What are the chances that one of hip hop’s biggest recording artists would share the stage with his entire ‘family’ and choose Toronto as the only Canadian city to be part of his North American tour?! Personally, I would’ve never imagined it but on Tuesday night, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs did just that! Not only did he have the whole Bad Boy Family with him, but he took all of Toronto on an unforgettable 90s nostalgia ride!
The show started an hour late, which came as no surprise to fans, but it was well worth the wait. A video counting down to the last eight minutes before Puffy hit the stage appeared in the background. Once it was over, another video popped up; this time, it was one of a young Sean Combs, telling a reporter that someday, he’s gonna be a successful rapper; that he’s gonna be big! Seconds later, the crowd goes wild as they see the rapper emerging from the floor and onto the stage. Let the trip down memory lane begin!
Bright lights, all black attire and black shades is how Diddy’s entrance went down. He started off solo for a while until he was joined by his then protégé, Mase, for the hit ‘Been Around the World’.
Mase first met Puffy at a rap convention back in 1996 and after seeing him perform, Combs immediately made him an offer with Bad Boy Entertainment. Mase gladly accepted and went on to sign a $250,000 deal with the label. Mase has been out of the limelight for some time now (remember when he quit rap to become a pastor?) but he still made the ladies swoon and even joined Total for their hit ‘What You Want’. Speaking of wooing the ladies, Atlanta-based R&B group 112 took to the stage and belted out some of their hits including ‘Dance With Me’ and ‘Peaches and Cream’.
(Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun)
Of the solo sets, two ladies really stood out that night and the crowd was in awe with both of them! I’m talking about the great Faith Evans, who was married to the late rapper Notorious B.I.G., with her mind-blowing vocals, and the ‘baddest’ member of the family, Lil’ Kim, who had the crowd going with her songs ‘Big Momma Thang’ and ‘Queen Bitch’. Rap trio The Lox heated things up with their laid-back vibes, and newcomer French Montana hit the stage and had the crowd sing along to some of his verses on ‘Loyal’, and ‘No Shopping’.
One of my favorite moments of the show was the moving performance of ‘I’ll Be Missing You’ by the whole Bad Boy Family onstage. The ballad is a tribute to rapper Notorious B.I.G. and that night, it was also dedicated to the great talent the music industry has lost so far. Video slides of Aaliyah, Tupac Shakur, Prince and Michael Jackson were put up as the crowd took in every moment from the last song of the night.
I never thought I would ever get to see one of my favorite artists from the 90s live in concert. Not only was it one of the best shows I had ever attended, but I thank Diddy for taking me back 20 years; even if it was just for a couple of hours!