As the bright, black and white “Uptown Records” sign descended from the ceiling, its light illuminated the room and the audience stood on their feet. The moment we’d been waiting for all night—Diddy’s Lifetime Achievement Award tribute—had arrived.
Three members of Jodeci kicked off the 13-minute set with a lively rendition of their 1991 hit single, “Come & Talk To Me” before Mary J. Blige slipped in with a heart-wrenching performance of “It’s Going Down” with the audience singing along to every word and note.
The momentum continued as Diddy himself stood in silhouette formation singing the first verse of his 1998 single, “Victory” before the Bad Boy Entertainment sign took over the stage. Shyne surprised the crowd with a modern flip of his debut single, “Bad Boyz,” and highlighted the political figure he is today while still paying homage to the rapper we grew up with.
Diddy was later joined by Lil Kim and The LOX for a dynamic tease of “All About The Benjamins.” He hit us with his infamous Diddy bop with an interlude of “I Need A Girl (Pt. 2)” before taking the audience back to the club days of 2002 with Busta Rhymes’ hit, “Pass the Courvoisier,” which they jokingly remixed into “Pass The Ciroc This Way.” Honestly, though, the only dance appropriate for this moment was Nick Cannon’s move from Love Don’t Cost A Thing (and if you know, you know).
Honoring his new label, Love Records, Bryson Tiller joined the business mogul for a performance of “Gotta Move On,” their new single from Diddy’s forthcoming album with Motown.
However, the fast-paced set slowed things down to honor all the impactful people from Diddy’s life as he dedicated the final performance of “I’ll Be Missing You” to the late Kim Porter, the Notorious B.I.G., and Heavy D. The final number was ushered in by a video of Porter sharing how proud she was of him when he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in May 2008.
The late model and actress expressed, “From Harlem to Hollywood, that’s a long journey and you’re the only person I can think of that’s so deserving of this star. You’ve worked so hard—your blood, sweat, and tears, and you’ve arrived.”
A video montage of intimate moments between Porter and Puffy began to play and by that point, there wasn’t a dry eye in sight. Faith Evans and Maverick City Music joined the rapper-producer to close out the set.
Watch the full Diddy & Friends tribute above.