February 22, 2007

Puff Daddy & The Family - No Way Out (July 22, 1997)



Perfecta over at The 900 Number (which is a good site, worth your time) left a comment on a previous post claiming that Jay-Z is responsible for the decline in hip hop.


Nah.


I think you'll agree that the decline in the art form is in the hands of this guy. Sean "Puffy" Combs single-handedly made the King of New York, also known as The Notorious B.I.G.,  a household name while watering down his musical output, introduced shiny suits and bullshit million-dollar music videos to our chosen genre, brought J-Lo into the public eye, and sampled every 1980s hit song known to mankind, thereby changing hip hop into a radio-friendly monster, all because he wanted chicks to fucking dance. So why bother writing a review, right?


Well...


I'm a lover of a well-crafted pop song. Some of the rap on the radio is okay to listen to, and club bangers have their place. (You don't really want to listen to Talib Kweli while you're getting your drink on with the cutie at the club, anyway.) And there are good club bangers, don't get me wrong. Unfortunately, Puff was responsible for a few of the good ones, so his place in the culture can never be fully discounted.


Besides, he brought us Biggie Smalls, people! One of the greatest rappers ever!


Puffy and his production team (the Hitmen) decided to capitalize on the fact that the the only act moving any units on the Bad Boy label was murdered, by releasing No Way Out in tribute. As the album was in the planning stages before B.I.G. passed, though, it is reasonable to expect that Biggie's memory is only really mentioned on a few tracks.


I honestly don't remember why I bought this fucking album. I'm sure I was trying to relate to some cute girl who only listened to the radio or something, as it sure wasn't the lyrics that drew me in. Let's see:


1. NO WAY OUT (INTRO)
Just once, I want to see a hip hop album not start with a fucking intro. Is this too much to ask? Perhaps.


2. VICTORY (FEAT. THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. and BUSTA RHYMES)
Whoa. I may not remember the true reason why I bought No Way Out, but this song locks in the idea that this album wasn't a complete waste of money. Although if this album came out today, I'd just simply download this one song and be out.


3. BEEN AROUND THE WORLD (FEAT. THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. and MA$E)
Samples both David Bowie and Lisa Stansfield. Huh, I'm sorry, what? Oh, I was listening to "Victory" again. 


4. WHAT YOU GONNA DO?
Probably take the CD out of the player and chuck it out the window, that's what.


5. DON'T STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING (FEAT. LIL' KIM)
"I Know What Girls Like", the prequel?


6. IF I SHOULD DIE TONIGHT (INTERLUDE) (FEAT. CARL THOMAS)
...


7. DO YOU KNOW?
Know what? I can't help you unless you help me out, man.


8. YOUNG G'S (FEAT. THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. and JAY-Z)
This song keeps it ghetto like sunflower seeds and quarter waters. (That's an official endorsement, by the way.)


9. I LOVE YOU BABY (FEAT. BLACK ROB)
I've always liked this song. Probably the best song that Bad Boy stalwart Black Rob will ever do, and that's whoa.


10. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS (REMIX) (FEAT. THE LOX, LIL' KIM, and THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.)
I prefer the original, which was just a Puffy and Lox song, and I never did like the beat switch when Biggie's vocals miraculously appear, but this track is still pretty good today.


11. PAIN
Could never listen to this song all the way through. Still can't. Next!


12. IS THIS THE END? (FEAT. GINUWINE, TWISTA, and CARL THOMAS)
Probably not the brightest idea to have one of the fastest rappers in the world rhyme laps around your inexperienced ghostwritten flow.


13. I GOT THE POWER (FEAT. THE LOX)
...to move on to the next song.


14. FRIEND (FEAT. FOXY BROWN)
"Ain't No N---a"? It wishes. Who the hell keeps giving Foxy Brown work?


15. SENORITA
This actually got some play on the radio in my area. Wow. This song is awful, and not just because of Puff's mangling of the Spanish language. 


16. I'LL BE MISSING YOU (FEAT. FAITH EVANS AND 112)
You've heard this one already, and you probably hate this one. Go with your gut instinct.


17. CAN'T NOBODY HOLD ME DOWN (FEAT. MA$E)
Oh my Lord, this song sounds worse then I remembered.


FINAL THOUGHTS: Gotcha. Yes, Puff Daddy is responsible for a few good club bangers. None of them are on No Way Out, though. (I do have taste, after all. Have a little faith.)


BUY OR BURN? Burn. Literally. Find all the copies of this album that you can, burn 'em to ashes, and then burn the ashes. And when you're done, go download "Victory" and bump the shit out of it in your ride, as that song is fucking fantastic.  (Just don't accidentally snag the Nine Inch Nails remix of "Victory", though: that song is just weird.)


BEST TRACKS: "Victory"; "Young G's"; "I Love You Baby"



-Max

5 comments:

  1. Actually I dig this album in a strange kinda way. It took me a while to wrap my mind around the fact that Puff couldn't rap for shit- but to his credit, he never professed to be a great MC. I think there's room for stuff like this in hip-hop, and I actually enjoyed this album. My problem with Puff's dominance in the late '90s wasn't so much him, it was the way the rest of the industry tried to replicate it and made hip-hop very hard to enjoy around that time. But I wouldn't blame him for the downfall of hip-hop though.

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  2. AnonymousMay 19, 2008

    Young G's...I am at a loss for words...no take off puffs verse and add jadas, or styles...

    mr.childs

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  3. fuck this album, i had to waste all my fucking money so i can buy my ex girl this pice of shit back then

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  4. Anyone find it funny that in Puff's tribute to his dead friend (I'll Be Missing You) he samples a song that is about a stalker? I do. I find it HI-LAR-IOUS. Though, I shamefully admit I actually like that song.

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  5. Nailed this CD (should've nailed it to Puff's forehead) esp. how good Victory is. Justifies the word EPIC.

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