First Hit #1: March 22, 1997
As a rapper, Puff Daddy or P. Diddy, or whatever he calls himself – yeah, it’s an old joke, but one that’s entirely his own fault – is a great marketer. That’s the only way one can explain the popularity of Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down. His flow is best described as mediocre, and while Mase is better he’s still not really giving it his all on the track. The parts where he attempts to sing parts of Break My Stride are even worse, since he can’t carry the tune and sounds like someone’s drunk uncle at a wedding. Unfortunately, it’s not actually fun, more inept. But, Sean Combs knows how to sell things, so he makes a video that is a bit funny – though the bookends don’t quite mesh with the song – and certainly looks like a good time. The song is better with the video, and since MTV still moved music in 1997, it’s a key part of how the song could get popular. The man knows how to control his image and sell records, and Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down might be the shining example of his marketing skill – it’s not actually a great product, but it’s given the best possible wrapper. It just needed a better rapper.