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Sean Combs

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Sean John Combs (born November 4 1969[1]), known by his stage names, P. Diddy, and most recently just P, is an American rapper, record producer, actor, clothing designer, and entrepreneur.

Foxy 105 (Columbus, Georgia) reported in January 2008 that his stage name and nickname were changed to Sean John,[2] which has been denied by Combs.[3] He has been previously known as Puff Daddy, later as P. Diddy (Puff and Puffy being often used as a nickname, but never as recording names), his nickname and stage name were then changed to Diddy (adopted in August 2005). He is still called P. Diddy in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, the latter after a legal battle with another artist, Richard "Diddy" Dearlove.[4]

His business interests include Bad Boy Records, the clothing lines Sean John and Sean by Sean Combs, a movie production company, and two restaurants,. He has taken the roles of recording executive, back up singer, performer, producer of MTV's Making the Band, writer, arranger, clothing designer, and Broadway actor. Combs is the third richest hip-hop mogul, having a net worth estimated at US $358 million.[5]

Biography

Early years

P.Diddy was born in Cameron, Missouri, the son of Janice and Melvin Combs. He grew up in Mount Vernon, just to the north of the New York City borough of the Bronx. When Combs was three, 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. Melvin Combs was an associate of Frank Lucas, the New York drug lord.[6][7] Both Lucas and rival gangster Nicky Barnes publicly state that they were close with Melvin.[8]

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.[6] 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.

Establishing Bad Boy Records

After starting the label, both Craig Mack and The Notorious B.I.G. quickly released hit singles, followed by similarly successful LPs, particularly B.I.G.'s Ready to Die. Combs began signing more acts to Bad Boy, including, Dream, Carl Thomas, Faith Evans, Father MC, 112 and Total, as well as producing for Jodeci, Mary J. Blige, Usher, Lil' Kim, TLC, Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, SWV, Aretha Franklin and others, and forming The Hitmen, an in-house production team. Mase and D-Block (known as "The L.O.X." at the time) soon joined Bad Boy, just as a widely publicized rivalry with the West Coast's Death Row Records was beginning. Combs and Biggie were criticized and parodied by Tupac Shakur and Suge Knight, in songs and interviews during the mid-1990s.

Personal life

Sean Combs by David Shankbone

Combs with his sons Christian and Justin.

Combs has never married but is the father of five biological children and one through association. His ex girlfriend Kimberly Porter has son Quincy Jones Brown Jr. (December 1991) with 80's New Jack Swing romantic singer/producer Al B Sure, whom Combs later claimed. Combs's first biological offspring is 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[9]. After initially denying the paternity of Chance, DNA tests revealed that Puff Daddy was in fact her father. Chapman sued Combs for child support, in the state of Georgia, based, in part on his 2006 Time Magazine worth of $316 million [10]. Four months after Chance's birth, Kim birthed Combs' twin daughters D'Lila Star Combs and Jessie James Combs on 21 Dec2006 [11][12]. Sarah Chapman and Kim Porter were pregnant at the same time. In July 2007 Combs's rep confirmed that he and Porter have ended their relationship [13].

On October 13, 2006 Combs was given the key to the city of Chicago [14].

Combs's godson[citation needed], Aaron Reid (son of Perri "Pebbles" Reid and L.A. Reid), was featured on the MTV show My Super Sweet 16. Combs performed at the party.

Reinvention

In 1998, Combs collaborated with Jimmy Page on the song "Come with Me" for the Godzilla film. The track, approved by Page, sampled the Led Zeppelin song "Kashmir." Producer Tom Morello supplied live guitar parts, playing bass on the song. Combs and Page filmed a video for "Come with Me", which reached #2 in the UK.

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.[15] 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.

In a 2005 interview with AndPOP, Combs explained that he was developing a new line of men's suits.

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."[16] However this name change to Diddy upset Richard "Diddy" Dearlove, a London based musical artist & DJ.[17] 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.[4][18]

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.[19]

He later hosted the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, and was named one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2005 by Time magazine.[20] 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.

In the February 2007 issue of Blender magazine, Combs dishes about his wardrobe. He describes his style in three words. "Swagger. Timeless. Diverse."[21]

He was also recently featured in a Long John Silver's commercial.

On July 1, 2007, Combs performed I'll Be Missing You at the Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium.

On September 18, 2007, Combs teamed up with 50 Cent and Jay-Z for the "Forbes I Get Money Billion Dollar Remix."[22] He also made appearances with Jay-Z on his American Gangster concert tour in 2007.

He played Walter Lee in A Raisin in the Sun, a made-for-TV movie which aired on ABC on February 25, 2008.

Performing career

Combs' latest album, 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[23] to help him choose the fourth single. "Through the Pain (She Told Me)" (featuring Mario Winans) was chosen as the fourth single.In 2008 he also appaered in a Macy's commerical.

