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Bad Boy: The Influence of Sean Puffy Combs on the Music Industry

Posted Mar 12 2006

Already known for his blistering attacks against hip hop's material excesses and gangster/thug element, as well as the music industry that thrives on these topics, it should come as no surprise that Ro's account of Bad Boy Records' mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs is critical, to say the least.

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While Combs declined to be a part of this project, for obvious reasons, Ro speaks with various people who've worked with Combs and uses quotes from past interviews in other publications as his basis for this book. There's no question that Combs has had a significant impact on hip hop and the music industry, including revolutionizing street team marketing, introducing acts as diverse as Jodeci and Notorious B.I.G., and bringing music industry mentor Andre Harrell's "ghetto fabulous" lifestyle to the mainstream, the road has been littered with strife and controversy. Artists and employees respect Combs' uncomparable work ethic, but cite how his unchecked ego destroyed relationships and careers and how his inability to balance street credibility with aspirations to be accepted in the upper echelons of wealthy society led to forced, contrived images that left no one happy. Even less flattering is the detailing of how Combs distanced himself from Bad Boy artist Shyne in the infamous night club shooting incident and claims of Combs' deliberate efforts to profit off the death of his most popular artist, Notorious B.I.G.

While the book does a great job of summarizing the rise of Combs and Bad Boy Records, including his internship at Uptown Records and the conflict with Death Row, anyone who's taken even a cursory look through hip-hop magazines since the mid-90s or watched a hip-hop show might not find much new information here since much of this info comes from the very same sources. The book could've also benefited from more balanced writing as someone surely must of had something positive to say about Combs. Nonetheless, this is a quick, informative read for those of us on the outside looking in.

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