Sunday night’s NBA All-Star basketball game in Los Angeles also featured an all-star lineup of musical performers. Meek Mill headlined the show, opening with a medley of tracks from his 2018 album Championships, including “Intro,” “Going Bad,” and “Uptown Vibe” — and a throwback, 2012’s “Dreams and Nightmares (Intro).” His performance is bookended by the All-Star players’ introductions, but the announcement of all the names actually adds to Meek’s energy, giving an already thrilling performance even more urgency.
J. Cole performed his KOD track “ATM” and recent single “Middle Child” at the game’s halftime show. During the high-energy performance, J. Cole made sure to shout out to his friend and collaborator 21 Savage. After rapping a few lines of their song “A Lot,” Cole looked into the camera and spoke for everyone: “21 Savage, we love you.”
R&B singer Anthony Hamilton delivered the kind of creative acoustic version of “The Star Spangled Banner” that Fergie was aiming for (and sailed right past) last year, and Canada’s sweetheart Carly Rae Jepsen performed “O Canada.”
The night’s performances make a great case for why hip-hop stars should headline more major sports events. Meek and J. Cole got the crowd hyped with half the stage fireworks that Maroon 5 had for the Super Bowl halftime show — and arguably brought even more energy. J. Cole was the first-ever solo rapper to headline the game’s halftime show, but hopefully the first of many to come.
Watch the NBA All-Star Game performances above.