Hip-hop won at the Super Bowl on Sunday night. Dr. Dre popped out with an all-star line-up. Kendrick Lamar also popped out for one of his first televised performances in years. Of course, fans had high hopes that the Compton native would’ve debuted new music, though that never happened. Instead, Kendrick came through with a spectacular performance that opened with “m.A.A.d city” before transitioning into “Alright.” 


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“Alright” became a protest anthem over the years for the Black Lives Matter movement and it doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that Kendrick chose this record, in particular, to perform during the Super Bowl. The NFL continues to face backlash over Colin Kaepernick‘s dismissal from the league after he took a knee in protest against police brutality. Brian Flores also accused the league of racial discrimination in their hiring tactics. 

Kendrick breezed through the record but fans quickly noted that he omitted the term “popo” from the bar, “And we hate popo, wanna kill us dead in the streets, fo sho.” Of course, some believed that the censored line was the work of the NFL to appease corporate sponsors and right-wing audiences who would’ve preferred to see Kid Rock on stage.

The interesting thing about the term being excluded from Kendrick’s performance was that Dr. Dre later rapped the original bars from “Still D.R.E” where he raps, “Still not loving police.” 

A previous report claimed that the NFL attempted to prevent Dr. Dre from rapping that bar in particular and tried to stop Eminem from taking a knee in honor of Colin Kaepernick. However, a rep for the NFL called those claims “erroneous,” explaining that they already watched several rehearsals throughout the week.

“We watched every rehearsal this week and these elements were included,” the statement read. “As you know, no player, coach, or personnel member has been sanctioned for taking a knee so there would be no reason for us to tell a performer he or she could not for whatever reason.”

Check out a few reactions to Kendrick’s performance below.