A lot happened to Sean Combs during the two-year gap between Forever and The Saga Continues. Besides the obvious name change to P. Diddy and his daily appearances in the news, the overdramatic rap artist saw his popularity drop considerably during those two years -- a serious issue for someone as attention-hungry as Combs. So The Saga Continues signals to everyone that his Bad Boy empire is in fact still an empire. "Bad Boy for Life," the album's big, opening anthem, perhaps sums up the situation best: "We ain't going nowhere/We can't be stopped." It's a fairly simple claim, but this pretension towers largely over every single second of this album. Combs isn't just trying to make great music anymore; he's trying to reclaim his credibility. In his mission to do so, he has recruited the latest roster of Bad Boy talent, anchored by two stellar rappers, Black Rob and G. Dep, who are to be viewed as the successors to the departed Biggie Smalls and Shyne. Combs gives these two plenty of time in the spotlight here -- as much as himself -- and they definitely showcase their talent commendably, as do many of the other Family members. It's nice to see Combs stay in-house for this album rather than assembling a disparate best-of-the-best roster like he did on Forever. This decision helps give the album more of a cohesive feel, as these Family members, and also the often daring production, make this an impressive album at times. It's Combs himself, though, who mars what could be a solid album with his rhetorical swagger. When he's surrounded by his crew, he's fine, though you wish he could rap as well as he can present the talent of others. Rather, it's when Combs steps into the spotlight, particularly during the numerous interludes, that his swaggering often goes too far, teetering on the fine line between self-assurance and unintentional farce.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
feat: G. Dep
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