Review: ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story’ Chronicles Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Legacy And Musical Movement
Over the course of 20-plus years, Combs has launched the careers of a roster of artists now considered legends. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story made its debut on Thursday (April 27) at the Tribeca Film Festival. Before the documentary began its director Daniel Kaufman, shared his thoughts on creating the film.
“The movie for me was a process of watching a whole bunch of old friends come together for a celebration of their legacy,” Kaufman said onstage at The Beacon Theatre in New York City. “I don’t think there was a better way to celebrate that celebration than by coming here to the city that has meant so much to them.”
The 80-minute film chronicles Diddy’s epic rise to the top of the music game, and details the process behind last year’s legendary 20th anniversary Bad Boy Reunion tour. Amid the detail-oriented plan, you’ll see bits and pieces of the stars from his historic Bad Boy roster – and their respected careers – from Faith Evans, the late Biggie Smalls, Lil Kim, Mary J.Blige, Mase and Total, and many others. Aside from the captivating glimpses of stardom, seeing Diddy’s story of ascension is simply inspirational.
After getting his break through Andre Harrell’s Uptown Records, Combs was fired – due to his ego-driven attitude. Although it was a humbling experience, it was a blessing in disguise for there might not have been a Bad Boy Records or the legacy that followed it.
But to create a movement with such longevity as Bad Boy’s, a lot of work and tears need to be put in. Kaufman excels at showcasing what really happened behind the scenes when orchestrating the concert. A stressed Diddy is seen in the midst of preparing for the long-awaited event, which kicked off on May 20, 2016 on Biggie’s birthday weekend. Well-renowned choreographer Laurieann Gibson–who is part of the film– admits how she enjoys seeing Combs at his most vulnerable.
Additionally, viewers will see Diddy struggle with some orthopedic issues with his shoulder–there a few scenes in which a doctor has to intervene.
Like in any career defining moment, there was some hesitation and anxiety about getting back on stage for some of Bad Boy’s most coveted acts, like Mase and Total. In a humorous scene, Mase complains to his boss about not looking as fit to preside on stage. However, in true Diddy hilarity he makes a joke out of it, and persistently coaxes him to oblige.
Viewers also see Lil Kim and Faith Evans’ beef pertaining to Biggie’s love. During rehearsal for the concert, at one point the awkward tension between the two is palpable. Diddy attempts to talk to Kim about it, but she doesn’t want to hear it. Ultimately, Faith takes the high road and approaches her—things seemingly resolve.
In a recent interview with VIBE, Faith talked about the collaboration she and Kim worked on in honor of Biggie. “‘Lovin’ You For Life’ with Lil’ Kim is very special,” Faith said. “When I first asked her to do the song, it was during the first rehearsals for the Bad Boy reunion concerts at Barclays. She said, ‘Of course,’ but I didn’t have the record yet. About halfway through the tour, I told her I had the song and I knew it was the one.”
The documentary also shows the beef between the East and West coast rap scene that unfortunately took the lives of its main contenders: Tupac Shakur and Biggie. The aftermath of B.I.G’s death is heartbreaking to watch, as footage of his casket parade the streets of Bedford Stuyvesant, and includes Lil Kim and Mary J. Blige dissolving into tears.
On a lighter note, in true Diddy fashion, viewers witness many of his antics on screen. He quips about how the legendary company birthed those who eventually sought enlightenment with the higher power. Mase became a pastor. Craig Mack also became religious and after his stint in prison (for a New York City nightclub shooting incident in 1999 involving Diddy and Jennifer Lopez ), rapper Shyne turned to Orthodox Judaism, as detailed in a New York Times article, titled, “Rapper Finds Order in Orthodox Judaism in Israel.”
In spite of all the loss Bad Boy has faced, there’s no denying that the outcome of Diddy’s vision has been a lucrative one. Combs’ epic wealth is displayed in small interludes. His custom-made candy room is adorned in all white walls in one of his homes, while excerpts of him partying it up with members of the crew are sprinkled in between. Onlookers also see Diddy’s humble beginnings as a child growing up in Mount Vernon, New York who always wanted a swimming pool as he watched other kids in theirs.
You have to give it up to the man who created a whole empire, and morphed around the way people into superstars. It’s a Bad Boy thing.