Puff Daddy
1997 Man of the Year

puffdaddy2.jpgIf there was ever any question about the strength of Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs’ drive and ambition, 1997 put it to rest. Already a millionaire music mogul making an unprecedented transition into the role of performer, the Bad Boy Records founder was halfway through recording his debut album (which was originally titled Hell Up in Harlem) when his friend, and his label’s flagship artist, the Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed in Los Angeles. (This in March, six months after Big’s archrival, Tupac Shakur, had met a similar fate in Las Vegas). Rather than holing up and mourning in private, though, Puff made a spectacle of his grief. Fueled by every bit of controversy and complaint that came his way, he donned a wardrobe full of shiny suits, poured Champagne and danced. He recorded a tribute song, “I’ll Be Missing You,” that debuted at No.1 on the pop charts three months after Big’s death and stayed there for seven weeks, going on to sell three million copies. He released his album, retitled No Way Out, in July. It would eventually sell five million copies. He launched a 35-city tour with a massive stage set and a rotating cast of 15 supporting acts. The tour grossed $14.7 million. Throwing himself onto a bigger stage than ever, blowing himself and his label to higher heights than anyone in hip-hop had reached before, Puff showed the world exactly what he meant when he said it don’t stop.

A decade later, the relentless 37-year-old remembers the time.

Looking back to 1997, is that the year you blew up in the music industry?
I would say it was the biggest year for me as a recording artist. I was kinda big already in the music industry, ’cause, as a producer and owning a record company, I had already did Mary J. Blige and Jodeci and Biggie and Ma$e. But this was the year, for me as a recording artist, that I got all the respectful accolades, as far as eight American Music Award nominations and the Grammy and the biggest-selling hip-hop tour in history. It was one of those huge crossover times for hip-hop, because all my videos were in heavy rotation, and opening up the MTV Awards as a hip-hop act. It was just a lot of hip-hop historical things. Even the No Way Out tour. If you remember back, they had shut hip-hop tours down, so it was the first tour since they went through that whole phase, and it really opened up hip-hop touring back. And when you look at all the acts I had on the tour—we had Usher, Jay, Busta, Foxy—everybody was on that tour. And to be honest, everybody wanted to be on that tour. Everybody came on and took less money and cut they time down and wanted to be a part of it. That tour was a changing point, as far as in hip-hop history, for touring.

Do you think No Way Out the album changed hip-hop?
I don’t honestly think that album was one of those albums that changed hip-hop. I think that it was one of the albums that gave birth to a new type of artist. It’s a classic album and one of the best albums in hip-hop, but I don’t know if it was one of those… Like, I think The Chronic changed the game. Ready to Die, Life After Death changed the game. All Eyez on Me. It’s a different type, but I think it raised the bar, as far as on consistency. It was like a movie that was an ensemble. Almost like Pulp Fiction. I wouldn’t say it changed the game, but I think this album opened doors for hip-hop.

——- Read the rest of our Puff Daddy feature in XXL’s September 2007 issue (#95)

XXL Staff Picks for 1997

Songs of the Year:

“Hypnotize,” Notorious B.I.G.
“All About The Benjamins,” Puff Daddy featuring Notorious B.I.G., Lil’ Kim & the Lox
“No Time,” Lil’ Kim featuring Puff Daddy
“Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems,” Notorious B.I.G. featuring Ma$e & Puff Daddy
“Let Me Clear My Throat,” DJ Kool
“Smile,” Scarface featuring 2Pac
“I Miss My Homies,” Master P featuring Silkk the Shocker & Pimp C
“Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See,” Busta Rhymes
“Triumph,” Wu-Tang Clan
“Hail Mary,” 2Pac featuring the Outlawz

Albums of the Year:

Life After Death, Notorious B.I.G.
Wu-Tang Forever, Wu-Tang Clan
The Carnival, Wyclef Jean
Ghetto D, Master P
No Way Out, Puff Daddy & the Family

  • http://xxlmag.com Bol

    And here I thought I was the man of the year in 2007.

  • Holla

    Biggie should have been man of the year. Without him Puffy is nobody.

