Sean John Combs (born November 4, 1969, aka Sean "Puffy" Combs,
Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy) is a record producer, entrepreneur, and
Born in Harlem, New York City, Combs grew up in the Westchester County
suburb, Mount Vernon, New York. After completing his private secondary
education at Mount Saint Michael Academy in the Bronx, Combs attended
Howard University in Washington, D.C. before becoming an intern at
Uptown Records. Only a few months later, Combs was an A&R executive,
and helped produce Father's Day (Father MC; 1990), What's the 411?
(Mary J. Blige; 1992), and Blue Funk (Heavy D & the Boyz; 1992)
before being fired in 1993. Combs set up his own label, Bad Boy Records,
and soon signed Craig Mack and the Notorious B.I.G.
Establishing Bad Boy.
Both Mack and Biggie quickly released hit singles, followed by similarly
successful LPs, particularly B.I.G.'s Ready to Die. Puff Daddy, as he
was then known, began signing more acts to Bad Boy, including Faith Evans,
112 and Total, as well as producing for Lil' Kim, TLC, Mariah Carey,
Boyz II Men, SWV, Aretha Franklin and others. Mase and The Lox soon joined
Bad Boy, just as a widely publicized rivalry with the West Coast's Death
Row Records. Combs and Notorious B.I.G. were allied against Tupac Shakur
and Suge Knight, trading insults in songs and interviews during the mid
1990s. Shakur was murdered in 1996. Six months later, in March of 1997,
the Notorious B.I.G. was also murdered. Notorious B.I.G's second album,
Life After Death, was a posthumous success.
Combs' performing career.
Combs rapped on record as Puff Daddy as early as Supercat's 1993 "Dolly
My Baby" with The Notorious Big. Combs' performance career in the
international spotlight as "Puff Daddy" began in 1997, releasing "Can't
Nobody Hold Me Down", followed by "I'll Be Missing You".
Both singles were successful, though "I'll Be Missing You" was
written by Marvin L. Blair (a tribute to B.I.G. with guests Faith Evans
and 112), and was heavily criticized for sampling The Police's "Every
Breath You Take" and adding little. Combs, plus various labelmates
known as the Family, released No Way Out, an LP, in 1997. The album also
produced the hit singles "It's All About The Benjamins" which
featured Lil Kim, The Lox and The Notorious B.I.G. and had a popular
rock remix, which was worked on by Rob Zombie and the Foo Fighters' Dave
Grohl, among others; and "Been Around The World" a song that
featured Combs' labelmate, Mase, and the late Notorious B.I.G., and was
probably best remembered for having sampled David Bowie's "Let's
Dance" and Lisa Stansfield's "All Around The World". The
song's video starred many celebrities, such as Wyclef Jean, Quincy Jones,
and Combs' future love interest, Jennifer Lopez".I'll Be Missing
You" won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, while
No Way Out won Best Rap Album.
Combs' follow-up was 1999's failed Forever, which was a commercial failure
and no more well-reviewed than No Way Out.
On April 15, 1999, Combs was accused of assaulting Steve Stoute of Interscope
Records. Stoute was the manager for Nas, whose video for "Hate Me
Now" featured Combs being crucified. Though Combs had willingly
filmed the video scene earlier that year, he demanded that the images
be removed. Stoute's refusal led to an argument and Combs' arrest for
aggravated assault. This was followed by a yet more negative publicity
as The Lox left Bad Boy Records, and a recording session with Lil' Kim
and Lil' Cease (both of B.I.G.'s Junior M.A.F.I.A.) posse was interrupted
In December 1999, Combs and his then-girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez, were
at Club New York, a midtown Manhattan nightclub, when gunfire broke out.
After a police investigation, Combs and fellow rapper Shyne were arrested
for weapons violations and other charges. Combs was indicted after his
driver claimed that Combs had tried to bribe him into taking the weapon
after the shooting. With bribery charges added to the bill, Combs was
being attacked in the tabloids on a near-daily basis. Before the trial
was over, Combs found himself in court on numerous civil charges.
With a gag order in place, the highly-publicized trial began. His attorney
was Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. A talent agency then sued Combs for unfair
competition, as did a woman who rented an apartment owned by Combs; she
claimed he refused to rid the house of vermin. Combs then launched his
own lawsuit against a writer who did not follow through on an alleged
agreement to help write his autobiography. Combs was soon acquitted of
all charges relating to the shooting incident, followed almost immediately
by a break-up with Lopez. With the media circus over, Combs changed his
stage name to "P. Diddy".
Diddy in the 2000s.
Combs tried to reinvent his image, but was once again in court facing
assault charges from a Michigan television host, and then was arrested
for driving on a suspended license in Florida. In spite of continuing
legal problems, Combs decided that he was going to release a gospel album,
Thank You, but it was never released. After yet more legal problems stemming
from an accusation of reckless driving by the Miami police, Combs began
working with a series of unusual (for him) artists. A collaboration with
David Bowie appeared on the soundtrack to Training Day, while Combs began
working with Britney Spears and *NSYNC.
This was followed by a serious set-back for Bad Boy Records when Arista
Records stopped distributing Bad Boy releases. Faith Evans left the label,
and 112 almost did, though Combs filed a restraining order to keep them
aboard. As a result, Bad Boy Records was formed as an independent record
company. He also signed the female pop group Dream onto Bad Boy Records
Later in 2002, he made his own reality show on MTV called Making the
Band 2, the sequel to the first Making the Band. In it, contestants compete
to be in a new group on Bad Boy Records. The six finalists have to come
up with their name, CD and video (see Da Band). The group was maligned
by comics and critics, including a well known skit that appeared on Chappelle's
In 2003, Combs ran in the New York City Marathon and raised $2,000,000
for the educational system for the children of New York. He appeared
on the March 10, 2004 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss the
On August 16, 2005, Combs appeared on the Today Show and announced that
he was altering his stage name yet again, dropping the "P". and
referring to himself simply as "Diddy" saying that "the
P was getting between me and my fans". He later hosted the 2005
MTV Video Music Awards.