After just completing Mark Curry’s Puffy tell-all Dancing With the Devil, I tried in vain to find some online reviews. Call it bad luck, or a faulty internet connection, but every page where there was a write-up turned up blank or missing. Hmmm… I had been wanting to read this book for months because it purported to describe the falsehoods that Puffy portrays to the music business. While it is now no secret that a deal with Bad Boy Records is pure career suicide, I was still intriguided to find out what Curry had to say. And after reading this book, all I could think about was that scene in the Biggie biopic Notorious where he receives that check from Puffy for $25,000. Sadly, that check was likely the largest sum Biggie ever saw at one time while he was alive. Among the stories in the book:

How Puffy un-heroically left Biggie hours after the rapper was shot, and how he lied about being the first to contact Voletta Wallace:

“Puff was freakin’ out,” L’il Cease said in a recent documentary. Cease said that while he and members of Junior Mafia were trying to figure out how to get Biggie back home, Puff went back to his hotel, grabbed his stuff, and was on a plane for New York in less than three hours.

How Puffy’s actions lead to the firing of industry legend Clive Davis from BMG Records. After a physical altercation with producer Steve Stoute over the blasphemous “Hate Me Now” video, executives from BMG began to think of Puffy, and subsequently, Davis, as a liability.

Days after the Club New York incident, BMG decided that Puff had become too much of a liability. Since Clive Davis had already been admonished after the Stoute incident, BMG wasted no time putting plans in motion to fire him. BMG officials quietly offered Davis’ job to LA Reid, and purchased LaFace Records for $100 million in exchange for Reid accepting the job.

And Curry’s disillussionment when, after writing and producing several hits for Puffy, being told that his own album would never come to fruition:

I started calling a friend in the accounting department at Bad Boy and asking her if my budget had been approved yet. I was calling her office so much that I knew I was getting on her nerves, so one day I simply dropped by to see her.
“Mark, I hate to tell you this, but there is no budget for your album.”

And the list goes on: The shady contract that gave up virtually all publishing rights and royalties from The Lox, even as they moved to another label. Puff’s suspicious alliances with known gang bangers, his ever-growing empire and endless supply of cash flow while his artists go broke and resort to a life of crime… The stories are endless. Hopefully enough young artists with be read this cautionary tale and become a little more business-savvy and a lot less star struck.

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