  • Johnny9

    dope list – i agree

  • ALBANY4LIFE

    PUFFY IS A SUCCESSFUL BLACK MAN AND I GIVE HIM RESPECT 4 THAT,BUT HE IS ONE OF THE MOST TALENTLESS ACTS EVER IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY.HIS MUSIC HAS ALWAYS BEEN A JOKE,HE ADMITS TO USING GHOSTWRITERS,AND OTHER PEOPLE PRODUCE ALL OF THE BAD BOY HITS.TO MAKE SHIT WORSE,HE HAS FUCKED ALL HIS ARTISTS OUT OF MONEY AND HAS NO INTEREST IN PROMOTING ANY NY TALENT.JAY AND FIF AT LEAST HAVE GIVEN RAPPERS IN THEY OWN CITY A CHANCE TO SHINE BUT PUFF HAS ALWAYS BEEN TO SELFISH TO WANT ANYONE NEXT TO HIM GETTIN TO MUCH ATTENTION.HIS MAKIND DA BAND SHOWS ARE ONLY TO FURTHER PROMOTE HIMSELF,NOT TO PUT TOGETHER BULLSHIT GROUPS THAT HE KNOWS WONT LAST A YEAR.KEEP SELLIN COLOGNE BUT PLEASE LEAVE THE STUDIO ALONE!

  • Makaveli-the-God

    how has puffy lasted this long?off of biggies name now go eat shit u rich muthafucker

  • b-ease

    IBiggie should have been man of the year. Without him Puffy is nobody

    ^^^^^^^^^^
    As much as i hate to admit it, without puffy, biggie woulda been a nobody. Puff woulda never conquered entertainment without Big but he damn sure woulda been rich.

    I’ve never listened to Carnival all the way through. Gonna have to do that ASAP. I woulda put War Report in the top 5 of that year.

  • these posts are racist

    I was a senior in high school in 1997. I miss those days of hip hop…every minute, it seemed, a classic song hit the streets. 10 years later, Puffy is still on top, but rap isn’t the same.

  • Kid Anonymous757

    I miss the 90′s dawg

  • Tyler

    He did his thing witout a doubt but now, he just needs to go away.
    SolutionsGlobalMedia.com aka SGM7.com
    Love it or Hate it, Tell a Friend.

  • these posts are racist

    Compare the songs from 1997 to today’s rap. The hook in the songs of 1997 (except for “Triumph”, which doesn’t have a hook) was simply a mini-break from the real meat, the lyrics and flow…it gave you a few seconds to absorb how dope the verse was and gets you excited for the next verse. 2007 rap is all about the hook. The versus are a break from the hook which is the “meat” of the song…i.e. a catchy nonesensical string of words sung/rapped in a lame elementary melody…

    As Wu Tang said “The dumb are mostly intrigued by the drum…”

  • yolanda

    lame.

  • Mean Greene

    And people say hip-hop died in 2007…

  • dolo

    97 = turn for the worst .. the beginning of the end ..

  • Holla

    What happened to the songs? Did the RIAA complain or some shit lol

  • RostaBeef

    no time shouldn’t be on that list – that song was wack

  • Cassidy Sucks

    good issue – even though that cover is homo as hell

  • p shitty

    If anybody needs to retire from the game it’s Diddy.

  • http://xxlmag.com skinheadbob

    OH POOR MONKIES THE WHITEMAN WILL BANE HIPEDY HOP YOU KNOW WHY?NIGGERS ARE SLAVES THEY HAVE NO RIGHTS, A MONKEY HAS NO RIGHT, ALL YOU BABOONS NEED TO BE PUT IN A ZOO UGLY STUPID FUCKING NIGGERS GO BACK TO AFRICA MOTHERFUCKERS GO EAT A BANANA OH OH AH AH EE EE STUPID MONKIES HAHA.WHITE POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hot Pocket

    where is the war report and rakim’s album? those are way better than master p and fucking puff daddy.

  • Holla

    97 was a good year, i dont know what everybody is complaining about

  • Hell Raiser

    fuck 97 and fuck puffy – u ruined hip hop with those faggot shiny suits

  • Travis

    Preserve my sexy with proactive

  • Cheeba

    LOL @ wyclef only getting 2 votes in that poll.

  • Ski

    I think no way out changed hip-hop for the better – happy music is awesome

  • Ski

    I think no way out changed hip-hop for the better – happy music is awesomee

  • Pimp C

    Fuck Puffy. New York ain’t the east coast – check the time zone nigga

  • brebre

    DO NOT FORGET THE HISTORY, YOUNG NIGGAS. PUFF & SUGE SET UP THE MURDER OF TUPAC.

    END OF DISCUSSION.

  • thewayiare

    diddy aint nothing just a biggie dick rider if he was still alive theyd probably be beefin over money no one aint gonna remember diddy for rappin

  • http://www.xxlmag.com RApId tOnGuE

    I POP LIKE DIDDY/AND SHOOT NIGGAZ NINE TIMES LIKE FIFTY/LONG BEACH IS MY CITY/THE CITY BY THE BAY/COME FIND ME, IM ON P.C.H AND M.L.K!!HOLLA BACK!!!

