Diddy and camp covers the 15th anniversary “Juice” issue of Vibe magazine. The mega-producer and rapper is joined by newly signed artists Rick Ross, Janelle Monae, Cassie and his Dirty Money duo Dawn Richard and Kalenna Harper.
The 40-year-old Grammy Award winning artist has gone through a series of make overs throughout his career and so has his 17-year-old record label. Media insiders and fellow artists alike alleges the hip hop superstar is experiencing a “mid-life crisis,” fighting with the might of ten wolves to remain relevant in an evolving music industry. 50 Cent may label Diddy a “b*tch,” but with every new teen generation in the past two decades, the musical giant sits at the center of discourse.
Bad Boy ruled the nineties with Death Row Records as its nemesis introducing multi-platinum artists like The Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, Total, 112 and Carl Thomas, not to mention the loads of off-label artists whose sound and image he crafted. The flashy record producer help to usher in a brand of luxury lifestyle, designer labels, fast cars and gorgeous women in American urban culture. Moreover, the artist in his own way, encouraged a trend of sweeping Black entrepreneurship in the recording business– indirectly inspiring artists like Master P, Jay Z and 50 Cent to launch their own record labels.
Arguably after the tragic murder of The Notorious B.I.G in 1997, following the chart-topping release of ‘Life After Death,’ and the rise and fall of artists like Mase, The Lox, and Black Rob, Bad Boy records experienced a near dearth on the music scene. The stage lights dimmed on the talents that helped to shape the popular record label. It subsequently became more about the newly re-named P.Diddy, his solo career and his relationship with Jennifer Lopez.
The legend says the widely successful Harlem-born mogul has never given up on recapturing the game-changing artistry of the iconic Biggie by signing aspiring street artists like Shyne, and now today Diddy manages Rick Ross–an artist constantly compared to Biggie. Rumors of bad business, manipulation and artist exploitation began to accompany Diddy’s savvy and industry know-how.
In 2005, Bad Boy records experienced a resurgence with the debut of artists like Cassie and Young Joc. In 2006, Diddy re-popularized reality TV with his ‘Making the Band’ MTV series launching the careers of Danity Kane and Day 26.
But the most paramount trend we see in the life and times of Sean Combs, and his pioneering and at times, precarious record label, is the rumored ‘curse of the Bad Boy artist.’ Danity Kane like Total have danced into oblivion. And Day 26, like 112 and even Jodeci–a group mentored by Diddy are near jokes to urban listeners, and females fans no longer believe.
So as Diddy is seen on the cover of Vibe lauding in nearly 20 years of Bad Boy Entertainment–a sheer survivalist in ever-changing hip-hop, what is really the fate of the next generation of Diddy disciples?