Puff Daddy Details History of 1997 Hit ‘Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down’ [VIDEO]
There are some songs that make a special impact on an artist’s career and for Puff Daddy, that track is his 1997 hit ‘Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down.’
“It did become a part of a very, very important part of the soundtrack to my life,” the rap mogul says about the song featuring Ma$e. He and others associated with the record recall how it was created and the impact it had in Complex’s Magnum Opus video series.
‘Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down’ (or an “experiment” as he calls it) was the Bad Boy founder’s second attempt at rapping, as he first spit a few bars on Super Cat’s 1993 cut ‘Dolly My Baby.’ This time, he would change his flow to a more monotone style, thanks to working with Ma$e.
And although many around Mr. Combs were skeptical about him performing on records, especially since the Super Cat song, he was determined anyway. “I can’t say we invented talk-rapping, but we were definitely part of the pioneers of just talk it out,” he reveals.
The song sampled Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s ‘The Message.’ In 1993, Ice Cube rapped over that track for his ‘Check Yo Self’ record, which is the reason Ma$e was reluctant to even use the sample again — especially since there were some East Coast and West Coast tensions at the time.
“That record was Ice Cube’s record,” the ‘Harlem World’ creator recalls. “So when I heard it I was thinking, ‘What are we doing’? This is Ice Cube beat.’ And at that point we had already had beef with the West Coast, so I was thinking, ‘Why are we doing this beat again? This is not going [to] be good.'”
Furthermore, Ma$e shares that he would write what he considered to be a dope verse for the song, but Puffy would take it for himself. And at that time, he knew he was going to have to work extra hard for Bad Boy.
“So I would write a dope verse and think it’s for me,” he explains. “And he was like, ‘No, I wanna say the verse you were going to say for you.’ And then at that point I realized working with him I’m going to have to go over the top, ’cause the verse I think’s for me may be his verse.”
Fun fact: Foxy Brown was originally given the song to record but she turned it down. Find out why and watch Puff and his team recount the history of ‘Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down’ above.