Dancing With The Devil: How Puff Burned the Bad Boys of HipHop
by Mark Curry
(New Mark Books)
5 out of 5 Stars
Did you ever want to know what it’s like rolling with Diddy and being a part of the world-famous Bad Boy Records? Mark Curry gives you his experience with the mogul in Dancing With The Devil: How Puff Burned the Bad Boys of HipHop. Curry fans away the smoke and dismantles the mirrors with his debut release as an author. What you will find is the good, the bad and gritty lifestyle that Diddy provides to those artists unfortunate to get caught up in the Bad Boy empire.
Although Curry had the talent to carry Bad Boy into the new millennium after the death of The Notorious B.I.G., Diddy dangled a lucrative multimillion dollar career in front of Curry to use him for personal development for Diddy as a HipHop artist. A perfect example of this mimicry is seen and heard in the “Bad Boy For Life” video where Diddy emulates Mark Curry’s style perfectly. Throughout the decade Curry spent getting swindled for his knack for being a superb lyricist and performer, Curry either saw or experienced what Diddy did to become a media magnate. From enticing his artists with riches to doling out terrible contracts to injecting himself on each track and in each Bad Boy video, Diddy did what ever it took to make him richer.
If you grew up listening to HipHop during the Bad Boy era, Dancing With The Devil will give you an intriguing history of rap music during that time from a person lived it. Curry’s attention to detail and ability to weave his personal experiences and research makes this book easy to read and hard to put down. This is more than an expose from a disgruntled artist. Dancing With the Devil is a journey that separates the fact from the fiction. This book shows you the music industry for what it is — harsh and cut throat. If you can go online, Google and YouTube will be your best friend as you journey with Mark Curry through the maze of music, murders and mayhem.
Fans of The Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac will find Dancing With The Devil especially interesting. Curry links together Diddy, Suge Knight and their associates in a way that is sure to get you sitting on the edge of your seat fully attentive to a captivating back story that lead to the early deaths of the brightest HipHop stars the world will ever know. If you thought there was more than meets the eye with Diddy’s situation with Shyne, Curry will lay out what he saw as Shyne’s room mate in one of Diddy’s three-bedroom apartments during the time of the club shooting and Shyne’s subsequent prison sentence. If you wanted to know who wrote the rhymes while Diddy wrote the checks, Curry will give you an inside look at what means to be heard but not seen.
As a biographer, Curry makes this book much more than an expose on Puffy and Bad Boy. He documents his own history, even shedding light on his musical roots. Curry does a great job of detailing his families roots in Gospel, his dad’s connection to early Rock and Roll and his own immersion into the hip hop culture swept across America in the late 70s and early 80s. He even details his experience with the then prepubescent music in Atlanta in the late 80s and early 90s. There is also a section of pictures in the middle of the book that gives you a look in the development of Mark Curry from a little boy to a grown man. It’s almost like Curry invites you into his house to sit down and have dinner with him.
Once you finish with this book, you will have taken a trip that few have the heart to speak about. Dancing With The Devil is more than a one-sided account of a wannabe artists mad at the world. You will have a thorough understanding of why artists such as The L.O.X., Faith Evans, 112, Total, etc. are no longer a part of Bad Boy’s roster. You will hear those Bad Boy classics in a new light once you gain the understanding of why Diddy added his chatter to songs and his presence to the videos.
You might even feel sorry for current Bad Boy artists such as Danity Kane (or what’s left of them), Day 26 and Da Band. The infamous contract signing scenarios take on a new meaning once you are aware of Diddy’s history of jerking people with terrible deals. Curry acts more like a journalist than anything else as he sifts through tons of information and personal experiences to show how the music industry can promise you diamonds with intentions of giving you coal.
Curry’s Dancing With The Devil can easily be considered Bad Boy Records’ version of Fredericks Dannen’s The Hit Men.
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