I love the ’90s.
That sounds like a VH1 commercial. *Begins again*
I really love ’90s music. Most of my playlists consist of anything from the Bad Boy crew (sorry not sorry, French Montana), Ja Rule, Rocafella joints like “Is That Yo’ Chick,” Beyoncé/Destiny’s Child, “Back That A** Up,” and, well, you get the point.
It was Bad Boy’s 20th anniversary set at the 2015 BET Awards, when Lil’ Kim ascended from the stage in a “hardcore” squat and rapped, “You wanna rumble with the bee?” channeling her ’96 swagger, that sent the audience and viewers to their feet, rapping along and collectively reminiscing on Bad Boys affect on the music game.
A few months later, with hype still in the air, Diddy, P. Diddy, Puff Daddy (I’m not really sure what he goes by these days) announced a two-day Bad Boy concert at Barclays. I hit my Mary two-step.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only fan Diddy-bopping to the computer because tickets sold out in minutes. Not even my connect could get me in.
So I watched the festivities from Instagram.
Then Diddy announced the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour, and this time it was down to the wire. The day before the show, I was able to score one press pass to catch the Bad Boy family at Madison Square Garden.
Energy in the Garden was high. The DJ kept us entertained with Biggie jams, Jodeci, and a showstopping tracks like “I’m Going Down” to build anticipation. Imagine the harmonies of thousands of Bad Boy fans reverberating off the walls.
Suddenly, a countdown appeared on the Jumbotron. Ten minutes until showtime. After what seemed like the longest six thousand seconds ever, a throwback clip of Diddy talking about success in a very Puff-Daddy way began to play. The clip transitioned into a montage of Bad Boy footage. Diddy rose from beneath the stage, performing “Victory.” With Biggie watching over him, Diddy transitioned into his new dance track, “Finna Get Loose” (a total waste of valuable Bad Boy time, if you ask me).
I was just about tired of watching Diddy shimmy around the stage when Mase made his first appearance. Insert ear-deafening screams.
Mase and Diddy wore matching red ensembles while rapping “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” and “Been Around The World.”
112 was next up. They received an even louder welcome than Mase. Energy was at an all-time high as the Bad Boy quartet sang, “What is this/ Numbers in your pocket/ I remember when you, used to throw these things away.”
I was losing my sh*t at that point. But I became even more excited when they performed “Peaches And Cream” and “Anywhere.” First thing’s first, Q and Slim still got it. Their vocals were impressive, and Q’s pecs were on oiled-up fleek. The only thing missing was a Lil’ Zane verse. Was he unavailable? I kid. I kid.
Carl Thomas, dressed in Lisa Raye white, kept the R&B momentum high with his popular ballads “Emotional,” “Summer Rain,” and “Never Met Her.” He, too, can still sing his a** off.
But, to keep it real, I was more hype to see Total, who came on next. Kima, Keisha, and Pam kicked it off with “Trippin” then “Kissin’ You.” Ah. Peak ’90s R&B.
The First Lady of Bad Boy hit the stage next. She looked good, y’all, and sounded even better. I first experienced Faith Evans’ pipes at BGR, but she took it to new levels on “Soon As I Get A Home.” She was singing for B.I.G or something because she left it all on the stage. Diddy had to join her, of course. He got all in Faith’s set, trying his best attempt at the sing/talk thing. It’ll be a no from me.
With the audience feeling a little tender, it was time to turn up. Insert French Montana, some modern hits, and two ridiculously long mink coats. Because … Diddy.
A$ap Ferg made a guest appearance at this point and tried really hard not to trip over the furs
Finally, it was time for Lil’ Kim, who I had been waiting for at the doe. Like the BET Awards, that seemingly led to all this, she began her performance in her signature crotch-exposing position.
Throughout the night, I noticed the audio was off during certain performances. At one point, it was clear Kim’s backtrack was doing most of the rapping, but no one cared. We were too hype, knowing she was in the building and serving Hardcore Kim vibes. We could have done without Diddy’s extra-long dance performance because Kim only performed four songs then disappeared until her verse on “All About The Benjamins.”
While we were recovering from Kim, Diddy announced a surprise. Out of everyone it could have been, I never expected it to be Kanye West.
I was this much closer to Kim. Deep sigh.
After Ye’ left the stage, there was another surprise and this one sent rumbles through the venue. Black Rob. No, not Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian — the original Black Rob. When he performed “Like Whoa,” people went cray.
Again, the audio was off and his performance turned out a bit messy since he was rapping a completely different verse than the backtrack.
Mase returned to perform again and somehow tripped. He recovered nicely but Diddy jokingly brought it back up. Because … Diddy.
The final moments of the show were dedicated to collabos and massive hits like Faith’s “Love Like This,” Total’s “Can’t You See,” and “All About The Benjamins.”
The reunion ended with an emotional performance of “Every Step I Take,” singing to the beloved entertainers we’ve lost over the years.
Despite minor hiccups, it was a great show. Now wassup with the Murder Inc. and Rocafella reunion tours?
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Instagram