Diddy, formerly known as P Diddy and before that, Puff Daddy, is not only an amazing record producer but an incredible businessman. Diddy is undeniably one of hip hop’s most innovative and wealthiest men. Born in Mount Vernon and raised in Harlem, Diddy is known as the smooth-talking founder of Bad Boy Entertainment.
Founded as a record label to nurture new talent, the label quickly became the centre of the horrific East Coast vs West Coast beef when rapper 2pac got shot while in New York’s Quad Studios. However, Diddy’s label was still home to the best-selling rapper of the 1990s, The Notorious B.I.G.
Even with the death of his protégé in 1997, the rapper and entrepreneur continued to prosper, and now he is officially at mogul status. Akin to the likes of 50 Cent, Diddy even entered the world of media and now owns his own television station, Revolt TV and is most definitely a tycoon of epic proportions.
Diddy was one of the most prolific producers under the Bad Boy label and, along with the likes of Stevie J, produced some amazing records and albums for artists on the Bad Boy Entertainment roster. So we’ve compiled a list of the five best albums produced by Diddy.
The five best albums produced by Diddy:
5. What’s The 411? – Mary J Blige, (1992)
Yonkers R’n’B artist Mary J Blige is often named the queen of soul hip hop and was one of the first people to successfully fuse soul and hip hop in the early 1990s. In 1989 one of Blige’s demos was given to Jeff Redd, a recording artist and A&R at Uptown Records. Redd then passed the cassette onto the CEO of the label, Andre Harrell, who instantly signed Blige in 1989.
On Uptown Records, Blige began working on her first album with the legendary Sean Combs, now known as Diddy. Released in the middle of the New Jack Swing era, Blige and Diddy’s soul hip hop sound topped the charts.
4. Hardcore – Lil Kim, (1996)
The first lady of Bad Boy Entertainment and JUNIOR M.A.F.I.A, Lil Kim, was one of the most impactful female rappers of the ’90s and set the blueprint for a lot of the rappers we see today.
Produced by Diddy and Stevie J, Hardcore set a new precedent for female rappers. With its sexually provocative lyrics and raw production, the album peaked at No. 11 on The Billboard 200 and went double platinum.
3. No Way Out – Puff Daddy & The Family, (1997)
This 1997 collaborative album went to number one and included the renowned tribute song to Notorious B.I.G., ‘I’ll Be Missing You’.
The 1997 album contained features from The Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, Mase, Lil’ Kim, Carl Thomas, Jay-Z, Black Rob, The LOX, Ginuwine, Twista, Foxy Brown, Faith Evans, and 112. Produced by Puff Daddy, this album was a milestone for Combs.
2. Life After Death – Notorious B.I.G., (1997)
Produced mostly by Combs, this project boasts multiple hits, including ‘Hypnotize’, ‘Mo Money More Problems’ and ‘Sky’s The Limit’. It is every East Coast rapper’s favourite album. The album went to number one on the Billboard 200 and is eleven times platinum.
Speaking to Q Magazine about the record, the legendary Busta Rhymes even revealed he loved it, declaring, “It sounded for the first time like an East Coast artist had been able to make the perfect record. It was a pop record, a radio record, a street record, and a club record. It embodied every type of song that a hip-hop artist could make – would wish to make, would try to make – in one project. His death magnified the meaning, but ultimately the finished product was super-substantial.”
1. Ready To Die – Notorious B.I.G., (1994)
Arguably Biggie’s best album, Ready To Die gave us hits such as ‘Juicy’ and ‘One More Chance’. Executively produced by Diddy and Biggie Smalls, the album peaked at number 15 on the Billboard 200 but ended up becoming certified six times Platinum by the RIAA. The album is the only studio album Biggie released before his death in 1997.
An expert at determining flow and delivering killer punchlines, Big always operated on an upper echelon that few could match. His debut album Ready to Die was a proclamation of the future. Wallace had spent much of his life “waking up every morning, hustling, cutting school, looking out for my moms, the police, stickup kids; just risking my life every day on the street selling drugs,” something he confirmed to Rolling Stone.
Throughout the record, he and Diddy showcase their lives and provide every proof of why it will soon be a matter of history to him as hip-hop legend status awaited him.