Real Name: Sean Jean Combs
D.O.B.: November 4th, 1969 Queens, New York
Label: Bad Boy Records
Diddy was born in Harlem, New York, to Janice and Melvin Combs. However he grew up in Mount Vernon, just to the north of the New York City borough of the Bronx. His father, Melvin, was shot dead in his car on January 26, 1972 at age thirty-three in a Manhattan park following a party he attended, Sean was just three years young. Melvin Combs was an associate of Frank Lucas, the New York drug lord. Both Lucas and rival gangster Nicky Barnes publicly state that they were close with Melvin.
After completing his private secondary education at the Roman Catholic Mount Saint Michael Academy in the Bronx in 1987, Combs attended Howard University in Washington, DC but dropped out, and eventually became an intern at Uptown Records. While enrolled at Howard University, he gained a reputation as a party promoter, showing an early penchant for marketing and promotions. In a display of his tenacity, he would also travel back and forth between Washington, DC and New York juggling his classes and his internship with Uptown Records. He now lives in Manhattan, NY, Alpine, NJ, East Hampton, NY, Miami Beach, FL and Atlanta, GA.
Uptown was a starting ground for Combs, who became a top executive after his beginnings as an intern. He was instrumental in developing Jodeci and signing and producing Mary J. Blige. He was fired from Uptown in 1993, and went on to establish Bad Boy Records, taking new hip-hop artist The Notorious B.I.G. with him.
Combs has never married but is the father of five biological children and one through adoption. His ex girlfriend Kimberly Porter gave birth to a son, Quincy Jones Brown, (December 1991) with 80’s New Jack Swing romantic singer/producer Al B Sure, whom Combs later claimed. Combs’s first biological offspring is a son, Justin Dior Combs (December 1993), from his relationship with high school sweetheart designer Misa Hylton-Brim. His second child is son Christian Casey Combs (April 1998) with Kim Porter. Combs’ third child (and first daughter) is Chance Chapman Combs (August 2006) with Sarah Chapman. After initially denying the paternity of Chance, DNA tests revealed that Puff Daddy was in fact her father. Four months later Kim birthed Combs’ twin daughters D’Lila Star Combs and Jessie James Combs (December 21, 2006). Sarah Chapman and Kim Porter were pregnant at the same time. In July 2007 Combs’s rep confirmed that the couple split. Combs’s godson is Aaron Reid, son of record executive L.A. Reid.
Combs tried to reinvent his image, but was once again in court facing assault charges from a Detroit television host, Dr. Roger Mills, and then was arrested for driving on a suspended license in Florida. In spite of continuing legal problems, he 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, he began working with a series of unusual (for him) artists. A collaboration with David Bowie appeared on the soundtrack to Training Day, whilst he also began working with Britney Spears and ‘N Sync. He signed California-based pop girl group Dream to his record label. He was also an opening act for ‘N Sync on their Spring 2002 Celebrity Tour.
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 Show, and was dissolved by Combs at the end of the series.
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. On March 10, 2004, he appeared in an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss the marathon. He finished the marathon in four hours and eighteen minutes.
In 2004, Combs headed the campaign “Vote or Die” for the 2004 Presidential Election. The “Vote or Die” slogan was mocked by both The Daily Show and South Park as being too simplistic and encouraging young people to vote without knowing the issues. In a South Park episode entitled “Douche and Turd”, Combs and his friends were depicted chasing one of the main characters around with weapons, literally threatening to kill him if he wouldn’t vote in his school election.
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 Richard “Diddy” Dearlove, a London based musical artist & DJ. Richard Dearlove lodged paperwork on Wednesday 16 November 2005 at 10:30 am in the Royal Court of Justice, London to start injunctive proceedings, a case which he won when an out of court settlement of £110,000 was agreed. As a result, Combs will no longer be able to use the name Diddy in the UK.
As of 2005, Combs sold his record company to the Warner Music Group. Tensions still existed between him and former Warners CEOs Lyor Cohen and Kevin Liles (both formerly of Def Jam), but they arranged for his imprint to be a part of the company. He still remains CEO of Bad Boy Records. He later hosted the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, and was named one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2005 by Time magazine. He even earned a mention in the world of country music. The subject of Play Something Country by Brooks & Dunn and Sean Okundaye says he “didn’t come to hear P Diddy” which he rhymes with “something bumpin’ from the city.”
Combs released the album Press Play on October 17, 2006, his first album in 4 years. The album included a variety of popular and contemporary guest appearances including Christina Aguilera, Keyshia Cole, Mario Winans (signed to his label ‘Bad Boy Records’), Nas, Will.i.am (of Black Eyed Peas), Mary J. Blige, Nicole Scherzinger (of the Pussycat Dolls), Jamie Foxx, Fergie, Big Boi (of Outkast), Ciara, and Brandy. The album reached number one on its first week in the charts.
Combs’s latest LP, entitled Press Play, featuring notable collaborations with, among others, Christina Aguilera, Twista, Just Blaze, Pharrell, Brandy, Mary J. Blige and Keyshia Cole was released on October 17, 2006. During 1994-1995, he also helped produce songs for TLC’s CrazySexyCool, which was one of the decades most popular RnB album. Songs he helped produced include If I was Your Girlfriend and Can I Get A Witness.
