Dr. Dre made history in February by headlining the first-ever Hip Hop-centric Super Bowl Halftime Show alongside Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige, plus special guests 50 Cent and Anderson .Paak.
Aside from its obvious star power, the lineup had deep Dre connections, with every artist either having worked with the legendary producer or been signed to one of his Death Row Records or Aftermath Entertainment imprints (or both).
One Doctor’s advocate who didn’t get an invite, however, is The Game. During a recent appearance on the I Am Athlete podcast, the Compton rapper — whose 2005 debut album The Documentary was co-executive produced by Dr. Dre and came out on Aftermath — addressed his Super Bowl LVI snub.
The 42-year-old MC believes he was left off the lineup because he isn’t as “safe” as Snoop and co., while describing his exclusion as a further insult considering the Super Bowl was held in his hometown of Los Angeles and featured the L.A. Rams.
“The real reason I wasn’t on the Super Bowl is because I’m not a ‘safe’ artist,” he began. “You don’t know what Game gon’ do when he get up there. They went with the ‘safe’ artists. I feel like this: the Super Bowl is in L.A. It’s a Dr. Dre Super Bowl, but it is JAY-Z. But JAY-Z understands the dynamics of West Coast Hip Hop very well, and I don’t think JAY-Z would’ve had a problem if Dre would’ve said, ‘We bringing Game on the Super Bowl.’
“Outside of myself, I also think that YG should’ve been on the Super Bowl. If it was a New York Super Bowl you might’ve saw JAY-Z, you might’ve saw Nas, you might’ve saw Mary J. and Fivio Foreign and Alicia Keys. We on the West Coast are the only n-ggas that have this crab-in-a-barrel mentality where we wanna keep n-ggas down or don’t do things based on what somebody else might think it looks like.”
He continued, “Snoop Dogg was there because Snoop Dogg is safe, and he a legend. My grandmother knows Snoop! And so do my children. Snoop is an icon, Dre is an icon, Em is an icon — but Em is not from L.A., 50 is not from L.A. I’m not taking away from the fact that they were on the Super Bowl, but L.A. n-ggas wouldn’t have been on a Detroit Super Bowl or New York Super Bowl. It just wouldn’t have happened.
“The fucking Rams was in the Super Bowl, bro! L.A., L.A., L.A., all around the Super Bowl… and I don’t get the call.”
When podcast co-host and former NFL player Brandon Marshall asked him how it felt to be snubbed, The Game admitted he was “hurt” — although he clarified his disappointment was directed at Dr. Dre, not anyone else who performed.
“I was hurt by that,” he said. “And let me tell you, Snoop didn’t do me like that. Kendrick, it’s not his Super Bowl, it’s not Snoop’s Super Bowl. I talked to Snoop about it, Snoop was like, ‘You know, cuz, if it was my Super Bowl, we’d have been in that muthafucka.’ And that’s my uncle and I love him to death.
“I feel like Dre should’ve called and said why. I would’ve understood that because I talk to Dre often. I just know if I was Dre and he was Game, he would’ve been up there. That’s just it, it’s L.A. And I am L.A. I’m in the streets.”
Four months on from the Super Bowl, The Game insists he isn’t nursing any wounds and saluted the performance for what it meant for Hip Hop.
“Now, am I bothered by it today? I’m not bothered by it today,” he added. “I feel that it was an amazing Super Bowl and it was a win for our culture as a whole. I just felt like if it was going to be in L.A. like, n-gga, you know.”
This isn’t the first time The Game has aired out his issues with Dr. Dre this year. During his Drink Champs interview in February, the Compton native ruffled feathers when he claimed Kanye West “did more for me in the last two weeks than Dre did for me my whole career.”
Watch The Game’s full I Am Athlete episode below.