  • pimp c you’re the bomb

    lol at pimp c, i spit my water on my laptop…

  • MidEast

    That skinhead bob keep a brother laughing though, it’s very entertaining.I think of clayton bigsby from the chapelle show.
    Black……..i mean white power!

  • David

    PUFF DADDY………….WTF…….BIGGIE SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE ALL THE WAY….LIFE AFTER DEATH IS A MEGA CLASSIC…..and am white so i should LOVE P.Diddys RNB-ish sound. BUT BIGGIE SHOULD HAVE BEEN MAN OF THE YEAR

  • dolo

    No, 97 really stunk arse …

  • dolo

    yeah someone mentioned the war report. . also ONe day itll all make sense, NO ID’s lp, Stone Crazy by the beatnuts, and funcrusher plus

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  • BklynBandette

    Diddy, Oooops, Puff Daddy was the SHIT in 97/98. 8 out of 10 songs that were in heavy rotation on the radio were produced by him and the HitMen. Whether it was SWV(Someone), New Edition (You Don’t Have To Worry), KRS-One (Step Into A World- REMIX), etc.- He Was Doin’ It. I Think People are blinded by the disgust we all have for him now in the ’07, and trying to cancel out 97.

    Just A Woman’s Perspective.
    Holla If Ya Hear Me …

    P.S.- And let me just add- for all y’all who feel that BIG made Puff- it was a collective effort on both parts. Big had the Talent and Puff had the vision. And together they were a winning combination. Think about it. Folks are quick to point out how Artists leave the label due to money disputes. Who doesn’t? But no one notices how all his former artist have moved on to do Smaller and Worse Things. It Makes You Wonder How Did ALL of them Go from Bad to Worse. Damn, The Industry Is Tricky.

  • kandonga

    Puff was the shit the and is still the shit now: still relevant and a succesfull biz man. cosign with bklyndette, all puffy’s artists were much better off in badboy than in their current situation.
    why must we hate on puffy so much, yes he brought the shinny suits and his music isnt that great, but why arent we mad at the producers/label execs of mc hammer, vanilla ice, etc,. puff is an exec and is putting music out there to sell weather it b craig mack or young joc, pls leave the man alone, u dodnt like his products dont buy it, but dont blame him for the fall of hip hop, there are a llot of white label execs that have much more power and put out crapier music than puff.

  • J Fris

    Fuck Puffy this man singled handed ruined Hip Hop. I don’t even listen to the biggie songs on which you can hear him!

  • king equality victorious

    Puff should give yall niggas hope you dont even have to be a good rapper to get paid the boy is about his paper puff still spending biggie,mary , faith, total, 112, mase,lox,craig mack hell the nigga even getting runs house and making of the band money not to count all them damn remix if it wasn’t for puff hiphopper would still just be bobing their heads he got hiphop back in the club and I aint even a puffy fan but you gotta give credit where credit is due

  • http://www.xxlmag.com RApId tOnGuE

    ITS THE METAPHYSICAL, SPIRITUAL INDIVIDUAL WHO DOESNT STOP WITH THIS LYRICAL MADNESS/AND IF YOU DONT UNDERSTAND THIS I’LL SPIT IT IN SPANISH!!/FAR FROM AVERAGE!!!COME ON RAPPERS…WHERE YOU AT?/DONT BITE MY SHIT!!!

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  • http://www.xxlmag.com RApId tOnGuE

    HEY YO, WATS UP XXL MAGAZINE!!!I HAVE A GREAT IDEA THAT WILL MAKE YOUR MAGAZINE MORE INTERESTING…YA’LL SHOULD HAVE AN ONLINE FREESTYLE BATTLE BETWEEN USERS ON THE COMMENT PAGE AND PRINT THE BEST ONE’S!!AFTER ALL, IT IS A HIP-HOP MAGAZINE, MIGHT AS WELL HAVE FREESTYLE BATTLES ON THE INTERNET, RIGHT?

  • FrenchyBlaq

    “I had already did Mary J. Blige and Jodeci and Biggie and Ma$e. But this was the year, for me as a recording artist,”
    He wuz the man of the year thanks to Biggie, Puffy owe dis dude so much … He’s gettin’ money ok… he’s famous ok …. And then whut ? he can’t spit… Can’ t write his own shit… Call him whuteva you want but this dude ain’t a fuckin’ artist… Real headz know whut I’m talkin’ bout u got dudes dat even got no talent on the mic or on the boards and get credit where it’s not due … he ain’t no fuckin’ artist(PT.2)… He’s a hustla not both juss a hustla dat use other people’s talent to get more money … he ain’t nuthin’ special … Medias make him look special … Fuck dis shit youngn’ wake uuuuup!!!

