The position that Unhealthy Boy Information performed in ’90s hip hop can’t be overstated. From the emergence of the legendary Infamous B.I.G., to a genre-rattling beef with Demise Row, to ushering within the much-maligned shiny swimsuit period – Unhealthy Boy was in every single place. Because the imaginative and prescient of Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Unhealthy Boy had a roster positioning them as a titan within the music business: B.I.G., Ma$e, The Lox, Religion Evans, Shyne, and lots of extra, had been a formidable workforce that loomed giant on the rap panorama.
When the ’90s ended and the jiggy period largely went with it, Unhealthy Boy stayed related by reinvention. From the appearance of Unhealthy Boy South, with signees like Yung Joc and 8Ball & MJG, to the debut album of r&b siren Cassie, the label continued to crank out hits. Even as much as at the moment, with French Montana and Janelle Monáe, the label stays close to the musical zeitgeist.
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Unhealthy Boy’s affect is simple, even with regard to what appeared clownish on the time. Placing a producer within the forefront of your movies was roundly mocked – famously so by Suge Knight – but it surely’s an idea that artists like Pharrell ran with, and now it’s a typical incidence. With Diddy as chief architect, Unhealthy Boy sculpted an perspective, and past the radio hits and shiny visuals, there’s an irreverence and flamboyance that’s worn by his disciples to this present day.
With a sprawling catalog that’s adorned with classics, Unhealthy Boy has had a run with out many friends. These are the highest 25 tracks within the label’s various, consequential, and ongoing historical past.
French Montana feat. Charlie Rock – “Shot Caller”
“Shot Caller” was launched as French Montana’s debut single with Unhealthy Boy information. The 2012 observe – whose title offers a nod to Puff’s “It’s All In regards to the Benjamins” – launched the Bronx rapper to a industrial viewers, and he’s been on a wave ever since. That includes Charlie Rock, the Harry Fraud-produced observe facilities round a whining horn that harkens again to Unhealthy Boy’s ’90s heyday. French floats on “Shot Caller” with a braggadocio befitting of his label’s legacy, dropping bars all through his verses that pay homage to the New York legends that got here earlier than him.
G-Dep Feat. P.Diddy, Ghostface, G-Dep & Craig Mack – “Particular Supply (Remix)”
The story of G-Dep is a tragic one. The Harlem rapper signed a five-album take care of Unhealthy Boy in 1998, however was dropped only a few years later after underwhelming gross sales. Within the early 2000s, he spiraled additional into an habit to PCP, and in 2010 he turned himself in for a chilly case homicide. It’s a cautionary story in regards to the illusions of “making it”, however G-Dep’s quick stint with Unhealthy Boy was not with out its excessive factors. On 2001’s “Particular Supply (Remix),” G-Dep introduced out legends Ghostface Killah, Keith Murray, and Craig Mack on a track that additional cemented Unhealthy Boy’s reign because the ruler of the remix.
Janelle Monáe feat. Huge Boi – “Tight Rope”
Although it’s a indisputable fact that appears to fly underneath the radar, the multi-grammy nominated Janelle Monáe is certainly on the Unhealthy Boy roster. The multi-faceted expertise, who’s seen a run of movie success of late, dropped 2010’s “Tightrope” because the lead single to her album The ArchAndroid. That includes her mentor Huge Boi, “Tightrope” finds Monáe delivering taut couplets in regards to the significance of sustaining one’s stability, whereas additionally providing a booming, soul-soaked refrain. It’s only one standout observe in a catalog of many penned by one in all Unhealthy Boy’s most eclectic and daring artists.
The Lox feat. Lil’ Kim & DMX – “Cash, Energy, Respect”
Within the intro of “Cash, Energy, Respect,” Lil’ Kim lays out the system for attaining the trinity of success: “First you get the cash / You then get the muthafuckin’ energy / After you get the fuckin’ energy, muthafuckas will respect you.” It’s an ethos in step with the place Unhealthy Boy was at in 1997, however as a substitute of being packaged as a shiny, flexing radio hit, “Cash, Energy, Respect” is a grittier, outright darkish track. The primary single from the Lox’ debut album of the identical title, “Cash, Energy, Respect” additionally includes a DMX in his prime, and all 5 rappers on the observe pull no punches in regards to the grime required to succeed in these three tenets of triumph.
Diddy – Soiled Cash feat. Swizz Beatz – “Ass On The Ground”
Puffy’s experimental r&b undertaking Diddy – Soiled Cash is a testomony to the mogul’s capability as a tastemaker. When the group – which featured singers Daybreak Richard and Kalenna Harper – launched Final Prepare to Paris in 2010, it was a daring, Euro-house impressed outing that was altogether completely different from mainstream r&b of the time. Crammed with moments of coldness and sleaze, Final Prepare to Paris did as a lot to affect the present wave of different r&b because the oft-cited style touchstone 808s and Heartbreak. On the album’s sixth single “Ass on the Ground,” Swizz Beatz’ drum march manufacturing affords the right mattress for a track about soldiering by an evening on the membership with a damaged coronary heart. Full with a refrain that’s extra cynical than optimistic, “Ass on the Ground” is one in all Diddy’s most artistic and underrated songs.
