Bad Boy - 2004 - 68 minutes
There is a cancer in the heart of rap music. There is a cancer. And its name is P Diddy, or Puff Daddy, or Sean "Puffy" Combs.
Multi-millionaire, fashion entrepreneur, J-Lo's ex, Puff Daddy started his career as a record company runner. Now, after ten years at the top of the rap food chain, Combs is still the most influential person in the hip-hop community.
And that means he must take the blame for turning the most vital genre of the last twenty years into the crass and pitiful den of exploitation that it is today. Make no mistake. He really is a bad, bad boy.
Name a pernicious trend in hip-hop. Combs probably pioneered it. Songs that are wholesale rip-offs of eighties MOR tracks? Step forward the 'Every Breathe You Take' sampling on 'I'll Be Missing You'. Producers scarring their record with inept rapping? Say hello to 'All About The Benjamins'. Necrophiliac exploitation of dead stars by merciless record company owners? Check out Notorious BIG's extensive posthumous career. Or how about relentless lyrical references to money, champagne, cars and jewelery? There's plenty of that on this ten-year retrospective of Puffy's record label.
And as for the music, Comb's originality deficit can be breath taking. Take Mase's 'Feel So Good', a direct eight-bar lift of Kool And The Gang's 'Hollywood Swinging'. Or the facile Diana Ross and James Brown samples on 'Mo'Money Mo'Problems' and 'Can't You See Me'. Puffy didn't so much dig in the crates as pick up what was lying on top of them.
The only bright spark of this hideous collection is Notorious BIG, whose charisma and velvety flow still shines from beyond the grave.
If there was any justice in the world, this album would be our last chance to endure P Diddy's self-aggrandising cynicism. Sadly, I suspect he's only getting into his stride.
Tracklisting: Victory 2004: P Diddy, The Notorious BIG, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Busta Rhymes - Flava In Ya Ear: Craig Mack (Remix) - Hypnotize: The Notorious BIG - Whoa!: Black Rob - All About The Benjamins: Sean 'Puff Daddy' Combs Big Poppa: The Notorious BIG - I Need A Girl PT II: P Diddy Ft. Ginuwine, Loon, Mario Winans & Tammy Ruggieri - Mo'Money Mo'Problems: The Notorious BIG Ft. Mase & Puff Daddy (10th Anniversary Version) - Can't You See: The Notorious BIG - Only You: 112 Ft. The Notorious BIG & Mase (Bad Boy Remix) - Feel So Good: Mase - I Wish: Carl Thomas - I'll Be Missing You: Puff Daddy - P Diddy Outro (10th Anniversary Album): P Diddy - I'm No Killa: Various Artists - Let's Get It: G-Dep