Apple Music has just released a new documentary surrounding the Bad Boy reunion tour and their legacy of the past 20 years. If you don’t have a subscription to Apple Music, you can get a 3-month free trial so make sure you sign up, otherwise, it’s £7 a month (which I personally think is worth it). This documentary really did come from nowhere; I hadn’t seen any trailers or promo material but that didn’t matter to me. I gave it a watch because I’m such a big fan of the artists signed to Bad Boy and it exceeded all expectations and preconceptions for this documentary. With stories about Biggie, Faith Evans, Lil Kim and Shyne, this film is not only one of the best documentaries out at the moment, it’s one of the most important examples of black excellence we can have.
Daniel Kaufman directed this documentary, and it’s a name you probably won’t recognize because he’s mainly known for commercials but his visual style and his voice is very prominent. The cinematography is incredible, not only for a documentary but as a film in general. It’s mix of monochrome and colour cuts give this documentary a very smooth and clean feel. I think that’s an important compliment he gave to this film because even though Bad Boy was seen as this rough, ghetto, urban hip hop label, the way Diddy handles himself and his business have a professional and expensive aesthetic. In terms of filmmaking, Daniel killed it, the whole team did amazing and I would go as far to say this doc could be a strong contender for an OSCAR in 2018.
If you’re as big of a fan as I am, I know you’ll get shivers of all the unseen footage of Biggie Smalls. We get a comprehensive insight into the relationships Puff had with Craig Mack, Ma$e and Big and how they affected the legacy of the label. The famous relationship between Lil Kim and Faith was always something that the public was in the dark about. Despite the “Notorious” film’s portrayal of their relationship, things were never clear as to what really happened and why they never healed. But during the documentary, the slow motion image of them rehearsing on stage together gave me the most satisfying chills. The feeling of unity, family, and love in this 20-year story is what gives this documentary more beauty. The feeling you have after watching is inspiring.
Sean Combs’ story plays a back seat in this film but it’s an important foundation that gives us an understanding of his journey. We take a glimpse into his perfectionism and professionality but at times you see how conceited he is. Despite his ego, he is obviously very charismatic and caring, but his constant need to be (dancing) in the spotlight can leave a bad taste in your mouth which is why I understand why he might not be liked but he deserves the respect. His stamp on the hip hop industry and his legacy in black history will be timeless and hopefully a source of motivation for young black men in years to come.
The soundtrack is one of the best ever. I went to the gym after watching this and the soundtrack gave me one of the best workouts ever. The aesthetic of the 90’s from the music and the music videos is something we all miss and the inclusions of the music videos and archived footage give this doc a nostalgic walk down memory lane. Cinematography, music, story; when all of these things fuse together we get a formidable piece of work. One line I will never forget from this doc is when Diddy said “I don’t want the Chrysler that looks like the Phantom. I want the Phantom” which is a testament to his attitude of the past 20 years that created and sustained such an indestructible empire. I think that is something I took away from it, that the hurdles in the way of my dream are self-constructed and if I want something, I am capable of achieving it and beyond. I am giving this a strong 5 stars. Make sure you watch this!