8Ball & MJG – “You Don’t Need Drama”
With the formation of Unhealthy Boy South in 2004, Diddy sought to increase his empire right into a area that was beginning to blow up nationally. By recruiting veterans 8Ball & MJG, Unhealthy Boy’s southern imprint had an immediate credibility, and their first album for the label, Residing Legends, stays the duo’s highest charting effort up to now. The lead single from the Memphis rappers’ Unhealthy Boy period, “You Don’t Need Drama,” includes a synth-heavy, early-Bangladesh beat, and 8Ball & MJG give a transparent warning that they’re not past going to the trunk.
112 – “Cupid”
“Cupid” was the third single off of 112’s 1996 album of the identical title. It was the group’s second full-length effort, and would finally go platinum as one other spotlight within the Atlanta r&b quartet’s large run of success within the ’90s. On a gradual, acoustic guitar-driven observe, “Cupid” sees 112 singing in regards to the creeping doubt that comes with diving into a brand new relationship, all whereas providing a refrain to calm that potential lover’s fears: “Cupid doesn’t lie, however you received’t know until you give it a strive.”
Complete feat. Infamous B.I.G. – “Can’t You See”
1995’s “Can’t You See” was the debut single from Complete, Unhealthy Boy’s first r&b group. The New Jersey trio had beforehand offered vocals for the Infamous B.I.G.’s first single “Juicy, so the Brooklyn legend returned the favor in form. With Biggie providing a blistering verse as an intro, the Puff Daddy-produced observe segues right into a extra lush, gradual tempo anchored round a pattern from James Brown’s “The Payback. Complete’s wealthy, textured vocals on “Can’t You See” would show to be a preview, because the group went on to characteristic on quite a few top-10 singles within the ’90s.
P. Diddy feat. Black Rob & Mark Curry – “Unhealthy Boy For Life”
2001 noticed Unhealthy Boy founder Puff Daddy re-brand as P. Diddy. It was a transfer that cleaned the slate for an artist who watched the ’90s finish with a collection of lows: the demise of the Infamous B.I.G., an assault cost after a run-in with Interscope’s Steve Stoute, and the 1999 Membership New York taking pictures that put Shyne behind bars for the following decade. “Unhealthy Boy For Life,” the second single from The Saga Continues…, finds the newly minted P. Diddy triumphantly asserting “It’s official, I survived what I been by,” on a observe that options then-Unhealthy Boy signees Black Rob and Mark Curry. Over a beat by Megahertz that surges round a sampled guitar riff, P. Diddy is a person re-charged, who, even by all of the drama of the years prior nonetheless maintains that it’s Unhealthy Boy for all times.
Religion Evans feat. Black Rob – “Love Like This (Remix)”
Religion Evans’ “Love Like This (Remix)” stays a ubiquitous r&b track to this present day. That signature guitar lick and disco bass line pattern appears to play within the background of TV exhibits and commercials in perpetuity. The uptempo observe – a remix to the lead single from her 1998 album Maintain the Religion – shows Unhealthy Boy’s premier songstress close to the highest of her recreation, celebrating the optimism that comes with new love. Garnished with a Black Rob verse that sees the rapper whisking away his lady, that is one in all Unhealthy Boy’s extra heartfelt, but danceable remixes.
Black Rob – “Whoa”
Throughout his time on Unhealthy Boy within the ’90s, Black Rob featured on numerous remixes, however didn’t get a lot of the highlight to himself. The Harlem rapper lastly obtained his due in early 2000, when he launched “Whoa!,” the lead single to his platinum-selling album Life Story. Produced by Buckwild, “Whoa!” makes use of a chopped orchestral pattern and heavy drums to underline Black Rob’s gravely, abrasive circulate. With each line ending within the phrase “whoa” – a 99 Benz Coupe is whoa; C.O.’s and P.O.’s should not – the track has a catchy design, and it stays a spotlight within the Unhealthy Boy catalog.
Cassie – “Me & U”
A sultry, late-night r&b observe with a minimalist keyboard riff, Cassie’s debut single “Me & U” was a radio fixed in 2006. Written and produced by Ryan Leslie, “Me & U” launched the world to Cassie, whose haunting vocals grasp over the sparse instrumental, punctuating the occasional surging bass line with a hit-magnetic hook. It’s an r&b track that’s a throwback to an electro-addled ’80s, and it was a significant success, spending virtually 5 months within the Prime 40. “Me & U” is a crown jewel of the mid-2000s Unhealthy Boy period, and it’s additionally only a dope track from an artist we don’t hear sufficient from. She additionally occurs to be Diddy’s present bae.
