No Way Out (Puff Daddy album)

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No Way Out
No Way Out - Puff Daddy.jpg
Studio album by Puff Daddy & The Family
Released July 1, 1997
Recorded July 1996 – April 1997
Genre Hip hop, East Coast hip hop
Length 77:52
Producer Sean Combs (also exec.), Christopher Wallace (also exec.), "D-Dot"(also exec.), The Hitmen (Steven "Stevie J" Jordan, Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence, Nashiem Myrick, Carlos "6 July" Broady, Jeffery "J-Dub" Walker and Yogi), Black Jeruz, Big Jaz
Puff Daddy & The Family chronology
No Way Out
Singles from No Way Out
  1. "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down"
    Released: January 7, 1997
  2. "I'll Be Missing You"
    Released: May 27, 1997
  3. "It's All About the Benjamins (Remix)"
    Released: June 30, 1997
  4. "Been Around the World"
    Released: August 12, 1997
  5. "Victory"
    Released: March 17, 1998

No Way Out is the debut studio album by American hip hop recording artist, songwriter and record producer Puff Daddy. It was released on July 1, 1997, by his label Bad Boy. The label's official crediting as "The Family" featured guest appearances from his label-mates and other artists. The production on the album was provided by Puff Daddy (real name Sean Combs), alongside with a variety of the members from the production group called The Hitmen. Puff Daddy also served as an executive producer alongside The Notorious B.I.G. and D-Dot (of The Hitmen). It contains generally introspective content based on the shooting death of his friend and rapper The Notorious B.I.G., who died from the shooting on March 9, 1997, which affected Combs emotionally. The album's content consists largely of aggressive lyrics but also includes elements of positive emotion.

The album received generally mixed to positive reviews from music critics, who wrote positively about its emotional feel and production, but were divided in their reviews towards Puff Daddy's rapping and songwriting.[citation needed] The album earned Combs five nominations at the 40th Grammy Awards in 1998, winning the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.[1]


Speaking about the album's title, Puff Daddy said that because of The Notorious B.I.G.’s death on March 9, 1997, he had felt that there is 'no way out' of things the way we were. The album's lyrical content is filled with some of his emotions that he felt while mourning the loss of his close friend. In the song, titled “Is This the End?”, he raps about experiencing the drive-by shooting that happened in Los Angeles, California, which took The Notorious B.I.G.'s life. The album was originally called Puff Daddy & The Goodfellas, then slated to be titled Hell Up in Harlem, but following the death of The Notorious B.I.G., he decided to switch the album's title to No Way Out. As discussed in "Unbelievable: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of The Notorious B.I.G." by Cheo Hodari Coker, the weight of the East Coast/West Coast rivalry and the accompanying threats had taken its toll on Combs and those around him. It was decided that they needed to get away and become focused on making hits. So, Combs brought producers Steven "Stevie J." Jordan, Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie, Nashiem Myrick and Ron "AMEN-RA" Lawrence as well as engineers Axel Niehaus and Tony Maserati down to the Caribbean Sound Basin studio in Maraval, Trindad, along with everything that they needed to craft hits. In the book, Puffy is quoted as saying, "For the next two years, I wanna have radio on lock. Call the girlfriend, wifey, or whatever, and let ‘em know that you’re not gonna be around for a few weeks. We’re gonna get away from all this drama, put our heads together, and when we come back, we’re coming back with hits." The material would later be used on No Way Out, Life After Death and other Bad Boy albums from 1997 to 1999.


In the United States, the album topped on the Billboard charts, with 561,000 copies sold in the first week. The album topped music charts worldwide for 24 non-consecutive weeks. In 1998, No Way Out would win the Grammy Award for the Best Rap Album. On September 7, 2000, the album was certified seven-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In 1997, among the ten songs that reached at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 list, four of them belonged to Bad Boy Records. The album spawned two Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles – "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" and "I'll Be Missing You" – and the "number 2" singles "Been Around the World" and "It's All About the Benjamins". The longest reign of the label's four hits was this single "I'll Be Missing You", which topped the charts for 11 weeks. The melody for "I'll Be Missing You" is sampled from The Police's 1983 hit "Every Breath You Take". This successful album led to Puff Daddy to be named as one of Forbes' 40th highest-paid entertainers, along with southern hip hop rapper Master P and Oprah Winfrey.

The music video for "Been Around the World" features cameo appearances by Jennifer Lopez, playing Puff Daddy's love interest in a fictional storyline. Its positive reception led to widespread rumors of a personal relationship between the two in the media. This was later confirmed when Puff Daddy and Lopez dated for a period of time in the late 1990s. Furthermore, the music video for "Victory" was one of the most expensive videos ever made.[2] The song titled "No Way Out" performed by Puff Daddy, appeared on the soundtrack for the film Money Talks (1997), but is not included on this album.

Critical and commercial performance[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[3]
Christgau's Consumer Guide (2-star Honorable Mention)[6]
Entertainment Weekly C+[4]
Pitchfork Media 7.8/10[5]

Upon its release, No Way Out was a significant commercial success, particularly in the United States where it reached number one on the Billboard 200 in its first week, selling 561,000 copies. It also produced five commercially successful singles, the most successful of these being the worldwide hit "I'll Be Missing You", a tribute song aimed at The Notorious B.I.G., which became the first rap song ever to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and remained at the top of the chart for 11 consecutive weeks, whilst topping several other charts worldwide. The other four singles, the Billboard hits "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down", "It's All About the Benjamins", "Been Around the World" and "Victory", were also commercially successful, and all except the latter peaked in the top two positions of the Billboard Hot 100. On September 7, 2000, the album was certified septuple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of 7,000,000+ copies in the United States:[7] to date, it remains Combs' most commercially successful album.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks except "Young G's" were produced by the then-current members of Bad Boy Records' in house production team, The Hitmen.

