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Executive produced by Diddy and Hezekiah Walker of the Love Fellowship Tabernacle; "Thank You" was going to be Bad Boy's first gospel album. At one time, it was scheduled for release on June 5, 2001. But, it was never released. So, let's take a look at what might have been. For reference, I am including an old press release from Arista at the end of this article.

According to that release, this was the planned track listing:

1. "Intro".
2. "I Love You (Interlude)" by Vickie Winans and Mario Winans.
3. "You" by Faith Evans, 112, Carl Thomas, Mario Winans, Thelma Guyton, Asia & Ashley, Cheri Dennis, Tammy Ruggeri and Hezekiah Walker.
4. "Special Place" by Kim Burrell.
5. "I'm Thankful (Interlude)" by Hezekiah Walker.
6. "Thank You" by Kelly Price featuring Hezekiah Walker and The Love Fellowship Choir.
7. "I Know Now" by Brandy.
8. "Running Back to You" by Brian McKnight.
9. "Something's Changed" by 112.
10. "Brighter Day" by John P. Kee featuring Faith Evans.
11. "I Love Him" by Thelma Guyton.
12. "By Faith" by Fred Hammond.
13. "You The Man" by Joe.
14. "As Long As I've Got You" by Mary Mary.
15. "Outro".

Faith Evans, 112, Carl Thomas, Thelma Guyton, Asia & Ashley and Tammy Ruggeri were all Bad Boy artists. Mario Winans and Cheri Dennis still are, of course.

Bad Boy released a 5 track snippet sampler to promote the album. It featured 2 full songs and 3 snippets. The two full songs were "I Love You (Intro)" by Vickie Winans, Mario Winans and Diddy (although Diddy is not heard on the track) and "You". The snippets are "Special Place" (1:57), "Thank You" (2:06) and "I Love Him" (2:07). Does the track being named "I Love You (Intro)" mean that "I Love You" was actually the intro and there wasn't a separate one?

"You" was the first single for the album and a video was shot (watch it at the bottom of this entry). The song was released on promotional CDs and vinyl. Recently, I also discovered that "Special Place" was also released as a promo single that included an "Extended Mix". There are some lyrics for the song available online. Does this mean that it was the second single? I don't know for certain, but it'd be a decent guess.

"I Love Him", interestingly enough, was released in at least a few different iterations. It first appeared on the Foot Locker exclusive Bad Boy compilation "Nothin' But the Hotness in '98". Here, it's sung by former Bad Boy artist Tanya Blount. It's just her singing, there is no one else on the track. Then, it was released (in a couple of places, one of which being a B side to "No Disturb Sign" by Jerome on vinyl in 2000 - that's the copyright on the vinyl label, although it says "Arista 2001"). Produced by Harve Pierre, Diddy makes an appearance with some ad libs and a verse is added from former Bad Boy rapper Mase.

Finally, the version on the "Thank You" snippet sampler is sung by Guyton with Diddy adlibing at the beginning. The song doesn't play long enough for us to hear whether or not Mase is there. But, his verse, quoted below, makes you think it was a possibility.

Yo, though my moms was the lady that raised me
The Lord forgave me, hoping they save me
I guess this mean I'm praising dude, that y'all know who
'Cause if it wasn't for you, don't know what I would do
Not only do I love you, I fear thee
When I cry out Lord, I pray that you hear me
When I was stranded, you was always near me
And when I say "I love you", I mean it sincerely
I love you

Brandy's "I Know Now" appears to have been released somewhere at some point in time, as there are lyrics posted online. Where they came from, however, I have no idea.