112 – “Peaches and Cream”
Produced by Mario Winans and P. Diddy, 112’s “Peaches & Cream” has one of the crucial recognizable r&b beats of the previous 20 years. With distorted synths and an electro-bounce really feel, the track is a relic of its time, a observe not dissimilar to what noticed Timbaland and the Neptunes flooding the radio within the early 2000s. An after-hours thirst anthem with few moments of subtlety, “Peaches & Cream” would go on to be 112’s highest charting single, even snagging a Grammy nomination in 2002 for Greatest R&B Efficiency by a Group or Duo.
Yung Joc feat. Nitti – “It’s Goin’ Down”
By the mid-2000s, Atlanta was properly on its option to changing into the middle of the rap universe. With the creation of Unhealthy Boy South, Diddy had designs on solidifying the way forward for his empire, and with the signing of A-City’s Yung Joc, the brand new imprint obtained its first main hit. The lead single from 2006’s New Joc Metropolis, “It’s Goin’ Down” turned a snap anthem that hit #3 on the Billboard Scorching 100 chart. The Nitti-produced observe has stood the take a look at of time, with a few of Joc’s extra memorable strains popping up in different rappers’ verses to this present day.
Ma$e feat. Puff Daddy – “Lookin’ at Me”
“Lookin’ at Me” was the third single from Ma$e’s 1997 album Harlem World. It’s a track with an eerie environment – darkish synths pulse over punchy drums, and Ma$e raps with near-paranoia about these monitoring his successes. Puff Daddy, for his half, affords a quiet, whispery hook that furthers the observe’s altogether completely different really feel from typical Unhealthy Boy fare of that point. The then-unique sonic facets of “Lookin’ at Me” may be credited to the Neptunes, who at that time had been nonetheless a comparatively unknown manufacturing tandem.
Shyne feat. Barrington Levy – “Unhealthy Boyz”
Shyne’s debut single “Unhealthy Boyz” hit like a punch to the jaw. The primary providing from the Brooklyn rapper, an eponymous shoutout to his label, stays probably the most viscerally impactful effort from a Unhealthy Boy signee not named Christopher Wallace. Over a booming beat by EZ Elpee – whose piercing drums are matched by a thundering piano riff – Shyne introduces himself with out mincing phrases: “Now inform me who wanna fuck with us? Ashes to ashes, mud to mud / I bang – and let your fuckin’ brains grasp, snitches.”
Complimented by legendary singer Barrington Levy, Shyne’s gritty circulate flashed on a observe that ought to’ve ushered in a brand new flagship artist for Unhealthy Boy. Sadly, after taking the rap for a 1999 taking pictures incident, Shyne spent the following 9 years in jail, leaving a significant query mark on what might have been
Infamous B.I.G. – “Who Shot Ya?”
Initially a B-side to the 1995 single “Huge Poppa”, the Infamous B.I.G.’s “Who Shot Ya?” went on to have a controversial lifetime of its personal, as many have interpreted the track to be about Demise Row rapper 2Pac. The then-rival west coast rapper had been shot in New York only one month previous to the track’s launch, and B.I.G.’s evocative, violent lyrics appear to suggest a selected goal: “You’ll die gradual however calm / Acknowledge my face, so there received’t be no mistake / So you understand the place to inform Jake, lame nigga / Courageous nigga, turned entrance web page nigga.”
Whether or not or not the track was influenced by his burgeoning beef with 2Pac stays up for debate, however “Who Shot Ya?” has held up as a long-lasting tribute to Biggie’s lyrical dexterity and skill to conjure a picture.
Infamous B.I.G. – “Hypnotize”
“Hypnotize” has the unlucky distinction of being the final track launched through the Infamous B.I.G.’s lifetime. The lead single from his album Life After Demise, the report made it to shops on March 1, 1997, only one week earlier than the rapper was gunned down in Los Angeles. Although it’s a track that’s irrevocably tied to an premature demise, “Hypnotize” is an upbeat, jubilant observe whose booming bass line and catchy hook has saved it in rotation for over 20 years. Produced by Puff Daddy and D-Dot, “Hypnotize” can be Biggie’s first #1 single, an accomplishment he sadly didn’t get to witness.
