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Discography Check: Bad Boy Records (1994-2006)

By @TrueGodImmortal





I thought I told you that we won't stop.... I thought I told you that we won't stop.... well, as cliché as that may have been, it was a mantra employed for years by Puff Daddy, the Bad Boy Records family, and the parent companies that helped to distribute Bad Boy over the years. After his job working with Uptown Records, Sean Combs set out to make history with his own record label. Calling the company Bad Boy Records, he would certainly come into the industry with a bang, arming himself with artists like rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Craig Mack, R&B groups Total and 112, and the lone songstress Faith Evans. Over the years, Puff Daddy would bring in many artists, some who would release albums, some who wouldn't. From the Black Robs to the G Deps to the Loons to many more, Bad Boy have had a large amount of artists on their roster. Today, we look back at the discography of the label and the albums released over the 12 year period of prominence. After 2006, things changed and Bad Boy would be relatively irrelevant or lacking in attention after that year. So today, our job is to discuss the albums released over the 12 year period, both the good and the bad. Let's get into it.

*The Notorious B.I.G.- Ready to Die (1994)


-The greatest album released from the label is oddly enough the first album released in the history of the label. I mean, how could you argue against Big and this classic anyways? One of the 10 all time greatest hip hop albums of all time would rightfully be seen as the best Bad Boy project. Big weaved through this album so flawlessly, with tracks like "Warning", "Machine Gun Funk", "Things Done Changed", "The What" with Method Man, "One More Chance", "Suicidal Thoughts", and that's just a small part of the album. This album is what I consider to be a true hip hop classic and it is one of my top 10 albums of all time. The grungy feel of the production and the straightforward aggression and wit in Biggie's rhymes and flow made this album so special. If anything, this was the album that changed a lot of lives in hip hop. The legacy still lives on. It was the absolute perfect starting point of Bad Boy.

*Craig Mack- Project: Funk Da World (1994)



-I always felt Craig Mack was slept on. He was never the best lyricist of course, but he was viable as an artist and could make a hit. After the mega hit "Flava In Ya Ear" came, he seemed primed to make a truly big splash in the game. Tracks like "Get Down", "Making Moves With Puff", and "Real Raw" helped push Craig to gold status, but this album was truly overshadowed by the multi platinum classic from Biggie. Still, with a platinum single off this album, a gold plaque for the album, and the Big Mack campaign, this would have to be considered a win for only the 2nd release on the album.

*Faith Evans- Faith (1995)



-The smooth yet rugged voiced songstress arrived on the scene and took the world by storm. This album featured hits and affirmed Bad Boy as a diverse label so to speak, showcasing R&B talent on a higher level. The self titled debut from Faith would end up a success, seeing her garner two hit singles in "Soon As I Get Home" and "You Used To Love Me". Other tracks like "Don't Be Afraid" and "All This Love" round a pretty solid album that would end up selling 1.5 million copies overall, making Faith a R&B star.

*Total- Total (1996)



-The group of Keisha, Pam, and Kima weren't your average girl group trio. They had a rough and rugged style to them, something that could be contributed to many factors. Whatever the case, Total would see their debut album become a success as well, once again adding another dimension to Bad Boy, gaining yet another platinum plaque for the label. Songs like "No One Else", "Kissin' You", the Raphael Saadiq produced "Do You Think About Us", "Someone Like You", and of course the epic hit "Can't You See" made them instant stars and took them to the top of the charts (or at least close to it), so to speak. Another big album for Bad Boy.

*112- 112 (1996)



-So, Puffy signed two rappers from the East Coast, then signs a rugged female vocalist, a girl group R&B trio (one that felt similar to TLC in a way, just not as great), and now he has a male group of singers to create a solid R&B album. Four singers from Atlanta, joined Bad Boy and their self titled album became yet another mega hit project for the label. Oddly enough, the huge single from this album "Only You", was not loved by the group, but it turned out to be a good single. On top of that, there were great songs like "Cupid", "Come See Me", and "Now That We're Done" that rounded out another solid Bad Boy debut, one of which went double platinum.