  • Fat gorilla gay tha d*ck ryder

    Shut da f*ck up FrenchyBlaq … Puffy is rich gettin’ money successful that’s all that matters in this world of chaos as long as you’ re pushin’ those fly whips take your private Jet and shining with those bling bling you don’t need nuthin’ else … ( OoooOOh Daayumn I’d like to get money like Puffy too, I’m fat, broke ,sittin’ on a couch surfing on the internet with my black hoodie on…Gangsta hustla…. ain’t it?)

  • FrenchyBlaq

    On s’en bas les couilles !!!

  • Cuban Link

    Sure, hes not talented, but this dude wrote the book for cats like 50 Cent.I mean when it comes o buisness, Puffy has this shit on lock.and in 1997, Bad Boy was at their peak

  • Jones

    Why are people always complaining? Yes he is not the best rapper, yes his artist are always unhappy, yes biggie is the foundation in his music career and YES HE HAS ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY UR HOUSE SO SHUT UP AND MAKE MONEY LIKE HE DID!!!!

  • allcityunseen

    to the dumbass skin head all people on this earth have african descent in thier dna . so whos the monkey monkey .

  • Holla

    gotta respect puffy

  • dolo

    How the fukk is ‘off the books’ not in your top singles . Fukk outta here

    My top 5 rapmags in 1997 (really first 4 no particular order)
    1. Ego Trip (shouts to yn)
    2. On the Go
    3. Rappages
    4. Stress (free Ket!!)
    5. The Source (steadily declining)

  • rizzop

    As much as i hate to admit it, without puffy, biggie woulda been a nobody………………………..So did puff give that man his flow? Would he have stopped rapping if he never met puff? Maybe he wouldve never gotten a deal with anyone else? Shit he might have been alive if it wasnt for puffy..

  • Kizman

    Intro – Dope but dramatic

    Victory – 5 MICS (Started the album off with a Classic)

    Been Around The World – 5 MICS (Big, Ma$e and Diddy on another Classic song)

    What You Gonna Do 4 MICS (A dope storytelling song, sounded like something Biggie or Black Rob would spit a story over)

    Don’t You Stop What You Doing – 3.5 MICS (Decent record, Lil Kim and Faith come through but it’s only OK)

    If I should die Tonight (Interlude) – Carl Thomas made the track

    Do You Know – 4 MICS (Beat was fire, Puffy came through too. Kelly Price voice is so underrated and amazing)

    Young G’s – 5 MICS (Big, Jay and Puff with Kelly killing the hook with a hard beat)

    I Love You Baby – 5 MICS (Black Rob and Puff drop an amazing storytelling)

    All About The Benji’s -5 MICS (Is there any debate that this isn’t one of the greatest rap songs of all time? Classic)

    Pain – 5 MICS (Deep song)

    Is This The End – 5 MICS (This joint has a little timbaland style with
    the double time beat but it’s dope and Twist Diddy and Ginuwine kill it)

    I Got The Power – 4 MICS (Lox drove the track, beat was cool too)

    Friend – 3.5 MICS (One of the weaker joints on the album. Foxy was OK but the song is only alright. Beat was straight)

    Senorita – 4 MICS (This was a guilty pleasure of mines. I would of liked it better if Ma$e had a verse over this)

    I’ll Be Missing You – 5 MICS (One of Hip Hop Biggest songs ever and Eulogized one of the greatest rappers ever)

    Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down – 5 MICS (Classic Beat that was flipped for modern audiences but Ma$e and Puff Killed it)

    MIC AVERAGE: 4.53

    Yes the album is Classic and it’s not Low Key. The purist hated Puff
    but the reality was he was dropping Classic and Quality songs and music.
    It’s funny that “No Way Out” stands up with a lot of albums released
    today. Sure there was a lot of hit songs on it that blew the album up.
    But the album is very solid. The guest features enhance the album.
    There’s honestly only a few weak joints, the rest is fire. But it’s now
    a Low Key Classic. The album sold Over Diamond worldwide. The singles
    sold over Diamond worldwide. He had 2 #1 (Missing You, Can’t Nobody) hits, 2 #2 Hits (Benji’s and Been around the world) and a Top 20 hit (Victory). That’s 5 hit singles.

    Puffy could of very well had 4 #1
    hits on this album if “Missing You” and “Life After Death” was
    smashing sh!t. Now the biggest rock you can throw at the album was
    Puffy’s performance. Yes he had some really good ghostwriters. But
    sometimes his flow was a little off. You could tell he was basically
    still learning how to rap. But the production, guest features and
    quality songs make up for that. “No Way Out” is a Legendary album in
    Hip Hop for it’s success and for better or worst making the CEO/Rapper
    trend. It’s been 16 years and Puffy hasn’t made anything near as
    Classic as this album.