Sean Combs

  • Rapper and songwriter born in 1969 in Harlem, New York City, New York. His stage names included Puff Daddy, Puffy, P. Diddy and Diddy.
  • Combs grew up in a middle class home, attending a private high school, and showing business moxie as he managed his two paper routes. He was a childhood friend of rapper Heavy D, and while Combs was in college, Heavy D got Combs an internship at the record label where he recorded. Combs dropped out of college and soon was a talent manager for the label. In the early 90s, he helped start the careers of Jodeci, Mary J. Blige and Father MC, all who recorded for the label. In 1993, he was fired by the label, largely because he was so ambitious.
  • That year, Combs established his own record label, Bad Boy Entertainment, focusing on hip hop talent that was based in New York City, and later on other east coast hip hop acts. His first major stars were Notorious B.I.G. and Craig Mack. By the mid-90s, his in-house production team worked on albums by some of hip-hop and R&B’s biggest acts, including TLC, Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men and Aretha Franklin.
  • In 1996, Combs began his career as a recording artist, using the stage name Puff Daddy – as a child, he was given the nickname Puffy because he would huff and puff when he was angry. He was a co-writer, producer and featured artist on Lil’ Kim’s debut single No Time – the song reached #18 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Rap Songs chart. This led to Puff Daddy’s debut album in 1997, No Way Out. It was a huge success, certified 7x platinum, with two singles that topped the Hot 100 – Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down and I’ll Be Missing You (his tribute song after the murder of Notorious B.I.G.). I’ll Be Missing You was #1 on 25 different charts throughout the world, and it won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance in 1998. His No Time album also won a Grammy for Best Rap Album. Two other songs from the album peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 – It’s All About the Benjamins and Been Around the World.
  • Now one of hip-hops hottest artists, Combs collaborated with many artists over the next 20 years as a featured artist. His biggest hits as a featured artist were Notorious B.I.G.’s Mo Money Mo Problems (#1 on the Hot 100), Mase’s Lookin’ At Me (#8 on the Hot 100, #1 on the Hot Rap Singles chart), B2K’s Bump, Bump, Bump (#1 on the Hot 100) and Mario Winans’ I Don’t Wanna Know (#2 on the Hot 100, #1 on the R&B chart).
  • Puff Daddy’s second studio album, Forever, was released in 1999. The single Satisfy You from the album peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart, but overall the album was a disappointment. Over the following two years, he was embroiled in controversies related to his romance and subsequent break-up with Jennifer Lopez, weapons charges, lawsuits and a shooting at a nightclub.
  • In March 2001, Combs announced that he was changing his stage name to P. Diddy. In June that year, he released The Saga Continues… album. While the album went platinum and charted highly, the singles were only moderately successful, with Bad Boy for Life reaching #5 on the Hot Rap Songs chart. In 2002, P. Diddy released a remix album titled We Invented the Remix, which included I Need a Girl (Part One) and I Need a Girl (Part Two) – the former reached #2 on the Hot 100 and the latter reached #4.
  • P. Diddy moved to reality television in 2002, leading the efforts of the Making the Band franchise on MTV for eight years. He was in 99 episodes of the show. Meanwhile, he had a #1 hit with the single Shake Ya Tailfeather, which was featured in the soundtrack for the film Bad Boys II. Combs won his third Grammy award for the song, for Best Rap Performance. In 2006, he released an album titled Press Play – this time, just using the name Diddy. The single Come to Me reached #9 on the Hot 100 and Last Night peaked at #10. He continued to record, produce, write, collaborate and act throughout the 10s.
  • Combs is one of the wealthiest artists in the world – in 2019, his estimated net worth was $740 million. He has his own clothing line, restaurants, and a television network. Here’s the video to his biggest hit, I’ll Be Missing You, and its famous sample of Every Breath You Take by The Police. Combs never asked permission to use the sample, and after Sting sued, Sting received 100% of the royalties for the song – reportedly, $2,000 every day.

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