*The Notorious B.I.G.- Life After Death (1997)



-Of course, this double album would be featured. The final official album from Big was the highest selling and the biggest Bad Boy release ever. One had to be shocked some when Big was murdered just weeks before the album dropped, but regardless, this project is still held up as one of the greatest hip hop albums of the 90s. While I've always felt the album would have been better off as a single disc, one still appreciates the music that we are gifted with here. From songs like "What's Beef", "Niggas Bleed", "Last Day", "Sky's the Limit", "Hypnotize", "Kick In The Door", "I Love The Dough", and many more, this double album has all the tools to be seen as a debatable classic album in the genre. This album would finish with the honor of going diamond, a rare feat in hip hop where an artist sells over 10 million copies. This album did just that. For that, it is the most vital album commercially in the label's history of course. RIP Big.

*Puff Daddy and The Family- No Way Out (1997)



-The 2nd most successful album in the history of the label came after a tough time.... so to speak. Puffy and The Family lost the biggest artist on the label and a close friend in Biggie. Somehow, Puff persevered and created this album, finishing up the work he had starred before Big passed. Originally titled something else, this album was full of hits and anthems. While "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down", "Been Around The World", "I'll Be Missing You", and "It's All About The Benjamins (Remix)" took over airwaves, my favorite songs were "Young Gs" and "Is This The End". Sitting at nearly 8 million copies sold in the US, this album would have to be recognized as epic for the label and for the Puff Daddy brand itself, as it established him as a solo music star..... for better or worse.

*Mase- Harlem World (1997)



-Harlem is known for having flashy yet solid MCs. One of the best has always been Mase. His debut album is one of the better Bad Boy releases and one of the more successful. I don't consider Harlem World a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a very solid album with a few big hits, which is what Bad Boy specialized in during this era. Tracks like "Feel So Good", "What You Want", and "Lookin' At Me" took over airwaves, while "24 Hrs To Live", "Cheat On You", and "Niggaz Wanna Act" were booming out the car speakers. It had a good balance on the album that led Mase to see his debut sell nearly 5 million copies.

*The LOX- Money, Power, Respect (1998)



-I know many people who love this album. I wish I could say I was one of those people. While I think the LOX boasts two amazing MCs in Jadakiss and Styles, along with a solid MC in Sheek, I don't think they're capable of making a great album together. Sure, We Are The Streets was a solid album, but this one? No thanks. While Styles has made good solo projects, something seems to be lacking with them as a group and this is the starting point. Some could blame the feel of Bad Boy not fitting for the LOX in general, and that might have some validity, but the album was just a bit sloppy and unfocused. The title track with Lil Kim and DMX was of course a classic song, and I enjoyed "The Heist Pt. 1", but for the most part, the songs just fell a bit flat. It just felt clouded by the Bad Boy sound that didn't really fit these MCs.

*Faith Evans- Keep The Faith (1998)



-What better way to follow up a platinum album than with another platinum album? This time around, Faith sounded more in charge, her voice more commanding and the songs sounded slightly stronger in a while. Her comfort here makes for a great listen, as she has great songs like "My First Love", "All Night Long", "Never Gonna Let You Go", and the hit "Love Like This". As mentioned prior, this album went platinum and once again would be a victory for Faith and Bad Boy.

*Total- Kima, Keisha, and Pam (1998)



-The 2nd album and the final one in general from the group was a bit unfocused. It wasn't the worst album, as it had some bright spots, but it was missing something that they had on the first project. They still had hits, but the sound just missed the mark overall in a way. Songs like "Sitting Home", "Do Something", "If You Want Me", and the Missy assisted "Trippin" helped put the album over the top and gain a gold plaque. While there's some mishaps here in this project, it's still an overall enjoyable listen and I'd recommend checking it out if you want to hear more of Total.

*112- Room 112 (1998)



-I have always felt like this album changed some of what was going in Bad Boy. It gave us a hit but it also missed the mark in general for the label. While the bigger hits like "Anywhere" with Lil Zane, which is the most successful song on the album, and "Love Me" with Mase were solid listens, the rest of the album falls a bit flat. Still, a platinum plaque was earned and this would have to be considered a win for the label, but the momentum Bad Boy had was considerably dropping.

