Back in 1997, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs and Faith Evans scored a #1 hit on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart with “I’ll Be Missing You” featuring 112. The collaboration was a tribute song dedicated to the late Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace.
“I’ll Be Missing You” sampled the classic 1983 record “Every Breath You Take” by the English rock band the Police. According to reports, Police singer/songwriter Sting still makes around $2,000 a day from “I’ll Be Missing You” because he is credited as the sole owner of the intellectual property.
Many of the central figures in the creation of “I’ll Be Missing You” were apparently left out of the song’s profits entirely. Veteran rapper Sauce Money (born Todd Gaither) recently spoke to Hip Hop News Uncensored about his role in the making of Puffy’s second chart-topping single.
“When I wrote ‘I’ll Be Missing You’ for Puff… what happened was, he did bad business with Sting. Meaning that, before he got clearance to use the record, he put the record out. So Sting came back and was like, ‘Okay, well since you used the record before you got clearance, I want all the publishing off the record,'” said Sauce Money.
The Middle Finger U album creator continued, “At the end of the day, Puff didn’t care because he was making the money off the physical sales. He had a single release and an album release, so he ate a few times off of that record. So it didn’t really matter to him.”
Sauce Money went on to talk about how much residual capital he supposedly lost because of “I’ll Be Missing You.” He stated, “I missed out on about $4 million… We did something as far as the publishing deal that I had which is why I never really went at Puff because we figured something out on that end.”
The 51-year-old New Yorker also added, “That song generates about $730,000 a year. So you figure 10% of that is $73,000 and 20% is $146,000. You multiply that by 24, 25. So if I had a problem with him, you could understand, right?”
Puff Daddy’s “I’ll Be Missing You” was one of the most successful songs of 1997. The No Way Out track spent 11 weeks at No. 1 which was a record for a Hip Hop act at the time. It also won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group and is presently certified 3x-Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
The Hype Williams-directed music video for “I’ll Be Missing You” was named Best R&B Video at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards. Sting actually joined Puff Daddy on stage at that year’s VMAs for a show-stealing performance of the song which also featured Faith Evans, 112, a choir, and dancers.