Sean John Combs (born November 4, 1969) is an American record producer, actor, and entertainment mogul who presides over a media empire that includes the record label Bad Boy Records, the clothing lines Sean John and Sean by Sean Combs, a movie production company, and a restaurant chain. He has taken the roles of recording executive, producer, writer, arranger, clothing designer, actor, singer, and rapper. As of August 2006, his nickname and recording name is Diddy (adopted in August 2005); previously, he has been known as Puff Daddy, P. Diddy and Puffy (of which he had legal issues with Japanese band Puffy AmiYumi). As the founder and CEO of Bad Boy, one of the driving forces in moving hip hop music mainstream, which resulted in his becoming one of the wealthiest people in the entertainment industry, Combs first gained fame as a label executive, first for Uptown Records and later for his own label, signing and developing acts such as Father MC, Jodeci, Mary J. Blige, Craig Mack, Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, 112, Ma$e, Boyz N Da Hood, and Carl Thomas. The label rose to prominence in 1994 with the release of B.I.G.'s Ready to Die, and would continue its success into the late 1990s, although Biggie's death and the departure of several artists from the label have caused it to significantly decrease in prominence today.

Born in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA to Melvin & Janice Combs, Combs grew up in the suburb of Mount Vernon. When he was two, his father Melvin was murdered after a party he attended. He was killed at a park in Manhattan. 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. Only a few months later, Combs was an A&R executive, and helped produce Father's Day (Father MC; 1990), What's the 411? (Mary J. Blige; 1992), and Blue Funk (Heavy D & the Boyz; 1992). In 1993 he began developing plans for his own label, leading to his dismissal from Uptown. Combs then created Bad Boy Records, and soon signed Craig Mack and the Notorious B.I.G..

With the help of Russell Simmons, he tried to sign Tupac Shakur to jump start the label. Tupac refused. Both Mack and Biggie quickly released hit singles, followed by similarly successful LPs, particularly B.I.G.'s Ready to Die. 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, just as a widely publicized rivalry with the West Coast's Death Row Records was beginning. 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 B.I.G. 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" (which won Sauce Money a Grammy as ghostwriter). Both singles were successful, though "I'll Be Missing You" (a tribute to B.I.G. with guests Faith Evans and 112) was criticized by some 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. The album, originally titled Puff Daddy Hell Up In Harlem, also produced the tri tip hit singles "It's All about the Benjamins", which featured Lil Kim, The Lox and The Notorious B.I.G. and had a popular rock remix, which was worked on by Rob Zombie and the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, among others; and "Been Around The World," a song that featured Combs' labelmate, Mase, and the late Notorious B.I.G., and was probably best remembered for having sampled David Bowie's "Let's Dance" and Lisa Stansfield's "All Around The World". 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.

Combs' follow-up was 1999's Forever, which was a commercial failure and no more well-reviewed than No Way Out.

Diddy is currently recording his latest LP, entitled Press Play, featuring collaborations with, among others, Kanye West, Christina Aguilera, Nas, CSicc CSupreme and Mary J. Blige on October 3rd, 2006.

It was reported that Diddy 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. However, he still might sing on some tracks of the album.

In 1991, Combs promoted a rap 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' 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. In a 1999 ruling, a Court of Claims judge found Combs and Heavy D 50 percent responsible for the incident, City College bore the rest of the responsibility in part for abandoning security responsibility to Combs, even though they knew the event was oversold.

In 1997, 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 it’s mainstay of artists and Puffy 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 it’s 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.”

On April 15, 1999, Combs was accused of assaulting Steve Stoute of Interscope Records. Stoute was the manager for Nas, whose video for "Hate Me Now" featured Combs 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 Combs' arrest for aggravated assault. This was followed by a yet more negative publicity as The Lox left Bad Boy Records, and a recording session with Lil' Kim and Lil' Cease (both of B.I.G.'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, Combs 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. A talent agency then sued Combs for unfair competition, as did a woman who rented an apartment owned by Combs; 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 Combs' biography. 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 to "P. Diddy".

In February of 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 before. 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 revealed by Ganglandnews.com that Combs is allegedly a close friend of reputed Gambino Mafia family enforcer, Andrew Campos. Combs and Campos both attended the Mount St. Michael Academy in The Bronx, where they both played on the same football team. It was further alleged that on more than one occasion Campos and other Gambino family members have attended recording sessions as guests of Combs.

Combs tried to reinvent his image, but was once again in court facing assault charges from a Michigan television host, Dr. Roger Mills, and then was arrested for driving on a suspended license in Florida. In spite of continuing legal problems, Combs 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, Combs began working with a series of unusual (for him) artists. A collaboration with David Bowie appeared on the soundtrack to Training Day, while Combs began working with Britney Spears and N*SYNC.

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. The group was maligned by comics and critics, including a well known skit that appeared on Chappelle's Show, and was dissolved by Diddy at the end of the series. Diddy went on to later work on creating an all-girl group called Danity Kane in the third version of Making The Band.

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. He appeared on the March 10, 2004 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss the marathon.

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, P.Diddy and his associates chase Stan Marsh around with weapons, literally threatening to kill him if he doesn't vote. At the time there were also rumors that Combs didn't even vote in the election, and that like Paris Hilton, another supporter of the campaign, he wasn't even registered.

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."

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. Diddy (the DJ) lodged paperwork on Wednesday 16th November 2005 at 10:30 am in the Royal Court of Justice, London to start injunctive proceedings.

As of 2005, Combs had moved his Bad Boy Records to the Warner Music Group. Tensions still existed between Diddy 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 later hosted the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, and was named one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2005 by Time magazine.

Diddy recently received the rights to "diddy.com", and plans to launch the site soon.

Combs is one of the wealthiest and most entrepreneurially-minded men in the American entertainment industry. In 2002, he was featured on Fortune magazine's "40 Richest People Under 40" list. In fact, as of August 9th, 2006, Combs was placed number 1 in the list of the top ten richest people in Hip-Hop. Numbers 2 to 10 were: Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, Russell Simmons, Damon Dash, The Neptunes, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Eminem, 50 Cent, and Nelly/Jermaine Dupri.

In addition to his work as a performer and producer, Combs has entered fashion. 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. Sean John received criticism, however, when it was revealed that its Honduras-based factories violated Honduran labor laws and the use of fur in his designs.

Combs also owns the upscale restaurant chain 'Justin's' (named after his son) with locations in New York and in Atlanta. Combs is also the designer of the green Dallas Mavericks alternate jersey.

He appeared as a parody of a drug dealer in Made, and he played the role of Walter Lee Younger in the critically acclaimed 2004 Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun. Combs 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. He also starred with Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton in the film Monster's Ball.

Combs has been criticized as 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. The Onion parodied this phenomenon in an article titled "New rap song samples Billie Jean in its entirety, adds nothing." Nevertheless he has been enormously successful, with a current estimated worth of $346 million and growing.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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