*Mase- Double Up (1999)


-If there was ever evidence of the momentum dropping from Bad Boy, this album would be it. Mase was leaving rap to become a pastor. He fled to Atlanta after things got way too real for him in Harlem. It's an interesting story for sure, but it also seemed like an easy yet corny way out. Whatever the case, this album just wasn't right and while it had less guest appearances than his debut, that seems to be a bad thing for Mase. His debut shined through the guest appearances and catchy songs, here it suffers from lack of catchy tracks and solid guest verses. Overall, the album is okay, with solid tracks like "Get Ready", "Fuck Me, Fuck You", "Same Niggas", and "You Ain't Smart". It would be certified gold, and had to be considered a failure.

*Puff Daddy- Forever (1999)


-This era of Bad Boy wouldn't be complete without a Puffy album. Unfortunately, with the seeming decline of Bad Boy, this would be yet another failure in the long line of failures for the label over the years. At a time when DMX was selling 6 million copies twice, Jay-Z was taking his street brand to 5 million, Juvenile was turning southern hip hop on its head with the 5 million selling 400 Degreez, Puff was still in that older mentality of commercialization via the music. Still, there are a few good songs here, mainly because of the guest appearances, like "Journey Through The Life" with Beanie Sigel, Nas, Lil Kim and Joe Hooker, "Reverse" with Shyne, G-Dep, Sauce Money, Busta Rhymes, and Cee-Lo,  and the strange yet dope "Angels With Dirty Faces" with Bizzy Bone. Puffy let his ego grow too high and this album is a result. The project was certified platinum, which is still a victory overall, but considering the album he previously released did 7 million, this has to be seen as a huge disappointment. It also failed go spawn a hit song.

*The Notorious B.I.G.- Born Again (1999)


-If this release made you sick, you're not alone. When the Bad Boy had their doubts, they went with a Biggie album. This time a posthumous project that was unnecessary. And it worked. Selling nearly 500,000 the first week, Born Again would revive the brand in a way, finishing with well over 3 million copies sold, the biggest win for the label since Mase dropped his debut in 1997. Musically, the album was a bit scattered all over, as the infusion of some unheard and a few reused Biggie verses slapped on a track with a ton of guest appearances worked at times and didn't work. The Eminem assisted "Dead Wrong" was sick and twisted yet entertaining, the Cash Money assisted and Mannie Fresh produced "Hope You Niggas Sleep" is my favorite song here, and the "If I Should Die Before I Wake" track with Black Rob, Ice Cube, and Beanie Sigel was pretty dope. Regardless, the album was unnecessary and only done to revive the brand and put Bad Boy back on the forefront. In some ways, it worked.

*Black Rob- Life Story (2000)


-This is where the story gets tricky for Bad Boy. This is the 2nd coming, and I thought for sure Black Rob was going to be the leader of it. He had the tools to carry the brand alongside Shyne and this album is truly underrated. We saw Rob go platinum based on the mega single "Whoa", tracks like "Down The Line Joint", "Can I Live" with The LOX, and a few other joints that round out a pretty good album. If only Rob could fight his addictions and health issues, and Puffy wasn't so concerned about returning himself to the forefront, we might have saw more success from Rob. Another "what if" scenario perhaps.

*Carl Thomas- Emotional (2000)


-If there was one thing that Bad Boy could do well, it was R&B. Even when rap seemed to falter some, the R&B music always worked. Always. Carl Thomas is no different at all, and if anything, he has my favorite R&B album from the entire label with this classic project. Infusing the smooth sounds of jazz and soul to make what I jokingly call "Turtleneck R&B", Carl Thomas hit big here with songs like the title track, "I Wish", "Summer Rain", and "Lady Lay Your Body". After selling 1.6 million overall, Carl would rack up another win for Bad Boy.

*Shyne- Shyne (2000)


-I remember being indifferent to this album when it first dropped. I wasn't really a fan of it, but I did buy it and listen fairly regularly just for 3 or 4 songs. I found Shyne to be lackluster as a lyricist, but his voice and flow was enough to entice the listener. The album would see success of course, as it would hit gold fairly easy and eventually he certified platinum, but song wise, he has some bangers in "That's Gangsta", the booming single and anthem "Bad Boyz", the gutter "Niggas Gonna Die", and "The Hit". Perhaps Shyne was a needed boost of gangsta to Bad Boy, but it's a shame he wasn't even able to experience any of his success...... due to the case he caught for Puffy. Lesson learned.

