First Hit #1: August 30, 1997
If you watch the video for Mo Money Mo Problems, you can’t help notice a giant hole in the center of it. The video, attempting to give a vibe of good times and fun – as mentioned previously, The Notorious B.I.G. was a funny guy and his singles tended to be quite joyful and witty – can’t help but feel incomplete. It’s all Puff Daddy and Mase, trying their damnedest to keep everything light and goofy, but they’re the weaker rappers here, and they’re not who you want to hear anyway. It’s basically a song about the travails of fame, or at least it feels like it should be, but the first two verses are pretty much just bragging about wealth instead of touching on any of the consequences. The headline verse, the last one, is the only one that seems remotely conflicted about flame – references to increased police attention lead it off – but the song is resolutely focused on the mo money half of the equation, and neglects the problems. Which is fine, it’s trying to be something of a party track and is focused squarely on good times – Life After Death’s singles, in spite of it’s sadly appropriate title, were very much about good times – but it does feel as though there’s a disconnect between the chorus and the verses. It’s a subject that could be – and has been, repeatedly – mined for art, but this is more a song for forgetting your problems.
As a side note, I hate it when a music video interrupts the song for a comedy interlude. Especially when the comedy isn’t actually funny.