Puff Daddy feat. Religion Evans & 112 – “I’ll Be Missin’ You”
A tribute to the fallen Infamous B.I.G., “I’ll Be Lacking You” was the second single from Puff Daddy’s 1997 album No Manner Out. With a memorable pattern from the Police’s 1983 hit “Each Breath You Take”, “I”ll Be Lacking You” has a somber, heartfelt tone that earnestly displays a person who misses his buddy. Calling on Unhealthy Boy’s secure of succesful crooners, Religion Evans and 112 supply affecting vocals to bookend Puff’s forlorn verses. “I’ll Be Lacking You” stays Diddy’s largest hit, claiming a number of Grammy Awards and spending a staggering 11 weeks atop the Scorching 100.
Infamous B.I.G. feat. Puff Daddy and Ma$e – “Mo Cash Mo Issues”
A funk sample-driven, club-friendly anthem in regards to the perils of prosperity, “Mo Cash Mo Issues” noticed Unhealthy Boy on the zenith of their success. The second single from the Infamous B.I.G.’s Life After Demise, the 1997 radio mainstay can be the rapper’s second posthumous #1 hit – a feat that had not been beforehand achieved. Past being a pop smash, the glitzy, Hype Williams-directed visuals for “Mo Cash Mo Issues” completely captured the Unhealthy Boy aesthetic of the time: joyful, shiny, and on prime of the world.
Puff Daddy feat. Ma$e – “Can’t No person Maintain Me Down”
Although Puff had under no circumstances shied away from the highlight, it wasn’t till 1997’s No Manner Out that he actually put himself ahead as a rapper. His debut album can be licensed platinum seven occasions, proving he was greater than viable commercially, and all of it kicked off together with his lead single “Can’t No person Maintain Me Down”. With a becoming title for a behind the scenes artist thrusting himself into the limelight, “Can’t Maintain Me Down” relied on an iconic Grandmaster Flash pattern because the car for Puff’s message: “You title it, I might declare it / Younger, black, and well-known, with cash hangin’ out the anus.”
Ma$e – “Really feel So Good”
Ma$e’s 1997 hit “Really feel So Good” was a quintessential late ’90s Unhealthy Boy expertise. The anthemic social gathering staple – which samples Kool & The Gang and Miami Sound Machine – had appreciable pop attraction, charting as excessive as quantity 5 on the Billboard Scorching 100. Visuals for “Really feel So Good” had been additionally par for the course in that period of Unhealthy Boy: directed by Hype Williams, a wardrobe of shiny fits, and some superstar cameos. This observe stays the largest hit of Ma$e’s profession, and it’s commonplace to listen to its acquainted bass line coming from automobile stereos to this present day.
Craig Mack feat. Infamous B.I.G., LL Cool J, Rampage & Busta Rhymes – “Flava in Ya Ear (Remix)”
There are few early ’90s rap songs as immediately recognizable as Craig Mack’s “Flava in Ya Ear (Remix)”. With Puff Daddy’s rendition of a well-known scene from The Warriors, adopted by a stuttering horn pattern that kicks in to a stellar B.I.G. verse, this 1994 basic opens laborious and delivers all through. Serving because the remix and B-side to the Craig Mack single – which was Unhealthy Boy’s first-ever launch – the observe options Biggie, LL Cool J, Rampage, and Busta Rhymes. Boasting a loaded lineup, the “Flava in Ya Ear (Remix)” exhibits every rapper moving into over one of many best Unhealthy Boy beats of all time.
Infamous B.I.G. – “Juicy”
Launched in 1994 because the debut single from the Infamous B.I.G., “Juicy” is taken into account by many to be one of many best hip hop songs of all time. Over a bouncing drum-centric beat produced by Puff Daddy and Poke of the Trackmasters, Biggie glides effortlessly, detailing in vivid imagery the story of his come-up. Asserting in defiance on the observe’s information that “This album is devoted to all of the lecturers that advised me I’d by no means quantity to nothin’”, B.I.G. goes on to put all of it out in breakneck tempo: wanting as much as rappers as a youth, the perils of drug dealing in his teenagers, and finally offered out exhibits and condos in Queens. Past being a surprising track by a genius rapper, it’s among the finest items of American artwork about really going from rags to riches.
Puff Daddy feat. Infamous B.I.G., The Lox & Lil’ Kim – “It’s All In regards to the Benjamins”
“It’s All In regards to the Benjamins” was yet one more watershed second for Unhealthy Boy’s affect on popular culture. The 1997 single from Puff Daddy’s No Manner Out discovered the phrase “Benjamins” changing into commonplace slang, whereas the observe itself shot to #1 on the Scorching 100 chart. That includes the Infamous B.I.G., Lil’ Kim, and the Lox, “It’s All In regards to the Benjamins” showcases the label’s flagship artists over an almsot menacing Deric “D-Dot” Angelettie beat. Emblematic of a cultural shift taking place in hip hop within the late ’90s, “It’s All In regards to the Benjamins” is a matter-of-fact track about flaunting money and reveling in prosperity.
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