Ventures

Combs has opened his own clothing range named Sean John. 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 [citation needed]. Controversy also followed when it was discovered that factories producing the clothing in Honduras were violating Honduran labor law.[24] 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."[24] 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 "Diddy Day" in the city of Chicago.[25] 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 [citation needed].

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 [citation needed]. 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 [citation needed].

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 [citation needed].

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.

Controversy

He has been criticized for watering down and overly commercializing hip-hop for a mainstream market and as overusing guest appearances by other artists as well as samples and interpolations of past hits for the majority of his own hit songs.[26][27] The Onion parodied this phenomenon in an article titled "New rap song samples Billie Jean in its entirety, adds nothing."[28] Nevertheless, he has been enormously successful, with a current estimated worth of US $346 million and growing, making him one of the richest people in the hip hop entertainment business.[29]

Puff Daddy is also believed to be working on the side on humanitarian projects spearheaded by Dr. Ukpaireh Mombooto from Harare, Zimbabwe.

In 1991, Combs promoted a concert headlined by Heavy D. The concert was held at a City College of New York gymnasium following an AIDS charity basketball game. The event was massively overcrowded; it was oversold to almost twice the capacity of the gymnasium. In addition, thousands without tickets were outside. In order to keep them from sneaking in, Combs's people shut the only door to a stairwell and put a table behind it, despite the crowd jammed inside pounding on the door and pleading for help. At some point people in the crowd outside broke several glass doors in an attempt to get in; this caused a stampede inside the gymnasium in which nine people died.[30] In a 1999 ruling, a Court of Claims judge found Puff Daddy and Heavy D. responsible for 50 percent of the incident. City College bore the rest of the responsibility in part for abandoning security responsibility to Puff Daddy, even though they knew the event was oversold.

In 1992, Combs entered into an agreement with Hartford, Connecticut, disc jockey JC “Big Balla” Sledge to start a label in Hartford for the city’s untapped talent, named Hip Hart Beat Records. The pair had creative differences over the usage of talent and eventually split. In a statement to Rolling Stone Magazine, JC said, "Sean and I remain friends, just not as close as we once were. Our split where it relates to business was because we saw two totally different avenues. I wanted to drive left and go the way of Def Jam and its mainstay of artists and Puffy [Puff Daddy] wanted to drive right, business as usual. We all knew what that meant. I don’t have to spell it out…just look at Bad Boys roster and its history. The split was amicable; litigation was an option, but why? Hip Hart Beat Records will one day become a reality. We are close now.”

In December 1999, Combs was accused of assaulting Steve Stoute of Interscope Records. Stoute was the manager for Nas, whose video for "Hate Me Now" featured Nas 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 Puff Daddy' arrest for aggravated assault. This was followed by yet more negative publicity as The Lox left Bad Boy Records, and a recording session with Lil' Kim and Lil' Cease, both of Biggie's Junior M.A.F.I.A. posse, was interrupted by gunfire.

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, Puff Daddy 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.. After the trial was over, Combs was acquitted, but his artist Shyne was convicted on the same charges and sentenced to ten years in prison.

A talent agency then sued Combs for unfair competition, as did a woman who rented an apartment owned by him; 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 from "Puff Daddy" to "P. Diddy".[31]

In October 2003, Combs was under intense media attention for using sweatshop labor to produce his clothing line. Among the accusations, originally put forth by the National Labor Committee (NLC), workers were subjected to body searches, fired if pregnant and paid sweatshop wages. Combs responded to the BBC that there would be a "zero tolerance" investigation at his company, Sean John. He stated proudly to a group of reporters "I'm as pro-worker as they get."[32]

In February 2004, Combs settled a $3 million lawsuit filed by his former driver, Fenderson, who said he suffered emotional damage after the club shooting four years earlier. Lawyers for both sides, having agreed to keep the settlement terms secret, refused to say what it took to resolve the case. They would say only that the matter was resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.

In June 2005, it was alleged by Ganglandnews.com[33] that Combs is a close friend of reputed Gambino Mafia family enforcer, Andrew Campos.

In 2005 and 2006, his clothing line, Sean John, was again the center of debate due to the fact that it outsourced its labor and forced workers to work nearly 14 hour shifts. The workers, mostly comprised of teenage girls, got paid an average of 15 cents per hour under horrible conditions. Most of the workers were denied bathroom breaks, the right to talk to each other, and forced to buy meals from the factory, which caused many of them to end their work day in debt.[34]

On December 22 2006, MSNBC reported, "Macy’s has pulled from its shelves and its Web site two styles of Sean John hooded jackets, originally advertised as featuring faux fur, after an investigation by the nation’s largest animal protection organization concluded that the garments were actually made from a certain species of dog called “raccoon dog.”

In October 2007, he was sued by hip-hop promoter James Waldon for allegedly unleashing three violent bodyguards on him in a New York nightclub.

In March 2008, a source claimed that the Notorious BIG and Sean knew about Tupac Shakur's death before hand. This information was published by the LA Times. It was later discovered that the source was unreliable and the information was not true. [35]

Discography

Solo albums

With the Bad Boy family


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