read in: 10 min
As a lover of all things Hip Hop, in the true sense of the word, I was definitely looking forward to the release of Puff’s “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story” documentary. The film includes the Bad Boy reunion tour that featured just about every artist of the Bad Boy label over the span of 20 years. With the surge and oversaturation of biopics, it was refreshing to see the struggle and success of Puff in his own words that included the good, the bad and the uncut look into his life.
As one who followed the growth and incomprehensible success of Bad Boy, I was on the edge of my seat watching as each artist reunited after 16 years. For me, seeing the group Total come together for the first time in that amount of years was definitely a highlight. To see how much everyone has grown personally and spiritually was inspiring! Puff gives the viewer a full view of 20 years worth of hardcore and relentless hunger for success in a little under an hour and a half! To watch him sit with each of his artists to clear up any lingering animosity was truly a side we don’t get to see of him that I appreciated. He did a lot of conflict resolution, especially between Lil’ Kim and Faith Evans. That was one of the most beautiful moments.
Puff described his childhood, including the moment that sparked his hunger for success and the decision he made to himself to have more and be more than he was at that moment.
Although 97% of the Bad Boy family was present in preparation for the reunion tour, there was the exception of Craig Mack who turned his life over to religion and declined to join the tour. It was the same with Shyne, after he served his 6 year prison sentence. I did appreciate the fact that we were able to listen in to the conversation between Craig Mack and a member of the Bad Boy management when he was attempting to get Mack to change his mind. We were also given a glimpse of Shyne in his religious garb praying.
The most obvious void was that of Notorious B.I.G. who was beautifully honored throughout the entire documentary. Various artist narrated aspects of Biggie’s life and his impact on Bad Boy and Hip Hop in general. I absolutely enjoyed viewing the never-before-unseen footage of BIG.
Aspects of what took place between BIG and Tupac that spiraled into a coast to coast feud was respectfully placed within the documentary, with Puff and others detailing their account of how it all happened. Lil’ Cease and members of Total also recounted the moments leading up to BIG’s murder. Carl Thomas described what seeing Puff a couple of weeks after the funeral was like. He described how he looked into his eyes and saw nothing, like no one was there. Simultaneously, footage of Puff sitting in a chair staring into the space in front of him was shown. It was one of the heaviest moments of the documentary, but it was the realist and most vulnerable views I’ve ever seen of him.
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop gives the viewer the intimate moments of Puff’s life as well as how he critiques himself as an artist and business owner. It shares his view about what he described as “Black excellence”. We are given “a day in the life of” Sean Combs, the Bad Boy family and how they prepare for a tour of this magnitude. It was as if I were watching the Hip Hop version of “This Is It” with Michael Jackson. One of Puff’s desires is that he sought to help make everyone around him the best version of themselves as artists and people.
Artists such as Jay Z and Nas are featured describing their first impressions of Puff early in his career. Lauriean Gibson, who initially started as one of Puff’s dancers/choreographers, is now his creative director and narrated what he and the brand Bad Boy have meant to her and her career.
If you’re a true fan of Hip Hop and Bad Boy, you will find yourself time traveling throughout the 20 + years of their journey. Major congrats to P. Diddy and the whole Bad Boy family for giving us “another one” *in my Biggie voice*!
If you haven’t seen Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, be sure to check it out! It is available to view on iTunes! Click below to watch the trailer.