This Is an Emotional Heat Check: Puff Daddy

Sylvia Linares/FilmMagic

Police say that Puff Daddy was involved in a violent confrontation that involved a kettlebell at a UCLA athletic facility Monday. According to TMZ, Diddy became angry with the Bruins football strength-and-conditioning coach when he yelled at Puff’s son, a member of the team, during a workout session on Sunday. Puff showed up the next day to confront the coach about it, and, according to reports, things got out of hand. Puff was charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of making terrorist threats, and one count of battery. I don’t want to talk about how ridiculous all of this is, though (even though I’m going to do exactly that in just a little bit). I want to talk about the Puff Daddy Emotional Heat Check.

Here’s the standard definition of our Emotional Heat Check columns:

A heat check is (mostly) a basketball term. It’s used to reference a shot attempt, specifically a difficult one attempted after a handful of easier, wiser shots have been made. Think on it like this: You make a layup, then you make a wide-open midrange jumper, then you make a wide-open 3-pointer. That’s great. Those are smart shots. You’re feeling very good about yourself and all the decisions you’ve made in life that have led you to that point, so the next time down court you receive the ball and then chuck up a 29-foot fadeaway. That’s the heat check. You are literally checking to see if you are figuratively hot. If you make it, you shoot again. If that goes in, then you do it again. And again. And again. Until you miss. Each make becomes exponentially more exciting and intriguing and more of an accelerant.

That’s what this is, except it’s an emotional heat check instead of a basketball one, and instead of a basketball player it’s Puffy, and instead of shot attempts it’s a response to a situation. Here’s his chart:

2102426-0Shea Serrano

Puff’s not that great at Emotional Heat Checks, it would appear.

At the Rim: 2/2, 100 percent

  1. This was the time he gave a Top-Five Live Performance Ever at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. This was a make, make, make. My instinct is to try to describe what it felt like to watch it, but those emotions are simply too complex to put into words. Instead, I’ll just describe the performance itself. It had: explosions; fireworks; smoke; three separate dance breaks, one of which included a little kid in motocross gear performing a routine with Puff; pieces of SIX different songs; Puff starting off the whole thing from 30 feet in the air; Usher doing a Michael Jackson kick to a pane of glass and shattering it as part of his intro; Pharrell (this was back when Pharrell was for real cool and not corporate cool); Busta Rhymes (very cool); Ginuwine (he was also cool, if you can even believe that); people on super-spring legs doing back flips and shit; breakdancers; more, more, more. Oh great, I’m crying again.

If this kettlebell thing goes to trial, here’s what should happen: Puff’s lawyer should walk into the courtroom, set his briefcase down, look at the judge, and be like: “Your honor, if my client were to be found by this court to have attacked another human with a kettlebell, well, that would not be good at all. But you know what is good?” And then right at that moment there’d be an explosion. The little kid from the 2002 show would rappel down from the ceiling and land on the judge’s bench, Puff would jump up there, and then they’d do the dance routine again. That’s a little thing called being a good lawyer.

  1. Trying to hit someone with a kettlebell is in no way a good life choice, but I understand that watching something happen to your kid that you consider to be unfair turns your blood black. The violence is unacceptable, but the anger is reasonable — this is a make. One time when one of my sons was 4 or so, we were at this park. He was sitting down in the middle of the playground playing with a toy, just being very perfect, and I was sitting down on a bench off to the side. Some little boy wandered over, snatched my son’s toy from him, then ran away. I watched it happen, and it was the fastest I’d ever gone from not caring about a person to white-hot hating him. What I should have done was find the boy’s parent, explain what happened, then broker some sort of meeting between him and my son and make everything cool like that. That’s not what I did, though. What I did was wait until the little boy wandered over near my bench, make a psst! noise, smile and motion for him to come closer, and then, when he did, I took a handful of the playground mulch and tossed it in his face. It wasn’t the right thing to do, but it was the thing that I felt needed to be done.

Straightaway 3: 0/2, 0 percent

  1. This is the time when he was accused of attacking Steve Stoute with a champagne bottle. He pleaded guilty to harassment, but denied the champagne bottle part. It all started when Stoute released a version of a music video that Puffy didn’t like. It’s a miss. I respect Puff’s resourcefulness; he’s like the goddamn Jackie Chan of assaults. But you can’t just go around hitting people with shit whenever you feel like it.
  1. The time he tried to make Donnie Klang into an R&B star. IT WAS A MISS. Look:

Poor Donnie. This was like when Puffy turned Biggie into a rap superstar, except the opposite.

Right Elbow Jumper: 0/1, 0 percent

This was the time he had a Mohawk.

If you’re older than 17, a Mohawk is the correct answer 0 percent of the time. The only thing a Mohawk is good for is making it real easy for others to look out into a crowd and know who they should never talk to. This is Miss City.

Right Wing 3: 0/1, 0 percent

This was the time TMZ reported that Puffy beat up Drake. Don’t do that. Don’t beat up Drake. Don’t you dare beat up Drake.

Right Corner 3: 0/1, 0 percent

  1. This was the time he sang to Godzilla in the “Come With Me” video with Jimmy Page:

I remember being very excited when I heard this song because I thought it was going to be the thing that would help me convince my dad that rap music was as impactful as rock music. It wasn’t that, though. It super wasn’t that. You’ve never seen anyone as disappointed in anything as my dad was when I played it for him. He made the same face he did when he told me he thought I should follow in his footsteps and join the Army and I told him I didn’t think that was a good idea because I really thought I had what it took to be a professional hip-hop dancer. Miss.

Free Throw Line Jumper: 1/1, 100 percent

This was the time he said, “Young, black, and famous / With money hanging out the anus” on “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” in 1997. It’s a make. It’s the best line of his whole career, and maybe of my whole life. Imagine being so rich and having so much money that someone gives you some more and you’re like, “Oh … um, dang, OK. Really, the only place I have left to put money is in my anus, so I guess stick it in there.” That’s the kind of level of success I’m trying to experience.

Left Corner 3: 0/2, 0 percent

  1. This was the time he tried to convince people to wear Sean John. Miss. Mega miss. Sean John clothes are the Mohawks of clothes. One time I saw a guy wearing Sean John clothes while also wearing a Mohawk. I swear to God my eyeballs jumped out of my skull and ran straight TF to a volcano and jumped inside. I’m blind now. Sorry about any typos.
  1. This was the time he tried to touch Bono.

Here’s a GIF:

And here’s a slow-motion video:

Poor Puffy. He looks legitimately offended and hurt. I feel like this moment counterbalances any terrible thing Puff has ever done or any hurt he’s ever caused. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone go from being so happy to so heartbroken that quickly. Watch it. Watch the clip. Watch his face.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post was published yesterday and then taken offline to address and correct factual inaccuracies. This is an edited and revised version of the original.

Filed Under: Music, puff daddy, p. diddy, Diddy, emotional heat check, Bono, Jay Z

Shea Serrano is a staff writer for Grantland. His latest book, The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated and Deconstructed, is a New York Times best seller and is available everywhere.

Archive @ SheaSerrano