Like all the greats, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs has a maniacal work ethic and is obsessed with perfection. That’s the thing about chasing perfection. It is largely unattainable. So you are continually striving for something just out of reach. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, and it was everything you would expect.
The film covers the rise of Combs from an intern at Uptown Records to mogul status as head of Bad Boy Entertainment. All set against the backdrop of preparation for the Bad Boy and the Family Reunion shows on May 20 & 21 of 2016 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Complete with appearances from Ma$e, Lil’ Kim, 112, Total, Faith Evans, The Lox, Carl Thomas and countless other Bad Boy and hip-hop luminaries, this documentary is a celebration of a dream.
For those familiar with Puff and Bad Boy’s story you know it wasn’t all good times. The death of the label’s superstar the Notorious B.I.G. some 20 years later still looms large. So much so, the friction between Lil’ Kim (Biggie’s mistress) and Faith Evans (Biggie’s wife) was still apparent. The two women appeared to squash their beef and start the healing process. Biggie and Puff were brothers in life and remain so in B.I.G.’s death. That duo and the spirit of a dream that lived in both men are the heart and soul of Bad Boy.
In many ways Biggie’s crossover hit ‘Juicy’ his personal rags to riches story is the story of Bad Boy. It’s undeniable when you hear the first keyboard note, with the drum machine and then bass, it creates this mellifluous sound. Then Biggie’s voice drops and he dedicates the album to all those who hated, and all the niggas in the struggle. “It was all a dream…” that’s Bad Boy 24 years later. A dream that B.I.G.’s mentor, brother, and friend Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs had when he was a young man in Mt. Vernon dreaming of a better life.
Puff tries and as usual mostly succeeded with this documentary. He wanted to tell the story of Bad Boy, an upstart record label that changed the music game. By signing raw talent and popularizing commercial success, Puffy made it okay for hip-hop to be associated with the glamour lifestyle. He didn’t believe the streets and luxury had to be mutually exclusive when it came to hip-hop. He popularized shiny suits, opulence and extravagance. Something we still see prevalent in hip-hop today.
The concert eventually happens and night one is not a success, or up to Puff’s high standards. One of my major qualms with the doc was the lack of concert footage, we needed to see that. He is visibly upset and vows to everyone that the second night (Biggie’s birthday) will be better. It wasn’t perfect but on that particular night Puffy and the Bad Boy family almost achieved it.
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story will be exclusively available on Apple Music starting on June 25.