So we were in the barber shop this weekend contemplating Bad Boy’s run as a label. You know Puff used to say “I thought I told ya that we won’t stop” so much, I actually started to believe dude. Jokes on me huh? I mean I’m far from a hater but Day 26 and Danity Kane just ain’t my shit. And while Puff always had a roster of dope rappers (respect due to Ness and Aasim), why he doesn’t put them out is confusing to me. Still, despite their current positioning in the game Bad Boy had one of the greatest runs of any hip-hop label. But when exactly did the house that Big built fall the fuck off? Some would say the label died when Notorious did (right Jackpot?), but I beg to differ.
I won’t front when Biggie got murdered I counted Bad Boy out, but Puff still managed to put out a mix of both radio hits and street bangers. Here are 10 of the dopest Bad Boy songs A.B. (aka After Big). –Rob the Music Ed
** Before you start bitching about where’s Lil Kim, she wasn’t actually signed to Bad Boy. I’m also not counting Yung Joc (one because I don’t personally dig his music and two because he is really a Block Ent. Artist, Puffy just piggybacked that deal).
10. “Ready” – Black Rob: The first single off of Robbie O’s sophomore album was criminally slept-on. Scram Jones’ rolling military drum track was the perfect compliment to BR’s gruff vocal tone. And the lyrics were on point too (“I’m the up top gangsta, I’m the star in the hood/One of the few motherfuckers that ain’t scared of Suge“).
9. “We’ll Always Love Big Poppa” – The LOX: L.O.X’s proper debut single definitely struck a sentimental chord after Frank White’s untimely death. While Puff’s “I’ll Be Missing You,” ruled the pop charts, Kiss, Sheek and Styles made the thugs cry.
8. “Bad Boyz” – Shyne: Before Shyne became rap’s favorite convict (sorry Akon); he was hip-hop’s most hated. His vocal similarities to the Notorious one drew angst amongst rap circles and there were serious doubts as to whether or not dude would pop off. However, this Barrington Levy-assisted heat rock was undeniably ill. Guess we gotta thank Nicky Barnes for hittin’ his moms.
7. “Special Delivery” – G.Dep: Remember the collective hip-hop gasp when Puff signed the kid from Gangstarr’s “The Mall.” I can’t front I didn’t understand that one either, but when it was all said and done G Deputy’s debut was a solid one with “Special Delivery” ringing off crazy- oh yeah the remix was ill too, shout to Ghostface and Keith Murray!
6. “I Dare You” – Black Rob: This one was a NYC street classic. The menacing track and A&R Harve Pierre’s singing hook were insane. I couldn’t believe Puff pushed Rob’s release date back after this joint dropped, but then again it forced BR back into the studio to record “Whoa.” Diddy was right, I was wrong.
5. “24 Hours to Live” – Ma$e: Folks forgot, but before “P. Diddy made him pretty” the cat formerly known as Murder Ma$e was a pretty good rapper with tons of street respect. This concept track off of his Harlem World debut featured The Lox, Black Rob and DMX and once again proved that Bad Boy can churn out club hits and street bangers with equal vigor.
4. “Let’s Get It” – P. Diddy: Actually this was originally a G.Dep solo cut before Puff jacked it for his 2nd album The Saga Continues… That’s why the track had 5 verses. The song’s video also brought the Harlem Shake to the world for better or for worse.
3. “Money, Power, Respect” – The Lox: “If You Think I’m Jiggy” has been a running joke in hip-hop since it dropped in ’98. Truth be told that song could’ve single-handedly killed the Lox’s career if it wasn’t for their follow-up single “Money, Power, Respect.” The DMX and Lil’ Kim features helped, but L.O.X. held their own on this one.
2. “Whoa” – Black Rob: During an interview with 50 Cent back in my SCRATCH Magazine days (R.I.P.) Curtis named-dropped BR’s “Whoa” as a beat that every rapper wish they had back when it dropped in ’99 (much like Curtis’ “I Get Money” beat in ’07). This Buckwild produced SMASH was an important chapter in Bad Boy’s history, proving that Big and Puff weren’t the only platinum rappers on the label. That’s right BR did A Milli!
1. “It’s All About The Benjamins” – Puff Daddy: Now I’m pretty sure that the Big verse that appears in the video and on Puff’s album was added after his death. So I’m actually talking about the original version, which featured the L.O.X. (Kim’s wack ass rhymes were also added as an afterthought). That beat was one of the illest ones of that late 90s era, just ask Pun (“We can battle I’ll even let you rhyme to ‘The Benjamins’ beat“). This track right here proved that Bad Boy would still be a label to be reckoned with despite the tragedy.