P. Diddy, also known as Puff Daddy, is arguably one of the best rappers and hip-hop producers of his generation. As a hit songwriter and producer, he’s responsible for The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize” and “Mo Money Mo Problems,” “Honey” by Mariah Carey and many others.
In addition to his songwriting and production efforts, he’s also had a successful career as an artist, having released four studio albums, the most recent being Press Play in 2006. All four albums have reached either the No. 1 or No. 2 position on the Billboard 200. Throughout his career, Diddy has made a habit out of collaborating with other artists, which oftentimes landed him at the top of the charts, and also reached a new generation as a producer of the MTV show, Making the Band. Below we look at 10 of Diddy’s best songs
1. “I’ll Be Missing You”
Teaming up with Faith Evans and R&B group 112, this song serves as a tribute to iconic rapper and Evans’ husband, The Notorious B.I.G., following his murder in 1997. Co-written by Evans and co-produced by Diddy, the song marks a departure in sound for the iconic rapper. Here, he strips away the thumping beats for a more acoustic melody that allows the lyrics mourning his late friend to shine.
Evans’ voice on the chorus adds a sweetness as she sings every single day / Every time I pray / I’ll be missing you. The sentimental song has carved out a lasting legacy for both Diddy and Evans, as it spent 11 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the 1998 Grammy Awards and has been certified as one of the best-selling singles of all time.
The song’s title speaks for itself. The fact that B.I.G. recorded his vocals one day before his death on March 9, 1997, adds to the song’s meaning. From the ominous opening notes and Biggie’s voice greeting the listener, Diddy adds to the song’s build-up as he raps, yo, the sun don’t shine forever / But as long as it’s here / Then we might as well shine together. The song uniquely blends horns with a hip-hop beat that makes for one of the best songs between the two legends. “Victory” is one of Diddy’s signature songs that stands the test of time in his catalog.
3. “Show Me Your Soul”
With Lenny Kravitz and Pharrell Williams as your collaborators, the song is guaranteed to be fire. This is true for “Show Me Your Soul,” which finds the unlikely collaborators blending their strengths: Diddy with his fierce rapping, Pharrell leading the catchy instrumentation and Kravitz on guitar while chanting strip down to your soul. Featured on the soundtrack for Bad Boys II, “Show Me Your Soul” is a strong effort between three of music’s finest
4. “I Need a Girl (Part One)”
Pulling inspiration from real life, Diddy wrote part of the song about his ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez, along with other past relationships. He tapped an all-star group of collaborators for both “Part One” and “Part Two,” with Usher and former rapper Loon on “Part One” while Ginuwine, Loon and Mario Winans are among the team of collaborators on “Part Two.” Between the violin-led hip-hop melody, combined with Usher’s smooth voice and Diddy’s rap expertise, “I Need a Girl” is an early 2000s R&B classic.
5. “I Need a Girl (Part Two)”
Like “Part One,” “I Need a Girl (Part Two)” stands out as one of Diddy’s best. With a slick R&B beat, “I Need a Girl (Part Two)” all-star collaborators add to the song without distracting from Diddy’s message that asserts that he’s looking for a committed relationship while admitting that he’s often left confused about how his partner truly feels. The song displays a welcomed level of honesty. Both parts achieved the feat of reaching the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 on the Hot
6. “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down”
Released as his debut single in 1997, “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” set the tone for his career with this noteworthy track featuring Mase. Released on his own Bad Boy Records, the song catapulted to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 where it sat for six weeks. Sampling songs by Michael Jackson, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Matthew Wilder, “Can’t Nobody” allows the two rappers to shine over an eclectic hip-hop melody that still feels fresh today.
7. “Been Around the World”
Diddy often struck gold working with The Notorious B.I.G., and “Been Around the World” is no exception. He teams up with B.I.G. and Mase on the song, which samples David Bowie’s hit “Let’s Dance” and Lisa Stansfield’s “All Around the World.” The song continued to prove Diddy’s stamina as an artist, as it hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Immediately pleasing to the ear, “Been Around the World” effectively blends the songs Diddy samples and utilizes the supreme talent that is featured, easily making for one of his best
8. “It’s All About the Benjamins”
P. Diddy turned this money-focused phrase into a hit song when he released “Benjamins” as the third single off his debut album, No Way Out, in 1997. Recorded before Biggie’s untimely death that same year, the song also features Lil’ Kim and the Lox. As one of hip-hop’s defining songs to come out of the 1990s, “Benjamins” finds Diddy taking on the persona of a baller living the high life. The lyrics find him striving for a better life with a beat that doesn’t let up, marking one of his best numbers
9. “Come With Me”
Diddy spearheaded this unlikely collaboration with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page on this track that landed on the soundtrack for Godzilla. Featuring Page’s famous guitar riffs from Led Zeppelin’s distinguished “Kashmir,” on “Come With Me” Diddy’s intense rapping keeps up with the nature of the beat, the song seamlessly blending rock, rap and orchestration. “Come With Me” hit No. 4 on the Hot 100 and reached the top of the charts in multiple countries
10. “Tell Me”
Diddy teamed up with Christina Aguilera on this ear-catching track off Press Play. Between the throbbing beat and subtle orchestration that builds up to Aguilera’s part as she croons tell me / What you thinking about / When you got me waitng patiently / And usually, I don’t have to wait for nobody / But there’s something about you / That really got me feeling weak, the song pairs these two powerhouses brilliantly.