"By Faith" popped up on "Hurricane Relief: Come Together Now". There is a verse from Diddy on it. Was that verse intended for "Thank You"? It's hard to say. However, looking at the credits, one "Mason Betha" is credited along with Diddy, Fred Hammond and two others. So, Mase wrote part of Diddy's verse, at least. It's safe to say that Mase hasn't done much writing for Diddy since he retired - the first time. The fact that Diddy refers to himself as "Puff Daddy" may also be a clue as to the date of the material. The full verse:

With faith, I can do anything
Fear no man, feel no pain
Trust you, no one's above you
You ain't gotta see him, let him touch you
It's deeper than the cars and the homes
They love Puff Daddy, you love Sean Combs
You the one with the crown
I look up to you 'cause you look over me when I'm down
Forgive my sins, I have the fame
But, for you, I'll trade it all in
It's not about dough, 'cause when you call me
I can't take that when I go
When my vision's blurred, you make it clear
When I need to listen, you make me hear
I permeate all hate
Bless you for blessing me
You got my faith, come on

Diddy also ad libs throughout the track. Those ad libs include "Thank You". Due to the nature of the track, that could mean nothing. But, at the same time, it's worth noting.

Why wasn't it released? I don't know if we were ever given a reason. What might have been? It's hard to say. But, for those that were disappointed, as you can see - at least some of the material was released and can be found, if not in great supply. I'm trying to find the "Special Place" release, myself, actually. I have the rest and will be posting pictures of it in an upcoming segment here at Bad Boy Blog.

Here is the video for "You":

Here is the Arista press release for the album:


All-star lineup includes Faith Evans, Carl Thomas, 112, Mario Winans, Thelma Guyton, Asia & Ashley, Tammy Ruggeri, Cheri Dennis, Brian McKnight, Fred Hammond, Joe, John P. Kee, Mary Mary, Brandy, Kelly Price, Kim Burrell, and others

(February 28, 2001) New York, N.Y. - Star studded line-up of R&B and traditional gospel artists and choirs unite as Executive Producers SEAN "PUFFY" COMBS & HEZEKIAH WALKER PRESENT... 'THANK YOU,' an all-star collection of contemporary gospel featuring Bad Boy/Arista recording artists Faith Evans, Carl Thomas, 112, Mario Winans, Thelma Guyton, Asia & Ashley, Tammy Ruggeri and Cheri Dennis, along with Brandy, Fred Hammond, Joe, John P. Kee, Mary Mary, Brian McKnight, Kim Burrell and Hezekiah Walker. The album is scheduled for June 5th in-store date.

"You," the first single from THANK YOU, is a rousing track featuring Faith Evans along with 112, Carl Thomas, Mario Winans, Thelma Guyton, Asia & Ashley, Cheri Dennis, Tammy Ruggeri, and Hezekiah Walker. The song was produced and co-written by Sean "Puffy" Combs and Mario "Yellowman" Winans.

The working sequence for THANK YOU is as follows:
1. (Intro) 2. "I Love You" (Interlude) - Vickie Winans and Mario Winans
2. "You" - Faith Evans, 112, Carl Thomas, Mario Winans, Thelma Guyton, Asia & Ashley, Cheri Dennis, Tammy Ruggeri, and Hezekiah Walker
3. "Special Place" - Kim Burrell
4. "I'm Thankful" (Interlude) Hezekiah Walker
5. "Thank You" -Kelly Price Featuring Hezekiah Walker & The Love Fellowship Choir
6. "I Know Now" - Brandy
7. "Running Back To You" - Brian McKnight
8. "Something's Changed" - 112
9. "Brighter Day" - John P. Kee Featuring Faith Evans
10. "I Love Him" - Thelma Guyton
11. "By Faith" - Fred Hammond
12. "You The Man" - Joe 13. "As Long As I've Got You" - Mary Mary
14. (Outro)

THANK YOU has been in the recording process since1996, when Puff Daddy developed a friendship with Walker, his spiritual advisor and Co-Executive Producer on the project. Sean "Puffy" Combs and Mario Winans (for Yellow City Entertainment/the Hitmen/Bad Boy Entertainment) have produced and/or co-written a majority of the tracks, including "I Love You" (Interlude), "You," "Special Place," "Brighter Day," and "As Long As I've Got You," and the "Outro."

Stevie J (Black Jack Entertainment) lends his production talents to a number of tracks on THANK YOU, including "Thank You," "Running Back To You," "Something's Changed," "Now I Lay," and "I Love Him." Brandy wrote and appears on "I Know Now" which was produced by Warryn "Baby Dub" Campbell; Rodney Jerkins produced "You The Man" which he co-wrote with Joe; and Fred Hammond produced and co-wrote his own track, "By Faith."