*Dream- It Was All A Dream (2001)


-I have zero recollection of this album. I remember Puffy wanting to get into the white pop star lane, but this was pitiful. The four girl group had vocal chops, but this album was released with the most corny intentions. It was intended to take that Britney Spears route and while it was successful, almost going double platinum, this album just didn't work. I tried to listen back to it and absolutely couldn't get through it. To be fair, there are a few decent songs like "He Loves U Not" and "In My Dreams", but that's just me being generous. This album is an acquired taste for teeny boppers and those with a love for cheesy pop music.

*112- Part III (2001)


-If their second album was a slip up, this album would have to be considered a return to form, right? Yes and no. 112 went a more upbeat route this album and the results are mixed. With the Mobb Deep influenced "It's Over Now", the group showcased a lack of originality and creative prowess, but with the synth heavy "Dance With Me" and the booming hit "Peaches And Cream", the group won effectively. The album would garner a platinum plaque, earning the group the distinction of three straight platinum or better albums. I'd take this album over their second, but it still could have been better.

*P. Diddy and The Bad Boy Family- The Saga Continues (2001)


-I don't know how to feel about this album. I really don't. I liked it initially when it dropped. I remember buying this album and buying D-12 when it first dropped near the same time. I didn't listen to either album much, but I did enjoy songs here and there from this return from Diddy and the family (the new family). With the infusion of G-Dep and Black Rob heavily on this project, it seemed to work really well on "That's Crazy", "Bad Boy For Life", and of course "Let's Get It". I'm not a fan of the Neptunes produced ego fest "Diddy", but I definitely enjoyed the Faith and Carl Thomas song "Can't Believe", which sampled or should I say borrowed a track from The Firm. Overall, this album was decent, and had a fair share of hits, just would have done better with a shorter tracklist.

*Faith Evans- Faithfully (2001)


-This might be the best Faith album actually. For one, it is her best cover, as she looks good there. Secondly, it's the confidence that she sings with here that elevates the album. The songs like the Carl Thomas assisted "Can't Believe" (carried over from the Diddy album), her smooth hit "I Love You", "Alone In This World", and another hit in "Burnin' Up", Faith excels here. I just have one complaint here, like I do with most Bad Boy albums and that's the tracklist is a bit longer than need be. Otherwise, this album is really good. Another Bad Boy R&B win.

*G. Dep- Child of the Ghetto (2001)


-I wish I could say great things about this album. I wish I could. Unfortunately, the reality is, there isn't a lot to say good about it. Not to say that Dep wasn't talented, it's just that he really didn't hit the mark with this album like I felt he could have. With 20 tracks in total, this album runs way too long, and I like about 4 or 5 of these tracks in total. I got worn out listening to this album, but did enjoy the single "Special Delivery", "Keep It Gangsta" with Shyne, "Everyday", the Kool G Rap and Rakim featured "I Am", and the Black Rob assisted "One Way". While not a terrible album, it just leaves us wishing for a more cohesive project.

*P. Diddy and The Family- We Invented The Remix (2002)


-Only Puffy would take a ton of remixes and release them as an album.... and win. I can't lie, I had this album and while I feel some of these remixes are truly overkill, he won big with the "Special Delivery" remix, and the saga of "I Need A Girl", which spawned two "remixes" and hits. As smooth as the Usher featured version was, the Ginuwine assisted version is even bigger. This wasn't a truly creative project, just another attempt at winning for Diddy and with a double platinum victory, this would be successful.

*Da Band- Too Hot For TV (2003)


-The less said about this album the better. Da Band was a makeshift group comprised of participants in a reality show. The group had no chemistry. After the success of 2000-2002 for the label, this would be a huge down period for the label and this album would do nothing but barely garner a gold plaque and spawn no hits. There was the moderately successful "Bad Boy This, Bad Boy That", but other than that, this album is absolutely pointless. Seriously.

