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Top 5: Diddy's five best songs of all time

“Don’t be afraid to close your eyes and dream, but then open your eyes and see” — Diddy.

Depending on your generational persuasion, the figure of Sean Combs comes with many guises and monikers. Whether you met the rapper, producer and all-around musical mogul as Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, or simply Diddy, the man you came across was a bonafide legend in the hip hop world.

Few artists have been across so many different iterations of the genre and the professions it provides. Below, however, we are concentrating on the art that Diddy has created.

For most hip hop heads, the idea of Diddy as anything but a mogul is a little ludicrous. The artist, when he did record tracks and put out albums, often relied on ghostwriters and countless other producers to ensure his work met the highest standard. For some, this is sacrilegious; for others, it was Diddy once again carving a path for future artists to follow.

Look across the credits of any recent hip hop album, and you’ll note a whole army of producers and co-credited songwriters. What Diddy was doing in the late-1990s and early ’00s was, whether you like it or not, groundbreaking. He helped to crack open the mainstream working with his friend The Notorious B.I.G. and, later, continued to prise open that channel.

There can be no doubt that Puff is one of the greatest in the game, even if his discography is perhaps one of the weakest of his contemporaries. Any artist able to transcend genre, break socio-political battle lines, ingratiate a way of living into the collective conscience and still make some banging tunes is a winner in our book.

Below are five songs that made Diddy a legend.

P. Diddy’s 5 best songs of all time:

5. ‘It’s All About The Benjamins Baby’

Released as the third single from Puff’s seminal album No Way Out, It’s All About The Benjamins Baby’ is guaranteed to get your party started correctly. A slang term used to describe the $100 bill, the track allowed Puff to exercise his excessive lifestyle and provide an American dream that a new generation could get behind.

While the original certainly holds weight, the real winner comes when Puff drafts in his army of collaborators, this time inviting The Notorious B.I.G. and Lil’ Kim to drop two new verses. Once Missy Elliot added in a bumping chorus, the song was complete, and Puff had his first hit.

4. ‘Victory’

Another No Way Out winner, this one was originally penned by The Notorious B.I.G., Jason Phillips and Steven Jordan but found a permanent home with Puff. The single features Biggie and Busta Rhymes, with both delivering some fire-breathing verses.

Sampling ‘Ging the Distance’, a Bill Contin song that featured in Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky, the track is full of triumphant tub-thumping. As the crescendo nears, confirmation quickly arrives of Puff’s upcoming legendary status.

3. ‘Been Around the World’

Okay, so you may be noticing a theme here. Puff Daddy did much of the best work on his first record and, invariably, with the help of The Notorious B.I.G. and a classic track to sample. ‘Been Around the World’ not only features Biggie and a belting sample of David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ but Mase making a crackling appearance.

If you went to high school in the 1990s, then there is a good chance this song was a permanent fixture on your CD walkman. The kind of song that soundtracked parties, long drives and high school proms as the wall-to-wall banger it is.

2. ‘I’ll Be Missing You’

Following the tragic shooting and death of The Notorious B.I.G., there was a huge void left in the life of Puff Daddy. He’d lost not only his collaborator and manager but also his biggest star and closest friend. It was the kind of tragedy that can only find solace in art.

Asking Biggie’s girlfriend, Faith Evans, to join the song, Puff took a classic sample from The Police and penned some near-perfect verses that reflected not only his public relationship with Biggie but the personal one too. The song and video make up a rich piece of Puff’s iconography.

1. ‘Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems’

Though it is officially credited to The Notorious B.I.G., the Bad Boy crew got together to turn this posthumous track into a barnstormer. It is for that reason that it resides on our list. Using a searing Diana Ross sample of ‘I’m Coming Out’, Puff and Mase deliver some fearsome verses.

If ‘Been Around the World’ was a song that soundtracked a generation of house parties, this is the song that continues to infiltrate the mainstream. A party-starting banger, the track is bound to put a smile o anyone’s face. Check it out below.