Not everyone loves family reunions. When reuniting with kin, one might be forced to rehash old arguments, get dragged through past mistakes, or even relive the traumatic passing of the family’s patriarch. Plus, grandma's drunk again, and she knows where your uncle keeps the guns.
The Bad Boy Entertainment family has survived numerous trials and tribulations since its founding by Sean Combs in 1993. Nonetheless, watching them rekindle old classics and celebrate the Bad Boy legacy was considerably more entertaining than any other family reunion I've ever been to.
There was a lack of millennials at the American Airlines Arena, which makes sense considering half of them weren't even born in the Bad Boy glory days. Instead, it was their older siblings, parents, aunts, and uncles who filled up the venue with the high hopes of reviving a different era of hip-hop. And few, if any, left disappointed. Bad Boy Founder Sean “Diddy” Combs and the majority of the original Bad Boy Records roster traveled back in time to serve up helping after helping of classic hits to their seasoned fans and remind them, once again, that they ain’t going nowhere.
During the ten-minute countdown before showtime, a brief mix of Bad Boy classics from Craig Mack’s “Flavor in Your Ear” to French Montana’s latest remix of Young MA’s “Ooouuu” got the adults hyped while offering the youngsters a refresher course. After a dramatic visual timeline of the label’s greatest moments, Diddy made his grand entrance in an all-red ensemble as the late Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace’s lyrics from “Victory” echoed all around the arena.
Puff Daddy, naturally, acted as the master of ceremonies. After he finished off his fiery introduction, the rest of the family began to
Clips of Bad Boy's greatest moments played for the crowd.
Photo by George Martinez
The 112 brothers came next and instantly zeroed in on the women at the party with classics like “Dance With Me,” Anywhere,” and “Peaches & Cream.” As the festivities continued, Total came through singing “Kissing You” at the top of their lungs. Of course, Ma$e had to get a piece of the action along with Kima, Keisha, and Pam, so he assisted in their performance of “What You Want.”
The LOX trio — Jadakiss, Styles P, and Sheek Louch — arrived right as they bumped “Mighty D-Block." Cousin Carl Thomas came in behind them to croon memorable singles like “I Wish.”
She greeted the crowd with “I Love You” and flipped the script on the haters with “You Gets No Love.” Evans even paid homage to her late husband by performing her new song with Jadakiss off her forthcoming duet album, The King & I.
Bad Boy’s youngest emcee on its roster is French Montana, who acted as the sort of cool cousin of the reunion, sneaking the other
Diddy has never been shy about bragging.
Photo by George Martinez
The kids laughed when Trina literally dropped the mic during her cameo, but we all forgot about it once Diddy joined French while wearing the longest all-white fur coat anyone has ever seen. French appeared to be envious until Diddy hooked him up with his own equally and unreasonably long fur coat.
As the low thunder from Mobb Deep’s “Quiet Storm” rumbled and echoed, everyone’s favorite auntie, Lil Kim, arrived fashionably late to the party. Though slightly out of breath, Kim ran through her handful of hits with songs like “Lighter’s Up” and her infamous verse in “Get Money.”
Sadly, though, the Miami reunion was different from the rest — and not in the best way. We missed the iconic Mary J. Blige (luckily she'll be coming to the AAA with Maxwell on November 29) and would’ve loved for the extended family members from Dade County — like Rick Ross, DJ Khaled, or Zoey Dollaz — to drop by. By the end of the show, though, we hardly felt like we'd been shortchanged.
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Toward the end, Diddy gathered the entire family onstage to perform the label’s greatest hits like Total’s “Can’t You See,” 112’s “Only You (Remix),” “All About The Benjamins” and “I’ll Be Missing You,” the ode to Bad Boy's most legendary and missed member. It's hard not to be impressed by the empire Diddy has created. It's easy to forget just how many different artists owe a debt to him.
It hasn't always been a smooth road for Bad Boy, but they've found a way to survive. And they've continued to heed the advice of Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace, who once had a bit of advise for her son in the intro to "Sky's The Limit."
“Hold on to that dream, baby. Hold on to it tight, because sky’s the limit.”