*Loon- Loon (2003)


-I never quite understood the hype of Loon. More of a knockoff version of Mase than anything, his skill level was decent, but the similarities were too much for me to really appreciate him as an artist. So what happened with this self titled debut? I have no idea. It just doesn't work. It was a moderate success commercially, coming very close to obtaining a gold plaque, but the songs just fell flat aside from "Don't Wanna Die", the small hit "Down For Me", and maybe one or two more tracks. Loon just didn't have what it took to complete a solid solo album, and perhaps a big issue with that was the Bad Boy formula. One can't be sure, since we've not heard much of anything from him since his Bad Boy departure and imprisonment. Regardless of the lackluster album, it's still Free Loon.

*112- Hot and Wet (2003)


-A rare commercial failure for the group, as the album barely cracked gold status, this would be the last 112 release on Bad Boy. The title track would be a moderate hit, and the awkward "Na Na Na Na" would do decent on the radio, but this album in general is a swing and a miss. I'm not sure if this was purposely done to just close out the contract with Bad Boy or what, but this was the end of the 7 year run of 112 on Bad Boy. A true end of an era. I guess the label wanted to move on to different acts?

*Carl Thomas- Let's Talk About It (2004)


-Well yes and no. Carl Thomas returned with his second album, but it wasn't promoted right. The songs on this album aren't bad by any stretch, it's just that the album feels insignificant when you listen to it. There was a theme within his debut somewhat, and he delivered the hits, but somewhere in this album, he slipped up and lost something. Songs like "The Baby Maker", "Dreamer", and "Make It Alright" were solid, but overall, the album falls short.... something that was becoming a regular occurrence with Bad Boy at this point. Sales wise, the album flopped, but to be fair, Carl lost his brother shortly after the release of the album so promotion halted.

*Mario Winans- Hurt No More (2004)


-I expected a bit more from this album, but maybe I was being foolish. The main single from this album reused a production of the same title from Enya (or The Fugees' "Ready or Not" depending on who you ask) and turned it into a song about a grown man not wanting to know if his woman is cheating because his heart can't take it anymore. Right. Grow some balls. However, I knew of Mario and his talent so I expected something pretty good, but the album is flimsy for the most part with no substance. It's a bit too simpy and whiny for an album from a male artist, but the songs like "3 Days Ago" and "This Is The Thanks I Get" with Black Rob were at least enjoyable sonically for the most part. Outside of that and the previously mentioned hit single "I Don't Wanna Know", this album was a bit bland.

*8Ball and MJG- Living Legends (2004)


-I felt pretty indifferent about Ball and G signing to Bad Boy because I didn't want their style of southern greatness to be overshadowed by the more pop styling of the Bad Boy brand. Luckily, for the most part, there's not a lot of Bad Boy brand music, as Ball and G stick to their formula, with the booming sound of "You Don't Want Drama", the smooth "Forever", "Memphis City Blues", and "Straight Cadillac Pimpin". The production was similar to their usual style, with a bit of a twist, and it managed to work well.

*Mase- Welcome Back (2004)


-If you want to have a laugh, let's talk the comeback for Mason Betha to rap. He returned as a holy roller who just wanted to make music. With most of his raps being censored and devoid of cursing, he really came off like a pastor rapping. Mase hadn't lost skill, but it was cringeworthy to see him make tracks like "My Harlem Lullaby", "The Love You Need", and other cheesy tracks on this album. I did enjoy the title track and the hit "Breathe, Stretch, Shake", but it wasn't enough to really push the album to me. It went gold, which could be seen as a success, but wasn't the sales we were used to from Mase.

*Boyz N Da Hood- Boyz N Da Hood (2005)


-The Bad Boy South experiment. Ah yes. Well, it sort of worked. Four MCs, Jody Breeze, Young Jeezy, Big Gee, and Duke. Was the album successful? In a way, yes. It went gold and spawned a hit, "Dem Boyz", which was an anthem during the summer of 2005 as Jeezy begins his rise to the top. Jody Breeze was the one with the most potential musically and he didn't get a fair opportunity, though he stole the show on this album. Tracks like "Felonies", "Gangstas", and "Trap Niggas" may have seemed to be relatively limited in content and they were, but the songs still knocked. A decent album overall, but as expected, egos broke the group up.