# Title Length Featured Guest(s) Producer(s) Samples and interpolations
1 "No Way Out (Intro)" 1:22 Steven "Stevie J" Jordan for The Hitmen
2 "Victory" 4:56 The Notorious B.I.G. & Busta Rhymes Sean "Puffy" Combs & Steven "Stevie J" Jordan for The Hitmen
3 "Been Around the World" 5:25 The Notorious B.I.G. & Mase Sean "Puffy" Combs, Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie, & Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence for The Hitmen
4 "What You Gonna Do?" 4:55 Sean "Puffy" Combs, Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence & Nashiem Myrick for The Hitmen
5 "Don't Stop What You're Doing" 3:58 Lil' Kim Sean "Puffy" Combs & Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence for The Hitmen
6 "If I Should Die Tonight (Interlude)" 2:59 Carl Thomas Sean "Puffy" Combs & Jeffery "J-Dub" Walker for The Hitmen
7 "Do You Know?" 6:06 Sean "Puffy" Combs & Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie for The Hitmen
  • "Concentrate" performed by The Gaturs
  • "Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going to)" performed by Diana Ross
8 "Young G's" 5:25 Jay-Z & The Notorious B.I.G. Rashad Smith
  • "On the Hill" performed by Oliver Sain
  • "Little Ghetto Boy" performed by Donny Hathaway (Interpolation)
  • "Vapors" performed by Biz Markie
  • "Unbelievable" performed by The Notorious B.I.G.
9 "I Love You Baby" 4:03 Black Rob Sean "Puffy" Combs, Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence & Jay "Waxx" Garfield for The Hitmen
  • "Xtabay (Lure Of The Unknown Love)" performed by Yma Sumac
10 "It's All About the Benjamins (Remix)" 4:38 The LOX, Lil' Kim & The Notorious B.I.G. Sean "Puffy" Combs & Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie for The Hitmen
11 "Pain" 5:08 Sean "Puffy" Combs & Nashiem Myrick for The Hitmen
12 "Is This the End?" 4:34 Carl Thomas, Ginuwine & Twista Sean "Puffy" Combs & Steven "Stevie J" Jordan for The Hitmen
13 "I Got the Power" 4:05 The LOX Sean "Puffy" Combs for The Hitmen, Big Jaz
14 "Friend" 6:37 Foxy Brown Sean "Puffy" Combs & Steven "Stevie J" Jordan for The Hitmen
15 "Señorita" 4:07 Sean "Puffy" Combs & Yogi for The Hitmen
16 "I'll Be Missing You" 5:43 Faith Evans & 112 Sean "Puffy" Combs & Steven "Stevie J" Jordan for The Hitmen
17 "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" 3:51 Mase Sean "Puffy" Combs, Carlos "6 July" Broady & Nashiem Myrick for The Hitmen


Credits for No Way Out adapted from Allmusic.[8]


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[9] 17
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[10] 9
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia)[11] 24
Canadian Albums Chart[12] 1
Dutch Albums Chart[13] 6
French Albums Chart[14] 18
Greek Albums Chart[15] 3
New Zealand Albums Chart[16] 12
UK Albums Chart[17] 8
US Billboard 200[12] 1
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[12] 1


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[18] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[19] 7× Platinum 7,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Strauss, Neil (January 7, 1998). "Grammy Nominations Yield Surprises, Including Newcomer's Success". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. p. 2. Retrieved 16 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "SoYouWanna know the ten most expensive music videos? – Videos 4 – 2". Archived from the original on February 10, 2010. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  3. ^ Stanley, Leo. "No Way Out". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-08-24. 
  4. ^ Considine, J.D. (1997-08-08). "No Way Out". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2017-08-24. 
  5. ^ Pearce, Sheldon (2017-03-09). "Puff Daddy & the Family: No Way Out Album Review". Retrieved 2017-08-24. 
  6. ^ "Robert Christgau: Album: Puff Daddy & the Family: No Way Out". Retrieved 2017-08-24. 
  7. ^ "Diddy searchable database". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2011. 
  8. ^ "No Way Out > Puff Daddy & The Family > Credits". Allmusic. Macrovision. Retrieved 16 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "Puff Daddy & The Family – No Way Out". Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  10. ^ "Puff Daddy & The Family – No Way Out". Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  11. ^ "Puff Daddy & The Family – No Way Out". Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c "Diddy – Charts & Awards – Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Macrovision. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  13. ^ "Puff Daddy & The Family – No Way Out". Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  14. ^ "Puff Daddy & The Family – No Way Out". Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  15. ^ "Puff Daddy & The Family – No Way Out". Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  16. ^ "Puff Daddy & The Family – No Way Out". Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  17. ^ "Puff Daddy And The Family – No Way Out". Chart Stats. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  18. ^ "British album certifications – Puff Daddy – No Way Out". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter No Way Out in the search field and then press Enter.
  19. ^ "American album certifications – Puff Daddy – No Way Out". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Men in Black: The Album by Various artists
The Art of War by Bone Thugs N Harmony
The Dance by Fleetwood Mac
Billboard 200 number-one album
August 16–23, 1997
August 30 – September 13, 1997
September 19–23, 1997
Succeeded by
The Art of War by Bone Thugs N Harmony
The Dance by Fleetwood Mac
Ghetto D by Master P