2. Puff Daddy & The Family, No Way Out (1997)
Label: Bad Boy Records
Best Song: "It's All About the Benjamins"
Sure, No Way Out has always been presented as a solo album, but, much like putting together Puffy's lyrics, it's a group project. (While Dr. Dre's The Chronic and 2001 guest stars many of his protégés, you always get the impression that it's a singular vision: His own.) With Puff, one simply can't argue with proven hits—classics like David Bowie's "Let's Dance," The Police's "Every Breath I Take," and "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash, are sampled, and still sound incredible today.
A tour de force that featured possibly the best collective ever, the bonds soon broke: Biggie was killed, Ma$e retired, The LOX left, Faith Evans came and went, 112 flamed out, etc. Then again, there is one lasting example of crew love: Bad Boy producer Stevie J, who is now synonymous with VH1's Love & Hip-Hop.