The first time I heard "Victory" from Puff Daddy's No Way Out I got so energized that I went to the gym. This is something of a minor miracle by itself, but I was feeling the music, and so I rushed to the punching bag and hammered it for two, maybe three minutes, before collapsing into a pathetic wheezing heap. Puffy may have "appropriated" the Rocky music for the track, but I was no Italian Stallion. Some things never change.

If this story sounds at all familiar then maybe you can relate. Sure, it was easy to like Puffy back when life was all Benjamins and Jennifer Lopez, but try playing that track at a party now. You'll get laughed out of the room. Now Jennifer has become J-Lo, left Puffy, who is now P. Diddy, and signed a contract to be in at least three movies a year until the end of time. Meanwhile, Puffy hasn't had a hit for years, unless you count 2002's not-so-subtle whine "I Need A Girl," which I don't. Count, that is.

What makes "Victory" such a great song for a guy like me is that, unlike a lot of rap, Puffy isn't talking about killing people and chopping up their families and then killing their goldfish all because they spilled some Courvoisier on his new kicks. At his best, Puffy rapped about two things: spending money and making music that people could dance to. In fact, every single line of his in "Victory" is a variation on that theme.

To heighten the tension on "Victory," real thug the Notorious B.I.G. supplied the brawn to Puffy's "brain," and if you're at all like me, you had a big friend who did that part when you looped the song and drove around blasting it. I say it like I'm talking about ninth grade, but it's really more like last Tuesday. God, I'm pathetic.

-Eliot Sherman


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