Nineteen ninety-seven marked a new high in excess, whether it was director Hype Williams' omnipresent fish-eye lens effect in music videos that often cost millions to produce, Missy Elliott and Timbaland's delightfully garish hits; or Will Smith breezily using his Hollywood blockbuster Men in Black to launch the 10-times platinum Big Willie Style. It was all about the Benjamins, baby. It was the shiny suit era, as in Sean " Puffy" Combs and Mase cavorting amid exploding cars in the "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" video, and The Notorious B.I.G. and Puffy driving speedboats while being chased by black helicopters in the "Hypnotize" clip, and Puffy doing the mamba with future girlfriend Jennifer Lopez in the "Been Around the World" video, and ... man, Puffy was everywhere.
Rarely has one man so dominated the rap landscape. Whether you preferred Master P and his No Limit minions, were still in mourning over 2Pac's unsolved murder, or were an underground hip-hop fan more interested in DJ Premier and Company Flow than "jiggy" rap, the impact of Puffy's Bad Boy Records was inescapable. So put on your Christian Lacroix heels, grab your Louis Vuitton handbag, pour out a little Cristal in tribute to the late Notorious B.I.G. and get jiggy wit' it.