*Black Rob- The Black Rob Report (2005)


-I barely remembered this album.... I had to go back and search to listen and when I did, I realized how much potential Rob really had. The issues he faced prevented him from getting that superstardom he possibly could have. There's no hit on this album, but it's a solid listen all the way through. Production is good here, tracks like "B.L.A.C.K.", "Ready", "They Heard I Got Life", and "Smile In Your Face" are really dope, and my only complaint like most Bad Boy albums complaints is that the album is too long. We didn't need 22 tracks. That's overkill. Otherwise, a solid effort.

*The Notorious B.I.G.- Duets... The Final Chapter (2005)


-Biggie Duets. I'll repeat that... Biggie Duets. I'll say it one more time for the people in the back.. Biggie GODDAMN Duets. What. The. Fuck. Is. This. Shit? I don't even want to talk about this desperate attempt from Puffy to garner another platinum plaque for Bad Boy.... cause that's what it is. No one asked for this. I repeat... NO ONE ASKED FOR THIS. EVER. The idea was to take old and maybe two or three unused Biggie verses and place them with newer beats and new verses from today's artists because.... well, I don't even fucking know. There is absolutely nothing noteworthy about this project, except one or two of the guest verses and the fact that it was the first double platinum album in Bad Boy Records since... oh wow, look at that.. Biggie's Born Again. And look, after yet another Biggie release, the Bad Boy sees some success yet again. Oh, how convenient.

*Yung Joc- New Joc City (2006)


-I can't lie... I liked this album. Bad Boy South was an attempt to cash in on the growing success of the southern artists takeover and what better way to really bring it all the way home than with this album which spawned some hits and would be nearly certified platinum. You have to admire tracks like "It's Goin' Down", "I Know You See It", and the slightly smooth "1st Time" which were all catchy hits. Was Joc a lyrical heavyweight? Not at all, but his music was very simple and to the point. It worked. This time.

*Cassie- Cassie (2006)


-I don't have much to say about this album mainly because I've only heard the whole thing in full once.... and my only concern with Cassie is that she's extremely beautiful. I really could care less and I don't think she's that good of a singer, but she did have a hit in "Me & U", and a few other decent songs like "Long Way 2 Go" and "Not With You". If this album was sung by Ryan Leslie instead of just written and produced by him, maybe it would be better, but nothing about her voice really works here. Overall, this album does nothing for me, but her music videos? Greatness of course.

*Danity Kane- Danity Kane (2006)


-See Cassie above. I have no interest in this album, but for the sake of journalism, allow me to write a brief sentence or two about this album. 5 attractive or fairly attractive women created a group on a TV show. They work together to make this album. The album is written and produced for them, because they're just voices who don't contribute to the creative process, much like other singing acts on Bad Boy. The album drops with songs like "Show Stopper", "Ride For You", and "Hold Me Down". Album sells well and goes platinum. Diddy has a new star group. It's like Dream all over again.....

*P. Diddy- Press Play (2006)


-The final album I'll cover is really a strange project. I never knew why Puffy kept making albums because he does nothing with them creatively. Diddy doesn't use an instrument or MPC. He doesn't write his lyrics. He's a voice. Regardless, the album features a few good songs, mostly for the guest appearances like the Nas and Cee-Lo assisted "Everything I Love", the Keyshia Cole assisted "Last Night", and the Ciara and Big Boi featured "Wanna Move". Production on the album was solid, but no one really wants to hear Diddy rap or awkwardly sing. A decent effort but we could have all done without it.

You might notice there are maybe two albums missing here, that being a New Edition album and B5 (I will never acknowledge them), but that's expected. After 2006, Bad Boy brought back Mase AGAIN, signed the horrid Machine Gun Kelly, worked with the slurred sound raps of French Montana, the moderately successful Gorilla Zoe, gave sophomore albums to Boyz N The Hood, Danity Kane, and brought the group Day 26 to the forefront along with a new Diddy album alongside a female duo called Dirty Money. I mean, you can see clearly why I stopped covering the albums after 2006.... it got really bad. Regardless, when we talk the 90s? The Bad Boy discography is really hard to beat. It's greatness with a lot of mediocrity in the later years.

-True 

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