Jay Z made a surprise onstage appearance at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Friday for the opening night of Puff Daddy‘s Bad Boy Family Reunion, a concert that also featured unannounced guests like Nas, Usher, Rick Ross, Ty Dolla $ign and Busta Rhymes.
“You’ve been there with me through my ups and downs. Whenever I get in trouble, this is the one I call. This is my strategist right here, this my brother, this B.I.G.’s brother, this Brooklyn’s own,” Puff Daddy said in introducing Jay Z on what would have been the Notorious B.I.G.‘s 44th birthday. “That’s why I appreciate you. He came from 5,000 miles away to come here to Brooklyn to represent for B.I.G.” Jay Z then performed Diddy’s “favorite joint,” “Public Service Announcement.”
Members of the Bad Boy Family in attendance for the kickoff of the label’s 20th anniversary celebration included singer and Notorious B.I.G. widow Faith Evans, Lil Kim, 112, Ma$e, French Montana and, as special guest, Mary J. Blige. (Blige won’t be taking part when the Bad Boy Family Reunion goes on tour starting this August.)
Nas made an unannounced visit onstage to perform “Hate Me Now,” his 1999 hit that featured Puff Daddy. At Barclays Center, both rappers wore black coats with impossibly long trains that each required two handlers to carry around the stage. Usher also joined Puff Daddy onstage to perform the Diddy single “I Need a Girl.” “When I met you, you was like 14. You’ve really grew up to be an international motherfucking superstar,” Puff told Usher before the performance.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, contrary to Evans’ comments prior to the concert, the performance did not feature a Notorious B.I.G. hologram. Instead, Puff Daddy rapped along to B.I.G.’s music videos. The first Bad Boy Family Reunion concluded with all of the label’s veterans congregating onstage alongside a choir to perform Puff Daddy’s tribute to Biggie, “I’ll Be Missing You.”
Bad Boy will hold another reunion Saturday night at the Barclays Center.