— Isabella Steele 💙 (@MsBellaSteele) February 5, 2018
“Minneapolis, this one’s for you,” Timberlake said as he went into a cover of Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U.” As Timberlake played the song on a piano, a large sheet with videos of Prince performing were shown, with the entire U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis bathed in purple in honor of the late artist.
It should go without saying but Prince’s inclusion was the best part of the show. Even beyond the grave Prince still managed to steal the performance and have Timberlake pay homage to him. After all, never forget the time Timberlake dissed Prince on Timbaland’s 2007 track “Give It To Me,” where he said:
“We missed you on the charts last week / Damn, that’s right you wasn’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.”
As Genius notes, the lyric was in reference to Prince, who joked about Timberlake’s song “SexyBack” during a performance at a post-Emmy Awards party in 2006. Prince reportedly said, “For whoever is claiming they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left!”
Then, in January 2007, Timberlake mocked Prince’s height while accepting an award on his behalf at the Golden Globes. Prince had won the award for “Song of the Heart” from the animated film Happy Feet, but didn’t make it to the ceremony because he was reportedly stuck in traffic.
“I can’t be played. A person trying to play me plays themselves,” Prince once uttered. And I’m sure you already know this Timberlake but just in case you don’t, you played yourself.