Throwback Thursday: Diddy – “It’s All About the Benjamins” (featuring The Notorious B.I.G., Lil’ Kim and The LOX)
Today is Diddy’s 52nd birthday, so it’s only right that we take a look back at the remix to “It’s All About the Benjamins.”
If you’re confused, let me explain: The version of “It’s All About the Benjamins” we know and love is actually a remix. An earlier version of the song had appeared on DJ Clue’s Holiday Holdup mixtape in December 1996. This version only had verses from Diddy (then called Puff Daddy) and two thirds of The LOX (Jadakiss and Sheek Louch).
A few months later, a remix of the song would appear on Diddy’s debut album, No Way Out. On this version, there are two additional verses in addition to the three on the original — one from Lil’ Kim and another from The Notorious B.I.G. Also, unlike the original, this version has a hook. The addition of immortal words, “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” was the brain child of a then-unknown singer and rapper named Melissa Elliott, who would soon be known to the world as Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott. According to Sheek Louch, she is also the reason why The LOX’s third member, Styles P, didn’t make the song.
“It’s All About the Benjamins” is based on a sample of “I Did It for Love” by Love Unlimited. An additional sample — “It’s Great to Be Here” by The Jacksons — is used for Biggie’s verse. The song would peak at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Diddy’s first single (as a lead artist) to miss the No. 1 spot.
“It’s All About the Benjamins” is a true classic that exemplifies the essence of Diddy and the swagginess of Bad Boy Entertainment at its peak. And nearly a quarter of a century later, it still gets played in the clubs regularly — and people who weren’t even born when it dropped rap every word like they wrote it themselves.