“Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” the debut hit single by rapper Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. It appears on Combs’ debut album No Way Out and it was released as the first single in 1997.
Combs was already a successful songwriter, producer and record label owner (Bad Boy Records) before he released his debut album as a performer. His first U.S. chart single, “No Time”, was a top-twenty hit for Lil’ Kim on which Puff Daddy was credited as a featured vocalist. “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” was the debut chart appearance for Harlem-based rapper Mase.
The song combines elements of several previous singles, the most obvious being a slowed-down rhythm track sampled from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message”. The track’s chorus is an interpolation of “Break My Stride”, a top-five single by Matthew Wilder from 1983.
“Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” entered the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 at number thirty-two in early 1997 and eventually spent six weeks at number one. It was the beginning of Combs’ and Bad Boy Records’ chart domination during the year — the Combs-produced “Hypnotize” by The Notorious B.I.G. would follow this song at number one, and the B.I.G. tribute song “I’ll Be Missing You” spent eleven weeks at number one during the summer, only to be followed by another B.I.G. song, “Mo Money Mo Problems” and then the Combs-produced “Honey” by Mariah Carey. Pop singer Christina Aguilera used the sample of the song on the single Can’t Hold Us Down featuring Lil’ Kim.