Love him or hate him as a musician, You can’t deny the impact that Sean P-Diddy Combs left on the culture of Hip Hop. Diddy’s longevity and his clever marketing of his products have made him as one of Hip Hop’s greatest hustlers. If he isn’t marketing music, clothes, fashion, or films, He’s even going far as to trying to sell you proactive cream Vote or Die T-Shirts and doing reality TV shows. When it comes to advertising. Puff is a marketing genius and while he’s done a magnificent job of marketing HIMSELF and the Bad Boy brand(Basically as himself being the main face).
I give him a lot of credit for his longevity and work that he’s put into the game along with breaking artists such as Notorious B.I.G., The LOX, Faith Evans and many others but on the flip side his track record of dealing with his artists past and present is very suspect to say the least. The Curse of Bad Boy which is the title of this blog is gonna break down Bad Boy artists who has suffered from the curse and please believe the list is pretty long.
Victim #1 of the Bad Boy Curse: Craig Mack
Craig Mack was one of the first artists along with Biggie and Faith that were signed to Bad Boy in early 1994. Craig Mack wasn’t the best rapper in the world but he had alot of rugged production along with one of the hardest hip hop songs of the summer Flava in Ya Ear bumping through everybody speakers. But it seemed that soon as Biggie rose to fame, Puff just threw Craig Mack in the back-burner because after 1995, He was a distant memory. He tried to come back in 1997 with a new album but that shit disappeared quicker than Harold Miners Basketball career. Nobody has seen or heard from Craig Mack since.
Biggie was not only a savior to New York Hip Hop but also Puffy’s main cash cow and main attraction. Biggie had a charisma and a unique style that made him stand out from a lot of his peers. With the West Coast dominating the rap scene from 91 to that time period 1994. NY needed a voice and a guy that was talented or powerful enough to shake up the East Coast and compete with the West Coast. Biggie’s Ready to Die album shifted a lot of momentum back in the East Coast hip hop scene and made him a superstar over night. But with that instant success came a lot of problems, A beef with Tupac, Death Row and the West Coast would be the main focus point of Biggie’s career before he was killed on March 9th 1997. Whats very eerie is that He would become a bigger star after death with his Life After Death album being a top seller throughout 1997 going into 1998. His death had a much bigger impact on Bad Boy than Puff would ever admit..
With Biggie dead and gone, Puff did the very smart thing and focus on the other acts that he had on the label. He knew that if he tried to do what Suge did with Tupac and that’s rely on a deceased artist’s catalogue to carry the label that Bad Boy wouldn’t have made it pass 1998. So Puff shifted his focus on Harlem Representative Mason Betha formerly known to many hip hop heads as Mase.
Mase had the baby face look, he had the hardcore following from his days of Children of the Corn along with a lazy but catchy flow that Puff knew he can use to hypnotize radio. Puff made Mase switch his whole style up into a more jiggered, radio friendly style and it paid off with Mase’s debut album Harlem World being an instant seller and building momentum back into the Bad Boy Roster. But then one day Mase shocked the hip hop world by announcing that he was gonna retired from Hip Hop and focus on being a Pastor. Mase’s sudden retirement stirred up a lot of questions and the dealings that be going on behind the scenes at Bad Boy. But Mase was really gone for 5 YEARS before eventually coming back and embarrassing himself with the very mediocre and at many times corny Welcome Back album. Then to further disgrace himself even more, He started hanging with G-unit and became Murda Mase while at the time claiming to be a Pastor. Mase would then disappear from rap again only to not return. He’s currently preaching at his congregations in Atlanta but his rap career will be remembered as a joke.
Black Rob made a lot of noise with his standout verse off Puff’s I Love You Baby track. Rob has always been a underrated emcee in my opinion and I felt that with the right push, He could give Bad Boy that edgy feel because they lost a lot of it in 1997. Black Rob’s records I Dare You and Whoa were major hits in the New York scene. Life Story was shaping up to be a great album but due to the constant bootlegging, They had to release the album around late 1999. The Record didn’t splash like Puff hoped but it did reach gold. But things would go downhill for Rob as he would be sentenced to prison for a larceny along with his 2nd album The Black Rob Report disappearing into obscurity. Today Black Rob was recently airing out his differences and his sour feelings about Puffy in an interview, He’s not doing too much these days as you can tell:
Victim #5 Total
Puff was looking for a girl group that had a new jack flavor swing similar to Jodeci and he thought he found his luck with Total. Total by any means was NOT the best singing group in the world but Puff did a great job by disguising their weaknesses by supplying them with heavy hitting but at the same time funky production along with appearances from his major artists(Notorious) along with doing nice remixes for their hit singles. Their album went platinum but after that, They seemed to have faded out. They still did hit songs for LL Cool J(Loungin) and Missy Elliott(What about Us) but the group didn’t make too much noise after that with their last appearance as a group was on Gangstarr’s greatest hits album. The group would separate shortly thereafter and today their living separate lives with no signs of returning.