It's All About the Benjamins

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"It's All About the Benjamins"
It's All About The Benjamins.jpg
Single by Puff Daddy featuring Lil' Kim, the Lox and the Notorious B.I.G.
from the album No Way Out
ReleasedAugust 12, 1997
Length4:38
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie for the Hitmen
Puff Daddy singles chronology
"I'll Be Missing You"
(1997)
"It's All About the Benjamins"
(1997)
"Mo Money Mo Problems"
(1997)
Lil' Kim singles chronology
"Not Tonight"
(1997)
"It's All About the Benjamins"
(1997)
"Money, Power & Respect"
(1998)
The Lox singles chronology
"You'll See"
(1996)
"It's All About the Benjamins"
(1997)
"If You Think I'm Jiggy"
(1998)
The Notorious B.I.G. singles chronology
"Mo Money Mo Problems"
(1997)
"It's All About the Benjamins"
(1997)
"Hypnotize"
(1997)
Music video
"It's All About the Benjamins" on YouTube
Audio
"It's All About the Benjamins" on YouTube

"It's All About the Benjamins" is a song by American rapper and producer Puff Daddy. It was released as the third single from his debut studio album No Way Out. "Benjamins" is a slang word for money, referring to Benjamin Franklin's image on the US $100 bill. The song featured an uncredited vocal arrangement by Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott,[1] and featured a signature guitar hook played by Marc Solomon.

Background[edit]

The song debuted in 1996 on DJ Clue's Holiday Holdup mixtape. The mixtape version of the song only featured Puff Daddy and the rap act the Lox (excluding Styles P who still appears in the video). The song was later added to Puffy's debut album, No Way Out, in a remix, "It's All About the Benjamins (Remix)", which added two new verses by Lil' Kim and Notorious B.I.G. Missy Elliot also provided the song with a chorus which the original version lacked. This version of the song also omitted the word "Hebrews" out of Jadakiss' verse; however, the word was left in on the first pressing. Subsequent pressings removed the word. Additionally, when it was released on the Bad Boy's Greatest Hits Vol. I album, it retained the word. The music video won a Viewer's Choice award at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards show. Due to the rarity of the obscure mixtape version, the remix featured on No Way Out is often considered the song's definitive version to avoid confusion.

The song samples two pieces of music. The first sample heard up to the end of Lil' Kim's verse is taken from the song "I Did It for Love" performed by the Love Unlimited written by Linda Laurie and Terry Etlinger. The verse performed by Notorious B.I.G. contains a sample from the Jackson 5 song "It's Great to Be Here." This latter sample is exclusive to the No Way Out remix. After the final verse, the song reverts to the first sample and ends shortly after.

In 2008, "It's All About the Benjamins" was ranked number 32 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip-Hop.[2]

Puffy also released a rap rock[3] version of the song, "It's All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix)". This collaboration, also known as "Shot-Caller Rock Remix" and "Rock Remix I", features Tommy Stinson, Fuzzbubble, Rob Zombie, and Dave Grohl on drums. This remix added guitar riffs and live drums, as well as a more "in your face" approach to the song's chorus. This version had its own music video, directed by Spike Jonze, which was nominated for Best Video of the Year on MTV Video Music Awards in 1998 which was won by Madonna with "Ray of Light".

In 1999, Puffy performed this remix with a live band at the Giants Stadium for the NetAid benefit concert. The performance featured Slash on guitar as well as Lil' Cease and Lil' Kim on vocals.

There is also a slightly different alternative to this remix called, "It's All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix II)." This lesser known version adds Size 14 to the song's already long collaboration line-up.

Both rock remixes of the song were released as edited versions; the explicit versions were only released on promo CDs.

