Early in its run, Bad Boy Records dominated the game. The label quickly built around The Notorious B.I.G. and Faith Evans. Founded by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Bad Boy Records was quickly becoming a second-generation Def Jam. While Combs established himself a new-and-improved Russell Simmons, B.I.G. never had the chance to have a legacy like LL Cool J, as he was brutally murdered.
Bad Boy Records has had a number of hits over the past fourteen years, but the label has never had another flagship artist like their original. Immediately following Biggie’s death, Mase became the new face of the label. However, during the promo run of his sophomore album, Mase decided to quit rap to become a preacher.
In 1999, Shyne became the new flagship artist for Bad Boy, but he was soon arrested and serving time in prison. Loon stepped up to the plate in 2003, but his career quickly fizzled, also. In 2009, Combs announced he had signed Red Cafe to the label. During the fall, Bad Boy Records left Atlantic Records for a new deal at Interscope Records. Diddy said Red Cafe would now be the focal point of Bad Boy Records.
Aside from being Bad Boy’s new flagship artist, Red Cafe was also the head of his own Shakedown movement. Red Cafe has been working for well over five years, trying to gain exposure and release his debut album. After two years of delays, on Bad Boy, Diddy announced Red Cafe would soon be taking his rightful place as the new flagship artist of Bad Boy Records. Red Cafe also discussed the situation and announced his debut album would be released on Valentine’s Day 2012.
But, for nearly ten years, Bad Boy Records has been struggling. Bad Boy Records has been struggling two years longer than the New York hip hop scene. Long before his Bad Boy days, Red Cafe was said to be the artist who would return New York to hip hop prominence. Now, he is being hailed as the man who can make the same happen for Bad Boy Records. However, Red Cafe does not have much more buzz than any of the other New York rappers in the game.
Once Red Cafe gets the Bad Boy machine behind him, will he be able to re-ignite New York hip hop and, in turn, place Bad Boy Records back on top of the game?