By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
He asks fans to ponder which of their friends would die for them, then asks fans where they'd go and what they'd do and who'd they screw if they only had 24 hours left. The latter ominous riddle inspires a flock of varying voices to philosophize and fantasize about altruism, evening up scores, boinking bank tellers, spending final minutes with kids, and "out with a bang, you'll remember my name." My favorite is the guy who says, "Fuck it, I'd probably eat some fried chicken and drink some Nantucket," then insists on playing Lotto even though he won't be around to collect any winnings.
Puff Daddy, as even his ugliest and slugliest Biggie productions demonstrated, is of course a master of juxtaposition (Matthew Wilder with Grandmaster Flash?!), addicted to puffed-up grooves as catchy as ad jingles, nostalgic for the same Reagan-era club of culture as Romy and Michele's High School Reunion - "Puff drive Mercedes/take hits from the '80s/do a sound so crazy" goes Ma$e's big hit, "Feel So Good," with a chorus from Miami Sound Machine over the same Kool and the Gang horns that DJ Kool stole in "Let Me Clear My Throat." And Harlem Worldmight be Puffy's definitive album just because it's his most upbeat, bumping and hustling across the dance floor as it wonders, "Why you standing on the wall with your hand on your balls" (plus more stuff about "Benjamins," natch).
Paranoid about "hatas" denying he's "real," Ma$e lets his "pants sag down to the floor/really doesn't matter as long as I score," his Puff-rap recalling poof-metal poodles Cinderella asking "Who's to care if I grow my hair to the sky?" in "Gypsy Road" a decade ago. Mainly, Harlem World is a concept album about a handsome young man's sex life or lack thereof: In "I Need To Be," Ma$e's homies pressure him to undress his date, but every time he makes a move to love her, 1-2-3 red light she stops him (apparently because he's scared of cunnilingus). Women cheat on him, or cheat on boyfriends with him, and he worries their beaus will beat him up - most hilariously in "Jealous Guy," a yearning six-minute Chi-Lites/ Stylistics falsetto-zodiac-sign-harmony parody as over the top as Oran "Juice" Jones or Cheech and Chong's "Basketball Jones." In "Lookin' at Me," our young stud even wears a tank top to the Greekfest with his family and picks up one Sandy-sans-panties and demands "gotta be a quickie/please no hickeys/'cause wifey's with me." But Sandy confides to an older co-worker who secretly tapes the conversation, and she devilishly keeps a blue dress with Ma$e's semen stain on it as a souvenir. Or maybe I'm mixing him up with somebody else.
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