If you grew up in the early 90s and liked music, there’s no doubt that you’re familiar with the ubiquitous influence of Sean “P.Diddy” Combs’ Bad Boy Records. Regardless of its controversial past, the iconic label is important to hip-hop for a lot of reasons. For one thing, it left a significant mark on the 90s music industry, making rap artists, such as the Notorious B.I.G., household names. The label has produced some of the most ear-catching music of that decade, and whether or not you consider yourself a fan, you’re likely to have attached a memory to at least one Bad Boy track. As Bad Boy embarks on their 20th anniversary and in anticipation for our upcoming Bad Boy Dance Party, we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 Bad Boy Records music videos to jog your memory a bit.
1. Craig Mack feat. The Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J & Busta Rhymes – Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)
Bad Boy’s first official hit single was not a bad one at all. Laced with stellar production from the Trackmasters, and boasting a star-studded MC cast of Biggie, LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes, the black and white Hype Williams directed video proved that simplicity is sometimes key to making a mark.
2. The Notorious B.I.G. feat. 112 – Sky’s the Limit
Straying from the standard white screen, automobile background setup, this video was shot in 1997 by Spike Jonze. Whether the idea was to capture a concrete visualization of Biggie’s youthful vigor or satirical view of fame from a kid’s perspective, the video is one of the most unconventional (and memorable) videos of the 90s.
3. Total ft. The Notorious B.I.G. – Can’t You See
Bad Boy had a fair amount of female representation. In the 90s, Total was the quintessential bad girl group. The track is propped by one of the most distinct chart-topping beats of the era, and was produced entirely by Combs, as was the music video.
4. Faith Evans – You Used To Love Me
Faith was one of the leading females in the Bad Boy camp. This 1995 music video features a storyline as heartbreaking as the song, with Faith Evans’ character painfully finding Biggie in the middle of an affair.
5. The Notorious B.I.G. – Big Poppa
With its unfading Isley Brothers sample, memorable verses (including a nod to label-mate Craig Mack), and effortless club-infused Hype Williams direction, this music video was a 90s hallmark.
For more 90s nostalgia, be sure to check out The 5th Element x Dizon Dreams’ Bad Boy Dance Party at Grand Star Jazz Club in LA this Friday.