My face is literally that of Mase every. single. time. I’ve heard this song over the past two decades. (Video screen capture via YouTube)
Twenty years ago, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs shot to the top of the charts and became a household name when he crossed over from the world of hip hop and onto the pop charts in the wake of Biggie Small’s murder. His tribute to his slain artist and best friend, “I’ll Be Missing You” was the number one song for most of the summer, only losing the top spot once Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind” was released after Princess Diana’s tragic death.
Puffy was, in 90s nomenclature, all that. He was coming out with shiny suits, explosions and bling. He was about the benjamins, and was even tap dancing with Savion Glover while he stacked them. Nobody could hold him down. He had even been around the world.
And well, it was on that trip that I kind of got lost. I was on board at the start of it, including the unedited, and frankly, kind of weird short film (but long butt music video) that had Wyclef Jean playing a weirdly-accented murderous villain. For those who’ve forgotten (or didn’t care at the time, or are too young to remember), this version had also had Quincy Jones, Vivica A. Fox, and of course, Puffy’s girl of the time, Jennifer Lopez.
P.D. was joined by original mumble rapper Mase as the two flew half way across the world as some kind of musical spy team with the power to wear all white in a hot, sandy desert in Tunisia with nary a stain in sight, even on their crisp Nikes. While there, they break into verse and Puff says… well, here are the lyrics:
How they came in a truck? (Nah Puff, that’s a Benz…)
Mercedes, c’mere baby, you don’t like the way
It’s hot and hazy, never shady, you must be crazy
It’s ridiculous how you put your lips on this
Don’t kiss right there, girlfriend, I’m ticklish
And I be switching fees with a wrist full of G’s
***** please, I’m the macaroni with the cheese
Record scratch. The “macaroni with the cheese”? He really rapped, recorded and released that? THAT? Now it should come as a surprise to exactly no one that I’m not cool. Not in 2017, not in 1997. Most definitely not in 1997. But even I knew that line was beyond corny. It was like a line from an “All That” sketch that a young Keenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell both refused to say on account of its inherent corniness. Even Lori Beth Denberg would’ve rejected it.
So why would Puff Daddy do it? Why? Listen (and do watch, it is fun to go back to the days of heavily scripted and financed music videos) below: