 issue of ELLE Magazine revealed that she’ll only be performing one song from her celebrated catalog given the loaded lineup of performers.
So, how does the Queen Of Hip-Hop Soul choose just one of her many hits to perform on the biggest night in sports entertainment?
Blige told ELLE that she’s leaning towards selecting her 2001 hit “Family Affair,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 6 weeks and still stands as her only #1 single on that chart. She also has an affinity towards performing the song in this instance because the title signifies a ‘family affair’ within hip-hop culture, telling ELLE, “We are the culture; [hip-hop artists] give people a way to speak. We give people a way to walk. We give people a way to talk. We give people a way to think. That’s what hip-hop and hip-hop soul have done for our culture since [the beginning].”
While “Family Affair” is definitely not a bad choice to turn the Super Bowl into a dancery — or is it dance soirée? — we also have a few more suggestions that Mary can pick given her 30-year career, ranging from the bangers on her 1992 debut album What’s the 411? to her upcoming LP, Good Morning Gorgeous, that drops just days before the big show.
Keep scrolling to peep 10 classic Mary J. Blige songs that we think she could perform other than “Family Affair” during the
Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show:
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1. “What’s the 411?” feat. Grand Puba (1992)
Not only is the title track off Mary’s debut LP her first hip-hop soul classic, it also would make for a perfect full-circle moment to perform three decades from the start of her career. Extra points if she brought out the Brand Nubian emcee.
2. “Back To Life 2001” feat. DJ Clue & Jadakiss
Definitely a street classic that merges perfectly with the Halftime Show’s hip-hop theme. Also, Jadakiss would make for a timely guest cameo given his resurged popularity following VERZUZ.
3. “All That I Can Say” feat. Lauryn Hill [backing vocals] (1999)
This would make a perfect occasion for Lauryn to add an extra verse other than the backing vocals, and it would be a great moment of female unity.
4. “One” feat. U2 (2006)
U2 seems like a band that would fare well with a Super Bowl audience, which would easily make Mary’s performance even more memorable.
5. “Be Happy” (1994)
Guaranteed to get a stadium of sports fans bopping their heads to this jazzy hit.
6. “I Can Love You” feat. Lil Kim (1997)
Mary doesn’t have to be the only female at the show if she brought this classic banger to the stage and had the Queen Bee to assist.
7. “Real Love” (1992)
One of her signature songs, “Real Love” would be a hit at the Super Bowl just off the strength of how many people know and love it enough to sing along to every word.
8. “Just Fine” (2007)
There’s something about “Just Fine” that can put even the Grinch in the spirit to dance. It’s that catchy!
9. “Amazing” feat. DJ Khaled (2021)
Although one of her newer songs, it would be great for MJB to show that she’s still able to make hits in today’s music climate by performing this alongside the ever-eclectic DJ Khaled.
10. “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By” feat. Method Man (1995)
If we’re talking hip-hop collabs, none will ever top Meth and Mary’s GRAMMY-winning duet. Pairing it with the “Razor Sharp” remix would be icing on the cake.