There was a lot to look forward to during the 2018 Super Bowl. Would Pink sing the national anthem, despite having the flu? She did, and she crushed it. Would Janet Jackson make an appearance during the halftime show? She did not, even though she should have been the headliner. And, perhaps the biggest question of all: Would Justin Timberlake perform with a Prince hologram? He did not. But he DID perform with a Prince projection, and Twitter immediately turned the moment into a meme.
After the Super Bowl (and a ridiculously emotional episode of This Is Us), Justin Timberlake stopped by The Tonight Show to recap everything that happened with BFF Jimmy Fallon. He spilled all of his feelings about honoring Prince during the halftime show. JT’s performance included singing “I Would Die 4 U” with a Prince projection and projecting Prince’s signature Love Album Symbol on the city of Minneapolis.
“It’s a moment for me, if I’m being quite honest,” Justin told Jimmy. “Because he’s always been the pinnacle of musicianship for me. And when we decided that — like, the serendipity and synergy that we would be in Minneapolis — and that, you know, he’s such a special thing here, aside from what he is all over the world, I just felt like I wanted to do something for this city and something for him that would just be the ultimate homage to what I consider the GOAT of musicians.”
But fans were quick to bring up the time that Timberlake dissed Prince on Timbaland’s song “Give It To Me.”
Timberlake sang: “We missed you on the charts last week / Damn, that’s right you weren’t there / Now if se-sexy never left, then why is everybody on my shi-i-it? / Don’t hate on me just because you didn’t come up with it.” The lyrics were likely a direct response to Prince once commenting on JT’s song “Sexyback.” Prince once reportedly said: “For whoever is claiming they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left!”
Despite their lyrical beef, it sounds like Justin Timberlake’s tribute came from a place of love and respect.
JT also made one thing clear: Questlove approved of his performance. “Questlove is the encyclopedia on music. But also like, I feel like a gatekeeper on Prince,” he told Jimmy. “So, like, if I got the thumbs up from Quest, I’m good.” Questlove confirmed with a thumbs up and a simple: “It was dope.”
Watch Justin Timberlake’s full interview with Jimmy Fallon below.
“I just wanted to use that opportunity to do something special for this city, but most of all, for my favorite musician of all time.”
We appreciate the thought and agree that Prince is the best. But given how outspoken Prince’s friends and family were about NOT using his image, maybe stick to just covering the song next time, Justin.