With the football season kicking off last week, today the NFL announced that pop rock band Maroon 5 will perform the halftime show for 2019’s Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. As in previous years, the announcement has spurred a wave of discontented outcry online, with the main argument against stemming from the fact that a city with as much musical history as Atlanta should be able to field a local act with as much broad spectrum appeal as Maroon 5.
Or maybe the mega-corporate ownership of the NFL could try to forego mass appeal for once? After all, one of the league’s biggest business partners just made a huge show of endorsing the current thorn in the league’s paw, Colin Kaepernick, after the NFL basically excommunicated and blackballed him through the 2017-2018 season. Now, Kap’s embroiled the league in a complaint for collusion to keep him off the field for his non-violent protest, so it’s likely the NFL could use a PR win and embrace the increasing diversity of the country that has largely rallied behind the former QB.
If the NFL did want to imitate the tremendous growth that rival leagues like the NBA have gained by embracing youth culture, it could do worse than signing on an Atlanta-based hip-hop act to project a progressive sense of cool over the once-stodgy proceedings of its biggest game of the year. While it’s probably already way too late for them to reconsider Maroon 5 — who are likely to bring out a bunch of progressive hip-hop acts of their own, judging from their most recent album, which featured Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar, and Future — in our idealized, fictional world, these are the rappers and singers who could carry the halftime show through sheer showmanship and a catalog of certified hits.
The artist formerly known as Tity Boi might not be the most logical selection to highlight at the Super Bowl halftime show given his relative lack of name recognition among the broader American public, but if you’re looking for an artist who can unite the modern trap scene especially, 2 Chainz is your dude. The man has a stacked rolodex and has worked with just about every major hip-hop talent on the planet, in both the ATL and beyond. Hell, who wouldn’t want to see him go toe-to-toe with Lil Wayne and Chance The Rapper for “No Problem,” or bring together Kanye and the GOOD Music crew for “Mercy,” or end Drake and Kendrick Lamar’s cold war with a reprise of “F*ckin’ Problems” along with ASAP Rocky? Wake up America!–Corbin Reiff
While Ciara’s career exploded in the early 2000s, she’s experienced a lull that’s plagued many artists transitioning from the traditional sales world to the new streaming era. However, after her short-lived romantic collab with fellow ATLien, Future, which resulted in the cult favorite “Body Party” and more recently, her new high-profile relationship with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has put her back in the spotlight in a big way. Who better to perform at the biggest football event of the year than someone with an intimate connection to the game?