Diddy is an exciting figure within hip-hop who has seemingly touched every corner of the record industry. The megastar and mogul has done everything from music to film and television. Born Sean Combs in Harlem, Diddy is most known as the man behind The Notorious B.I.G. and has been on quite the journey to get where he is today.
Born in Harlem, Diddy lived there until the age of 12. However, his mother decided to move Combs out of the deprived inner-city to the suburban region of Mount Vernon due to her fears. When the musician was only two years old, his father was murdered in uptown Manhattan, which instilled worry in Diddy’s mother as she did not want the same fate for her son. Often visiting his grandmother in Harlem, Combs travelled between the two neighbourhoods. However, while doing so and getting involved in the New York hip-hop scene, at 19, he met Andre Harrell, the then-president of Uptown Records, who hired Diddy. Here he learned the music business, from producing to A&Ring.
Combs shot up the ranks of Uptown at lightning speed but was eventually fired by Harrell. But with a knack for producing and scouting talent, after working there for several years, aged 24, he founded Bad Boy Entertainment in 1993. Twenty-four months later, the record executive signed Biggie Smalls after seeing an article about him in The Source magazine’s unsigned hype column. He had also heard his ‘Microphone Murderer’ demo being blasted in Harlem and knew he was a star in the making.
With Biggie Smalls as the face of his label and several other incredible acts such as Lil Kim, Ma$e and Cam’Ron, Bad Boy became extremely popular very quickly. Diddy knew how to market music because he had idolised and studied the best of the best for years before.
In a 2006 interview with O Magazine, Diddy recalled the first concert he ever went to and said it taught him how to control a crowd. Reflecting on the live performance, Diddy told the interviewer, “I once went to a Run-DMC concert at Madison Square Garden. Onstage, Run said, ‘This is my house, and I want everybody in my house to take off their Adidas and put ’em in the air!’ Everybody did. That’s how powerful hip-hop was [in the eighties]. It made everyone want to wear Adidas. I said to myself, ‘One day, I’m going to be on that stage!”
Pertaining to his love for Run-DMC, in a recently unearthed interview, when asked about his favourite song of all time, Combs revealed it was ‘It’s Like That’ by the Queens trio. Elaborating on why the collective and this song, in particular, were vital to him, Diddy plainly stated, “For me, it was young, it was strong, it was black, it was powerful. It was hip-hop, and it made me feel like I could do anything.” You can listen to the song in the video below.