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Rap Biographies: Sean 'Puff Daddy' Combs

Sean 'Puff Daddy' Combs
Also Credited As: Diddy, P. Diddy, Puff, Puff Daddy, Puffy, S. Combs, Sean Combs, Sean J. Combs, Sean John, Sean John Combs. Born: Sean John Combs on 11/04/69 in New York His titles are: Musician, Producer, Actor, Dancer, Fashion designer, Model, Promoter, Busboy, Paper boy, Restaurateur, Waiter.

He was one of the driving forces in moving hip hop music mainstream which resulted in him becoming one of the wealthiest people in the entertainment industry. A talented producer who has brought out the best in artists including Mariah Carey, LL Cool J and Jennifer Lopez as well as the Bad Boy roster's own Lil' Kim, Mase and Notorious B.I.G., Sean 'Puffy' Combs did his best work behind the scenes but began landing acting roles in 2001 that could prove a talent before the camera that outweighed his somewhat questionable skills at the microphone.

In his own music career, he has been criticized for watering-down and overtly commercializing hip-hop for a mainstream market, as well as overusing samples and interpolations of past hits for the majority of his own hit songs. Regardless, he has been enormously successful with a current estimated worth of nearly $315 million and growing.

Born in Harlem, New York City, Combs grew up in the Westchester County suburb. His father Melvin Combs, was killed when he was only 2 years old, then his mother decided to move to Mount Vernon with Combs & his siblings. 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.

Combs proved a sharp businessman even in his early years, coming up with ways to make a profit off of the paper delivery business by taking over an older boy's easy apartment building route and offering him a percentage of profits. His keen business sense and unrelenting drive led him to make the most of his friendship with Mount Vernon hip-hop celebrity Heavy D.

In 1987, Combs' alliance with Heavy D landed him a meeting with Uptown Records executive Andrew Harrell, who offered the ambitious young man an intern position at his company. Impressed with the self-starting young man's work ethic and his closeness to the urban youth culture, Harrell began giving the eager Combs more responsibilities and artistic freedom. In 1989, Combs was the youngest executive in the industry, named vice president of A&R for Uptown. Harrell's faith in the young man would pay off, as Combs' work in shaping the image and sound of artists including Jodeci and Mary J. Blige would move millions of units and jumpstart major careers.

With the help of Russell Simmons, he tried to sign Tupac Shakur whom he considered the best rapper, to jump start the label. Tupac refused. Both Mack and Biggie quickly released hit singles. 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.
1995 also saw Notorious B.I.G. score his first big crossover hit, "Big Poppa", the hit video for which featured Combs flanked by women in a hot tub. Good times like these wouldn't last long in the violent atmosphere of the gang-influenced hip-hop world. 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 murdered weeks before the release of his successful album, Life After Death.

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 Sauce Money (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. "Been Around The World" is a song that featured Combs' labelmate, Mase, and the late Notorious B.I.G.. 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.

Now Bad Boy wasn't generating the kind of sales it had previously, when even dependable Lil' Kim ended up with disappointing returns. Late 2000 saw a turnaround when Combs' teen pop group Dream hit shelves. A sweet-voiced quartet of girls really in their teens, the group hit it big with the danceable "He Loves Me Not" at the close of 2000 and looked set to continue their success through 2001.

Though music made him millions and secured his place as a top American businessman, Combs was anxious to branch out into other ventures. Along with producer, director, designer, writer, arranger and more, he also bears the mantle of "actor-rapper," as is common with many in his industry. Combs also owns the upscale restaurant chain Justin's (named after his son) with locations in New York and in Atlanta.

After announcing that he was a new man and would heretofore be referred to as P. Diddy (a nickname bestowed upon him by B.I.G.) rather than Puff Daddy, Combs finally made his big screen debut when his co-starring part in Jon Favreau's comedy "Made" was released to theaters in the summer of 2001.

In 2002 Combs stepped in as the new executive producer of the MTV reality series "Making the Band" in its second season, giving the show--which took a group of unknowns and attempted to forge a new professional singing group out of them--an increased air of legitimacy; the impresario also appeared on camera, as the Donald Trump-like figurehead doling out advice and tasks to the aspiring musicians. Combs says he loved appearing in the show and being given the opportunity to perform at the theater.

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." However this name change to Diddy upset another Diddy, a London based musical artist & DJ, who had been using the name as a musician for 12 years.

As of 2005, Combs had moved his Bad Boy Records to the Warner Music Group. Tensions still existed between Diddy and former Warners CEOs.

Although Combs is one of the wealthiest and most entrepreneurially-minded men in the American entertainment industry, he is also one of the most despised. Regarded by some as a highly gifted individual with tremendous foresight, the industry has made him incredibly rich. In addition to his work as a performer and producer, Combs has entered fashion - clothing line, Sean John, has been nominated for the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America.
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