You may have to witness the Bad Boy Reunion tour live to truly understand why Sean Combs was never satisfied with one name. Over the years, Combs has asked to be called Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, and Diddy. It’s a subtle notion that rebranding can be essential for business survival, but it also sets a pattern of expecting the unexpected.
As the Bad Boy Reunion tour made its way to the Philip’s Arena in Atlanta, Combs made sure that being unpredictable would be the only common theme during the nearly three-hour show.
With Bad Boy reaching its creative peek during the mid-‘90s and early 2000s, the reunion show could have easily served as an ode to an era where shiny suits, Timberlands, and oversized clothes were cultural expressions. But Combs proved that there is a way to present an old school show while firmly connecting to the music sounds and styles that speak to millennial audiences.
Beyond it being a show, the Bad Boy Reunion concert told the story of Black music, hip-hop and culture of the past two decades. This is where we were, this is where we stand, and this is possibly where we will be going in the future.
The show opened with a video of a young Combs doing one of his first interviews after launching Bad Boy records in the early ‘90s. During the interview, Combs laid out a vision for his brand and music that would thoroughly be executed over the next 20 years. With the Bad Boy Reunion tour serving as his victory lap, it was only right for Combs to open the show with the triumphant “Victory” song which features The Notorious B.I.G.
Combs performed a medley of songs before introducing Mase as the two performed “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down,” and “Been Around the World.” The show then featured a succession of Bad Boy artists who each had short sets.
112 performed “Over Now,” and “Anywhere”; Total performed “Tell Me,” and “Kissing You”; The Lox performed “We Gon Make It,” and “Wild Out”; Carl Thomas performed “Emotional,” and “Wish I Never Met Her.”
Dressed in all-black and looking as sexy as she did in the ’90s, Faith performed an extended set which featured songs such as “I Remember,” “Soon as I Get Home,” and “Ain’t Nobody.”
Combs was obviously able to bridge the old and new school of Bad Boy with French Montana. The two performed “Hot N—s remix” and “Sippin’ on Drank,” before bringing out 2 Chainz who performed “Watch Out.” Combs also paid homage to his Bad Boy South days by bringing out Young Joc and reuniting Boyz N Da Hood who performed “Dem Boyz” with Jeezy. Gorilla Zoe also made an appearance with “Hood N—.”
Combs exited the stage and Lil Kim emerged for an extended set that included her hits, “Quiet Storm,” “Fake Ones” and “Get Money.” Lil Kim also introduced Atlanta’s Trap legend Gucci Mane who performed “Freaky Girl” and “1st Day Out tha Feds.”
Following Lil Kim and Gucci Mane’s set, Combs went back to the old school and brought out R&B legends Jodeci. The group performed hits such as “Stay,” “Forever My Lady,” and “Come and Talk to Me.”
The show concluded with all members of Bad Boy on stage as they paid homage to The Notorious B.I.G with “Missing You.”
Overall, Combs proved that being unpredictable and telling a two-decade story of hip-hop and soul is a formula for what could be the greatest hip-hop show on Earth.