What do tall tees, fitted caps stitched with every NBA team logo and Da Band have in common? None saw much relevance in Hip-Hop culture after the mid-2000s.
Immortalized by a classic Chappelle Show skit, the group has been relegated to “sideshow status” in the decade since becoming MTV legends for all the right and wrong reasons. Here, six artists from six completely different walks of life were all joined together by Puffy to form a group and develop chemistry on the fly. The mixture was flawed from the beginning, and perhaps the exact reason for their brief popularity.
Freddy P and Ness’ constant bickering drew fans in. Sara’s whatever-the-hell-it-was relationship with her husband was confusing. Choppa just felt like the one guy from the group who would go on to achieve solo stardom based off talent, charisma and the rise and influence of mainstream Southern rap at the time. Babs always seemed like the one who took the opportunity most serious. And Dylan, well, Dylan was bat-shit crazy; the Ron Artest of MTV, if you will.
Take these three truths in regards to Da Band.
1. It was never about finding the next great rap group. If they composed a charting song, awesome. If they arrived at the point of releasing an album, even better. And if Da Band achieved any inkling of commercial pertinence, then shit, it was a low risk/high reward payment which cashed out beautifully anyway. Plus, they were ratings darlings for MTV.
Da Band’s Too Hot For TV – an album which has done everything but age well since its release September 30, 2003 – pushed over 600,000 copies behind the success of the show and their lead single “Bad Boy This, Bad Boy That.” Yet and still, the common denominator at the end of the day was always Puffy. The infamous walk to Brooklyn for cheesecake? The constant “shutting down the studio” claims? Puff was the star of the show and as soon as their ink well dried up, he was already three steps ahead into his next financial foray. Just ask Da Band, Day 26, Danity Kane and Dirty Money.
2. Dylan’s top five rappers will forever be classic. This is not up for debate.
3. Had the group’s prime aired in 2013 instead of 2002-2004, we’re talking potentially a bigger draw on Twitter than Love & Hip-Hop.
So, where are they now? Well, Ness and Babs never amounted into rap’s “Bonnie & Clyde” like Puffy envisioned in 2004. Babs is a driving force behind “Queen Of The Ring,” a battle league for female MC’s. Ness is still in Philly, likely doing who knows what, and the realization over the years has been determined he was never much more than a battle rapper. Dylan actually has new material on World Star Hip Hop, so yeah. Freddy P dropped this painfully hilarious video two years ago, resembling Malice’s book title in the process. Sara apparently used whatever advance money she had left and put it all in her chest. A knife, too, because she’s tried to kill that husband of hers following a domestic dispute. And Choppa, despite a recent arrest and mixtape, let’s just say his #ChoppaSuit made Steve Harvey’s wardrobe appear GQ-worthy and remains one of the funniest trending topics of the past three years.
The only thing which would’ve made this fallout even more classic Bad Boy is if one of the six found religion. Like Mase. Like Loon. Like Shyne. And like Craig Mack. So, yeah, from a “glass half full” perspective, possibly things aren’t as bad as they’ve been painted over the years and Da Band really is the third most popular act Bad Boy produced (Biggie and Mase being the first two). Maybe, but when you’re more known for cheesecake than music, that debate basically answers itself.
“Where The Hell…” wasn’t necessarily intended to highlight Bad Boy Records. Yet, like Lindsay Lohan and blow, some relationships are simply inseparable.
Previously — Where The Hell Is… Craig Mack?