It was reported that Combs would be singing on all the tracks of this album, but that was proven false as, on the album’s first single, “Come To Me” (featuring Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls), he did not sing at all, but rather did his traditional rapping. He does sing on the third single, “Last Night” (featuring Keyshia Cole). “Tell Me” (featuring Christina Aguilera) was released as the second single. An interesting fact about this song is that it was a demo song for his Making the Band 3 girl group, Danity Kane, as seen in the second season of the MTV show. He was asking fans on his MySpace page to help him choose the fourth single. “Through the Pain (She Told Me)” (featuring Mario Winans) was chosen as the fourth single.
Combs has opened his own clothing range named Sean John. He is one of the wealthiest people in the American entertainment industry. In 2002, he was featured on Fortune magazine’s “40 Richest People Under 40” list and was placed number one in the list of the top ten richest people in hip-hop. He has donated undisclosed amounts to the Patricia Kirby Foundation, an organization that battles teenage bulimia, anorexia and other eating disorders.
In addition to his work as a performer and producer, Combs entered the fashion industry. His clothing line, Sean John, has been nominated for the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Award for Menswear Designer of the Year every year since 2000. He received criticism, however, for using fur in his designs. Controversy also followed when it was discovered that factories producing the clothing in Honduras were violating Honduran labor law. Charles Kernaghan of the National Labor Committee, who first exposed the factory, is quoted in the New York Times as saying, “Sean Puff Daddy obviously has a lot of clout, he can literally do a lot overnight to help these workers.” He allegedly allowed workers one day off each week and allowed them to organize a union. On February 14, 2004, Charlie Kernaghann International Labor Law advocate announced on Pacifia station that Combs had made some “unprecedented” changes at factories including adding air conditioning, one day off per week and allowing a union to form. The case is sometimes cited as an example of how concerned celebrities can contribute to ending sweatshop abuses.
In 2006, Mayor Richard M. Daley awarded Combs with a pair of cufflinks to commemorate the inauguration of an annual October 13 “N. Diddy Day” in the city of Chicago. He received the honor as reward for certain “charitable work” at the Chicago City Hall. This has been seen by some to be an election-month stunt by the mayor. Combs also owns two upscale restaurants called Justin’s (named after his son) with locations in [[New York and Atlanta. He is the designer of the green Dallas Mavericks alternate jersey.
Combs appeared as a drug dealer in the film Made, starred with Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton in Monster’s Ball, and played the role of Walter Lee Younger in the critically acclaimed 2004 Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun and the 2008 television adaptation. He says he loved appearing in the show and being given the opportunity to perform at the theater. He attracted huge crowds for his performance in the New York production, received mixed reviews, and admits he is desperate to pursue an acting career. Combs also starred in Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power. He has mentioned that he would be interested in playing a black version of James Bond.
As of October 2007, Combs has inked a multi-year deal, in which he’ll help develop the Ciroc brand, one of Diageo PLC’s super-premium Vodka lines, for a 50-50 share in the profits. The agreement is the latest in which a celebrity is going beyond the typical role of endorser to share in a brand’s rise and fall. Diageo said the agreement could be worth more than $100 million for Combs and his company, Sean Puff Daddy Enterprises, over the course of the deal, depending on how well the brand performs.
- 1997 No Way Out (Chart position: 1) RIAA: 7x Platinum
- 1999 Forever (Chart position: 2) RIAA: 3x Platinum
- 2001 The Saga Continues… (Chart positions: 2) RIAA: Platinum
- 2002 We Invented The Remix: Volume 1 (Chart position: 1) RIAA: 2x Platinum
- 2006 Press Play (Chart position: 1) RIAA: Platinum
- 2008 We Invented The Remix Vol. 2
As Executive Producer
- 1990 Father’s Day
- 1992 What’s the 411? (Chart position: 6) RIAA: 3x Platinum
- 1994 Ready to Die (Chart positions: 13) RIAA: 1x Diamond
Awards & Honours:
BET Award Nominations
- 2007 Best Male Hip Hop Artist
Grammy Award Nominations
- 1998 Best New Artist
- 1998 Best Rap Performance By Duo/Group: “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down”
- 1998 Best Rap Performance By Duo/Group: “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems”
- 2000 Best Rap Performance By Duo/Group: “Satisfy You”
- 2002 Best Rap Performance By Duo/Group: “Bad Boy For Life”
- 2003 Best Rap Performance By Duo/Group: “Pass the Courvoisier (Part 2)”
Grammy Award Wins
- 1998 Best Rap Album: “No Way Out”
- 1998 Best Rap Performance By Duo/Group: “I’ll Be Missing You”
- 2004 Best Rap Performance By Duo/Group: “Shake Ya Tailfeather”
MTV Video Music Award Wins
- 1997 Best R&B Video: “I’ll Be Missing You”
- 1998 Viewers Choice: “It’s All About The Benjamins”