By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
Forever isn't disreputable in the least. "What You Want" has a cool, Mobyish track. "I'll Do This for You" and especially the Jay-Z duet "Do You Like It. . . . Do You Want It. . . ." could be hits, unless the Jigga market is saturated. "Satisfy You" borrows R. Kelly to bow to the ladies. "Fake Thugs Dedication" is an MC Lyte cover far more surprising than the Public Enemy cover. "Real Niggas" successfully exhumes B.I.G., with Lil' Kim added. There's a battle medley with moments, a God tribute based on a Christopher Cross loop of all things (hey, why not, Enrique Iglesias's big hit scoops up a chunk of "Dust in the Wind"). Puffy is arguably rapping better, though he still has a .22 caliber voice and a tendency to mimic whatever guest vocalist he's playing off.
But Bo Diddy knows he's slipping. He samples dialogue from Scarface (a saga that's kind
of Glick plus Glocks): "You need people like me so you can point your fucking fingers and say that's the bad guy. So say goodnight to the bad guy. Last time you're gonna see a bad guy like this again." Good idea, trying to make his fight against fate the theme here. Trouble is, when the tide turns on a type like Sean Combs, it isn't because he's a public enemy, it's just fickle attention spans moving on and no one remembering to look back. "I wasn't a selfish producer," Puffy told Charlie Rose, meaning he put his audience's reaction first. "I wasn't doing it for me." Fine, as long as you have an audience. What makes Puffy run? I believe we're about to find out again.