Where Are They Now: Tracing the History of the Bad Boy Records Family Tree
The world of hip-hop is a vast one, with many realms and dimensions within that could put the quirkiest sci-fi storyline to shame. But one of the culture’s most hallowed chambers is Bad Boy Records, which served as a catalyst for hip-hop’s evolution into the mainstream phenomenon it became during the label’s reign atop the Billboard charts.
Initially birthed during Sean “Puffy” Combs‘ days as a high-ranking executive at Uptown Records, the label would ultimately find a home at Arista Records after the fiery music man got the boot from Uptown, forcing him to push all of his chips to the middle of the table with Bad Boy Records. The label’s first album release, The Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready to Die, was a marginal success, helped put the label on the map.
Following up that initial success by unleashing R&B acts like Total, 112 and Faith Evans, by 1997, Bad Boy had the music world eating out of the palm of their hand. The murder of The Notorious B.I.G. would put a damper on Bad Boy’s winning streak, but the label would quickly bounce back with its second wave of talent, which included landmark acts like Mase, The Lox, Black Rob and Carl Thomas, among other platinum-selling artists at the time.
The new millennium may have left a number of rap imprints in the dust, but Bad Boy would continue to reinvent itself, bringing in the likes of G Dep, Mario Winans and Loon to help hold down the fort while Diddy transitioned into the world of reality TV, spawning various chart-topping acts like Da Band via his MTV show, Making the Band.
Bad Boy may not be the most dominant label in hip-hop at the moment, but with a new collection of talent helping to keep the brand’s legacy in tact and continuing to add to its history, we have a feeling that the house that Puff built won’t be shutting the lights off anytime soon. Plus, Diddy is heading out on the road for his Bad Boy Reunion Tour and if the first shows were any indication, the movement is going strong. In celebration of more than 20 years of greatness, we take a comprehensive look at the history of Bad Boy and the artists who have called the label home.