The set – a brilliant-white interpretation of a Compton street, complete with 50 Cent hanging upside down from the ceiling to recreate his 2003 hit In Da Club – had a hydraulic DJ deck which rivalled the Starship Enterprise. Mary J Blige sang from the roof and fell back in excitement. All the while, Snoop swapped flogging takeaways for a regal blue-and-gold tracksuit and The Next Episode and California Love. Rumours that 2Pac would appear from the grave as a hologram proved unfounded, but in playing the piano riff to I Ain’t Mad At Cha before closing with Still Dre, the producer delivered the perfect closer, celebrating west-coast iconography and winning back credibility among black fans.
Lamar’s performance of Alright, the soundtrack to countless Black Lives Matter protests, was at the heart of the show and came five years after the NFL effectively banned its players from the right to protest against racism in the wake of Colin Kaepernick taking a knee. When Eminem paid tribute to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s stand moments later, dropping to his knee after spitting the lyric “this opportunity comes once in a lifetime” from Lose Yourself, it felt pointed and symbolic. Rumours abound the NFL rejected Eminem’s request to take the knee, but he did so anyway.