1997 was the year that Bad Boy Records dominated the top 10 – two Notorious B.I.G. songs, two Puff Daddy songs and a Mariah Carey song (yes, another) that was produced by Puff Daddy.
Puff Daddy’s first single “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” is today’s selection. The lyrics are laid over a slightly modified version of the sample from Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message” with the chorus borrowing lyrics from Matthew Wilder’s “Break My Stride”. For me, these elements are the most notable parts of the song. The actual rapping of Puff Daddy and feature artist Mase on this track are pretty unremarkable.
By 1997 I wasn’t really listening to much hip hop anymore. Most of the stuff coming out didn’t really hold my attention, including Puff Daddy. I found his rapping forgettable and it seemed, based on his first couple singles, that he was mostly just rapping over other people’s music that had hardly been modified (his “I’ll Be Missing You” track was basically just him wrapping over the music from The Police’s “Every Breath You Take”). This wasn’t sampling. It just seemed kinda lazy and boring.
Anyway, looking back on these songs now, they still don’t hold much appeal for me. Listening to “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down”, it really just seems like a poor version of “The Message” and all it made me want to do is listen to Grandmaster Flash’s original.