When Sean Combs, now going by his original (and undisputed best) stage name Puff Daddy, first announced his Bad Boy Reunion concerts to be held in Brooklyn, where East Coast hip-hop’s Golden Age began in the early 90s, he said it would be ‘hip-hop history’ and high-profile guests were absolutely expected to honour one of the most groundbreaking record labels in music history for both nights at Barclays Center. Very few though could have predicted how utterly insane the guest list would truly get.
I’m unsure exactly how they managed to cram the amount of superstars they did onto the one bill, but night one featured no less than Jay-Z, (who helped to build the arena itself) Nas, Mary J. Blige, Lil’ Kim, Faith Evans, Rick Ross, Usher, Busta Rhymes, Mase, 112, French Montana and The Lox all making appearances throughout a night that lasted over three hours to lend an assist on era-defining hit after era-defining hit.
Falling the day before what would have been the 44th birthday of Bad Boy’s biggest star The Notorious B.I.G., the night took an emotional turn, with a choir joining Puff Daddy and Faith Evans, who is reportedly planning to release a posthumous collaborative record with Biggie later this year, for a goosebump-inducing rendition of I’ll Be Missing You before bringing out a birthday cake and everyone back onstage for a huge Happy Birthday in his honour.
It’s the kind of show you tell tales of in hushed whispers to your grandchildren. I’d have sold my everlasting soul just to be there.
Night two had its own share of stars as well, DMX making an appearance along with Brooklyn legend Fabolous and perhaps hip-hop’s hottest name at the moment in Desiigner taking to the stage as well.
Triumphant would be the word to describe the shows and it should be very encouraging for the rest of the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour which heads out across the United States in late August. It’s unclear who from these last two nights will make appearances on that 25-date tour, but in the Mecca of rap music, Puff Daddy delivered on his promise and made history and we are all the better for it.