As the NFL put its best on display at Super Bowl XXXIX Sunday (Feb. 6)
in Jacksonville, Florida, hip-hop, too, made its presence known.
With about 140 million viewers expected to tune in, rap stars and R&B
singers alike materialized in high quantity at the biggest football
match-up of the year between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia
During pre-game festivities on Fox, Ludacris provided a
football-themed version of his song "Number One" from his latest Red
Light District album.
The ubiquitous Black Eyed Peas performed their hit "Where is the Love"
during pre-game, and Alicia Keys sang "America the Beautiful" with
backing from the late, great Ray Charles, who perfected his own
version of the song. West Philly-bred rapper/actor Will Smith
introduced his hometown Eagles prior to the match-up.
As for the game, the underdog Eagles were seeking to win their first Superbowl in franchise history.
The Patriots prevailed, however, winning
their third title in four years.
Of course the Super Bowl would be incomplete without the infamous
commercials, which hip-hop stars also graced.
Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, who performed during last year's Super Bowl
halftime show, appeared in a Pepsi spot that parodied his extravagant
arrival to MTV's Video Music Awards on a flatbed truck.
In the ad, Diddy hitches a ride in a Diet Pepsi truck after his car
breaks down. As the hip-hop impresario makes another grand entrance,
other stars, including Eva Longoria, Carson Daly and Xzibit then try
to top Diddy by driving Pepsi trucks. Xzibit also raps over Lakeside's 's "Fantastic Voyage" track, which was later worked into a hit by Coolio with the same title.
Philly native Eve appeared in a separate Pepsi commercial with rock
diva Gwen Stefani, in a spot showing how fans can win free songs
through iTunes. Eve and Gwen step off an elevator as their
collaboration remake of "Rich Girl" plays.
In a game that saw stars from every end of the spectrum, Bill Clinton
to Paul McCartney, not even MC Hammer was exempt from the spotlight.
The 80s rapper was featured in two spots, one for Nationwide as well a short cameo in a Lays commercial, sporting his
trademark Hammer pants and rapping to his classic song "Can't Touch
After some kids throw their baseball over a fence, the neighbor
starts throwing things back - the ball, a dog, a car, and Hammer. The
kids cleverly throw Hammer back.
Other hip-hop cameos included trailers for "The Longest Yard"
featuring Nelly, "Hitch" starring Will Smith and "Be Cool" with Andre
3000. Research shows that movies previewed during the Super Bowl have
had stellar opening weeks.