When news leaked last month that the Adam Levine–fronted band Maroon 5 would be performing at the Super Bowl halftime show in Atlanta, reactions were … mixed at best. The biggest criticism of the announcement was there are plenty of talented musical artists who are from Atlanta and the surrounding area who could have been chosen instead. On Tuesday, the rapper Quavo joined The Bill Simmons Podcast to talk about the decision and formulate an idea for some Atlanta-centric counterprogramming.
Listen to the full podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.
Bill Simmons: When you were on Atlanta, did you realize that, like, all the beams were crossing?
Quavo: Yeah. It started making sense. We’re part of the Atlanta culture. Being from the north side of Atlanta, everything that comes through Atlanta now got to come through us or our label or our family that’s running Atlanta, ‘cause it’s all like a family tree.
Quavo: And that’s how we feel with the Super Bowl, which is gonna be in Atlanta [this February]. And they did the halftime [entertainment], and they did not pick no Atlanta natives at all.
Simmons: They picked Maroon 5—that wasn’t good enough? [Laughs.]
Quavo: Not to down talk Maroon 5—they great.
Simmons: They’re not from Atlanta.
Quavo: They not from Atlanta. The Super Bowl performance is not about where they from anyway, but this one would have been organic, you know what I mean? Even getting, shit, a Georgian country or rock singer or something, just to be a part of the South and to show the Southern tradition. If you want to do traditional things, NFL, which they always do. … And then they don’t get the vote from the players. They should let the players vote, ‘cause all the dance moves, all the style, all the way of life they put in the game is all hip-hop, is all cultural things.
Simmons: So, what would have been your dream Super Bowl halftime? You guys are there, can we get OutKast?
Quavo: You can get Outkast.
Simmons: Gucci [Mane]?
Quavo: Gucci, for sure.
Simmons: Who else?
Quavo: And we want to see T.I. out there, and you can have Lil Jon come crank the crowd. We love Lil Jon, Cee Lo Green. We got a lot of people.
Simmons: That’s a lot of people for 20 minutes, though.
Quavo: But everybody gets they own one minute. It’s a cultural thing. You pop up like “Boom, boom.” Damn, you just hit them with a timeline of Atlanta culture.
Simmons: See, it was such a missed opportunity in so many ways.
Quavo: And you could have topped it off with the Ludacris and Jermaine Dupri [song] “Welcome to Atlanta.” New style, with a little Migos, and we could have intertwined that in the lab and created a new “Welcome to Atlanta” with us and Jermaine and Luda, perform that. OutKast come out with Cee Lo Green, Lil Jon crank the crowd up: “What?” How can you turn that down?
Simmons: So, here’s what has to happen: Maroon 5 has to do the right thing and bow out. They just have to leave and say, “You know what? We’re blocking one of the great pop culture moments of all time.”
Quavo: That’s a lot of money Maroon 5 gonna turn down, but we’ll string you out, Maroon.
Simmons: Here’s why it didn’t happen: I don’t know if you know this, but the NFL is owned by a bunch of old, rich white guys, and [they] probably didn’t understand one of the names that you just mentioned. I guarantee they didn’t even talk about it, because if they had talked to anybody who knew anything, they would have been like, “You guys realize you could have the greatest Atlanta music moment ever.”
Quavo: Why couldn’t you let the players vote, or let the players decide on the halftime?
Simmons: Have you seen how the owners treat the players in the NFL?
Quavo: Exactly. So, at least give that to the players.
Simmons: Well, so maybe—I’m not willing to give this up yet. You know the NBA loves sticking it to the NFL.
Quavo: NBA always. NBA is for the culture.
Simmons: But maybe they do that for All-Star weekend, they have the Atlanta get-together.
Quavo: We performed last year.
Simmons: No, but they get everybody.
Quavo: Yep, that would be dope, but I credit the NBA, ‘cause they do they job. They respect the culture, and they let us perform, us and Pharrell last year. And like you said, let me play, let me get in late. They do stuff the cultural way. Straight up, they do it the right way, let people have a chance to speak. I think NFL need to open that door a little bit, let the players express themselves. They doin’ it with the touchdown dance, but I feel like—
Simmons: Yeah, it’s like they’re allowing it. “Alright, we’ll let you guys do this one thing.” … Alright, so we’ve accomplished two things today. We gave Trae Young a nickname—Ice Trae. That’s now public.
Quavo: Yes, sir.
Simmons: And then we’re staging a coup d’état with the Super Bowl halftime show. We’re turning that into an Atlanta show.
Quavo: Can we disrupt the program?
Simmons: Maroon 5, they can be there, but they’re just gonna be over on the side kinda clapping for everybody else.
Quavo: See if we can get a hacking system to hack the network. Soon as halftime comes on, it’s just like “We interrupt this program to show you the real halftime show.” Then Lil Jon come through, “What?!”
Simmons: Wait, I have the idea. I think this will work. So, the [State Farm Arena], nothing’s gonna be in there that night, right? So, you get another network to do the real halftime show and you have all the Atlanta people there, and then when the game goes to halftime you flick over to the other channel, and then it’s like Atlanta royalty and you just go for the next half hour.
Quavo: That’s a great idea.
Simmons: That could work. I’m giving that to you, Quavo. You call that the Huncho Halftime Show.
Quavo: Yes, sir.
Simmons: You get everybody. Who’s turning you down for that idea?
Quavo: Oh, nobody.
Simmons: You’d be like, “They’re trying to take our city away from us with Maroon 5 as the halftime show.” That can’t happen.
Quavo: [Laughs.] Leave Maroon 5 out of this, man. It’s got nothing to do with Maroon 5. We not mad at them. We mad at the other people, bro.
Simmons: You gotta take your city back. [State Farm] Arena. What channel? We’ll take bidders right now.