Say what you want about Puffy: he doesn’t write his own raps (he writes checks though), he’s fallen off (and then back on again), the list goes on. Whatever it is, it’s all just a matter of opinion, really. The one thing the guy does know how to do is remix. Since his being hired by Uptown Records many moons ago, he’s completely turned the concept of remixing around.
Still, after all these years, Puff's still doing his thing remixing, not always on the soundboard but always for our entertainment. After all, he even remixed his own birthday to November 16 (originally, November 4) back in 2013. Check out his contributions to the remix — from music and beyond.
1. Puff changed the way we looked at samples.
Looping the breaks was as far as hip hop went when it came to sampling during its early years. When Puffy began to borrow full blown melodies and sampling them for a whole length of a track, things done changed. Building whole new songs on the foundation of old ones became the thing to do. When Puffy sampled the Luniz’s “I Got 5 on It,” it was one of the first times a song that was already sampling another song was sampled. (“I Got 5 on It” sampled three songs: Club Nouveau's "Why You Treat Me So Bad", Kool and the Gang's "Jungle Boogie" and Audio Two's "Top Billin.”)
2. He turned any song into a party.
It’s that Diddy flow. Remember “Been Around the World (Remix)” featuring Mase and Carl Thomas? For all intents and purposes it’s a slow jam and a total antithesis to the original cut, yet Puff manages to turn up in the video.
3. Got co-signed by the legendary architects.
Hip hop has been plagued with lawsuits of unauthorized sampling and copyright infringement — it’s all about clearance, future rappers of the world. Yet for some reason Puffy, who wasn’t always immune, got hard co-signs from the people who he was sampling from. Don’t forget the Biggie tribute on the 1997 MTV Music Video awards when Sting joined Puff, Faith Evans and 112 for “I’ll Be Missing You,” which sampled the Police’s “Every Breathe You Take.”
4. Perfected the mash-up.
Before Jay Z was partnering up with rock band Linkin Park for the Collision Course album (a mash-up of Jay and Linkin Park songs), Puffy had already explored what rock and hip hop could do together on three separate occasions. For starters, his rock remix of “All About the Benjamins” was an MTV staple and featured rock legend Rob Zombie and Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters. In 1998, Puffy also remixed a song for the Smashing Pumpkins called “Ava Adore.” That same year he collaborated with Jimmy Page (of Led Zeppelin) for the song "Come With Me," which appeared on the Godzilla soundtrack. Sure other artists mashed it up before, but when Puff came around it was game over.
5. Remixed his own name.
Prince changed his name once to a symbol and then changed it back, and it’s still a running joke in the music industry of taciturn artists and everything they’re willing to do protect their entity. With Puffy though, it was pure aesthetic and a way for him to define the eras within his artistic career. He went from Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy, and finally back to Puff Daddy in a span of 15 years. That’s the ultimate remix. Do his legal docs say Sean "Puffy" Combs now or what? Just wondering.
(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Clear Channel)