Puffy started Bad Boy Records in 1993 after being fired by his mentor, Andre Harrell, and he hasn't looked back since. Once Biggie's Ready to Die went platinum, Diddy and Bad Boy went on a run that changed rap forever, positioning the genre as a real force in popular culture. Puff did everything big, from videos, to clothes, to cars. During this time mixtapes weren't free albums with original production, they were a means of promoting new music. So, being the astute businessman that he is, Puff decided to host a string of tapes alongside New York's hottest DJs.
The first tape was mixed by DJ Clue?, then an up-and-comer out of Queens who was on his was way to being one of the first mixtape DJs to get a major label record deal. Bad Boy Mixtape Vol. 1 featured some of the most memorable songs ever that were heard for the first time on that tape. The same can be said about Vol. 2, Vol. 3, and Vol. 4, each one hosted by veteran DJs Doo Wop, Stretch Armstrong, and SNS, respectively. They made names for themselves by being able to get exclusive records before anybody else. Before the Internet really took over, this was how hip-hop heads got their hands on new music.
I used to play these tapes until they popped. Walk with us as we rank these classic tapes in terms of the mixing of tracks (extra points are given for Puffy's shit-talking).
*I included download links to these gems, so you too can enjoy these magical sounds in lo-fi the way the rap gods intended. I also included timestamps just in case you need to know how much you can fit on your cassette.*
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Angel Diaz is a staff writer for Complex Media. Follow him @ADiaz456.