Music videos[edit]

Three music videos were released for the song and two of its remixes. The first music video was directed by Paul Hunter. It featured Puff Daddy, the LOX, Lil' Kim, and Biggie (who appears on a television screen, through archive footage of the Hypnotize music video) and took place in a dimly-lit concert venue and in a forest where the rappers are either running (except Biggie) or rapping.[4]

The second music video (for the remix) is similar to the first one, except Biggie's verse and appearances are removed, replaced by a tap dancing battle between Puff Daddy and Savion Glover, with the latter winning.[5]

The third music video (for the "Rock Remix I") is entirely different. Puff Daddy arrives at a high school prom to see a lackluster band (with the band leader being played by Puff Daddy) performing for a bored audience. He goes to the stage and sings a rock version of his song to the pleasure of the audience. He is joined by Lil' Kim and the LOX. Biggie doesn't appear in the video. During his verse, the rappers and the audience are seen running in the high school.[6][7]

Covers, samples, and in popular culture[edit]

In 1999, "Weird Al" Yankovic performed a parody of the rock remix of "It's All About the Benjamins". Yankovic's version, "It's All About the Pentiums", features himself boasting about the superiority of his computer hardware.

Diddy sampled the song in the remix to "Shot Caller" by French Montana.

The remix of Mariah Carey's "Miss You", originally recorded for Carey's Charmbracelet, samples the song and also features Jadakiss.

Bob Dylan played the song on the "Money: Part 1" episode of his Theme Time Radio Hour show in 2008.[8]

The song has also been covered by the Ballas Hough Band who performed the song with rapper Lil' Kim in 2009.

In 2019, U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar quoted the song title in a tweet about American politicians' support for Israel,[9] which was subsequently criticized as antisemitic.[10]

Commercial performance[edit]

"It's All About the Benjamins" was sold as a maxi-single with the Mase and Notorious B.I.G. collaboration "Been Around The World". "It's All About the Benjamins" reached its peak of number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 on January 3, 1998, behind the million-selling single, "Candle in the Wind 1997" by Elton John, and its peak of number 1 on the Hot Rap charts on December 3, 1997.

Formats and track listings[edit]

Been Around the World (Single)
  1. Been Around the World (Radio Edit)
  2. It's All About the Benjamins (Shot-Caller Rock Remix)
Been Around the World (Maxi-single)
  1. Been Around the World (Radio Edit)
  2. It's All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix I)
  3. It's All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix II)
  4. It's All About the Benjamins (Album Version)
Single (U.K. and Canada only)
  1. It's All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix I)
  2. It's All About the Benjamins (Album Version)
  3. It's All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix II)
  4. It's All About the Benjamins (DJ Ming (DJ) & FS Drum N' Base Mix)

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1997-1998) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart 18
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[11] 2
U.S. Hot 100 Singles Sales[12] 2
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Singles 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1998) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[13] 19

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Memory Lane: Sheek recalls how Missy Elliot saved his verse on "It's All About The Benjamins"". MissInfo.tv. September 28, 2010. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  2. ^ "VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs". Stereogum. September 29, 2008. Retrieved August 30, 2021.
  3. ^ "The Best Rap-Rock Songs". Complex.
  4. ^ Fitzgerald, Trent. "Diddy's Best Song Ever? A Breakdown of 'All About the Benjamins'". The Boombox. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  5. ^ Bad Boy Entertainment, Puff Daddy & The Family - It's All About The Benjamins (Remix) (Official Music Video), retrieved January 10, 2019
  6. ^ Puff Daddy: It's All About the Benjamins, Version 2 (Video 1997), retrieved January 10, 2019
  7. ^ Bad Boy Entertainment, Puff Daddy & The Family - It's All About The Benjamins (Rock Remix I), archived from the original on December 21, 2021, retrieved January 10, 2019
  8. ^ "Episode 76: Money part 1". Theme Time Radio Hour Archive. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  9. ^ "Ilhan Omar Twitter ನಲ್ಲಿ: "It's all about the Benjamins baby 🎶… "". Archived from the original on February 18, 2019. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  10. ^ Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (February 11, 2019). "Ilhan Omar Apologizes for Statements Condemned as Anti-Semitic". The New York Times. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  11. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (January 3, 1998). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. {{cite book}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  12. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (December 27, 1997). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. {{cite book}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  13. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1998". Archived from the original on March 9, 2009. Retrieved August 28, 2010.