If only all family reunions could go as smoothly as Bad Boy’s.
By the time the iconic hip-hop and R&B label founder Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, 112, Faith Evans, Total, Mase and Carl Thomas left the stage Thursday night there were AT LEAST a trio of happenings that made this (as Combs FREQUENTLY declared) “a moment”; including…
The guest appearances: It had already been announced that R&B quartet Jodeci and rapper Black Rob were going to be added to the Atlanta line-up – not that it made the latter’s stand-out set any less electric (even without DeVante) – but the bonus was what seemed to be a genuinely warm reunion of Bad Boy South’s Boyz N Da Hood WITH Young Jeezy. Plus Yung Joc (still with that hair). Plus Gorilla Zoe (with some new, blonde hair). PLUS 2 Chainz and Gucci Mane. And then, singer-actor Tyrese lending his considerable vocals to 112’s “Only You” at the closer that also included true singing force, Kelly Price.
The audience: Everywhere you turned outside Philips Arena, backstage during the meet and greet and in a venue filled to the cheapest, $65 seats, there were fellow performers (Missy Elliott, Dej Loaf, Wingo from Jagged Edge); executives and “influencers” instrumental to both Bad Boy and the local music scene’s success (Kevin Wales, Kenny Burns, Shanti Das); reality show stars (Mimi Faust, Ariane Davis); movie stars (“Notorious’s” Jamal Woolard) and at least one Atlanta-based, Hollywood heavyweight with several No. 1 films to his credit (Will Packer.)
The many, many tributes: “It’s homecoming for me!” “This is my second home!” “I’ve got a lot of history in Atlanta!” “Can we come home ATL?” Over and over again – with each wardrobe change, it seemed – an appreciative, effusive Combs paid tribute to the city the Harlem native visited during the summers of his childhood, built a restaurant in and established an off-shoot of his Bad Boy imprint that included many of its artists. Hours before he even hit the stage he was was running around Atlanta like a resident, appearing at Macy’s with his mother and two sons to introduce a new fragrance, and there was the pop-up shop at Exclusive Game Frank Ski stopped by AND a Women of Bad Boy brunch with a frank, engaging discussion about stereotypes that included Joyce Littel.
“Atlanta this is a gift – I love you!” he said before bringing Jodeci to the stage. But he could have been referring to so much more.
– Sonia Murray, CBS Local