Diddy's long since cemented his legacy in hip-hop as one of the biggest moguls music has seen.
Bad Boy Records dominated hip-hop in the ‘90s and early 2000s, but over the last few years it's seemed like Diddy's energies have been far more directed towards Ciroc than music, and understandably so. Who wants to sell album streams for $.01 when you can sell vodka bottles for $50 a pop?
But today Diddy seems to be reviving his music interests, announcing that Bad Boy has uprooted from the distribution deal it had with Interscope and signed with Epic Records under the watch of L.A. Reid. Diddy has a ton of history with Reid as the two came up in similar ways running their labels in the ‘90s.
“I have known LA Reid since the very beginning and together we have enjoyed countless successes over our long friendship,” Diddy says in the press release. “To collaborate with LA Reid is to collaborate with the very best.”
As part of the new deal, Diddy is working on not one but two albums. We know one of them will be No Way Out 2, but the other is a mystery that will be revealed in the coming weeks.
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All of this begs the question - where does Bad Boy stand in 2015?
His new distribution deal means new albums and artists are on the way, but does it really mean anything? In this age of consuming music so quick, Diddy’s two albums could be here today and gone tomorrow. There’s the hype surrounding making a sequel that often results in disappointment. The Game clearly couldn’t match The Documentary with a second installment, so doubting a Diddy sequel is understandable.
Also, the track record of Bad Boy’s recent rapper signees doesn't exactly scream platinum albums. Red Cafe has yet to release an album and he’s still (supposedly) a part of the label. French Montana’s sophomore album was due out last November. King Los recently left the label, for the second time. Danity Kane aren't exactly fond of their time under Diddy. Janelle Monae is seemingly happy, although clearly in her own world. Machine Gun Kelly is the only artist on the label who hasn’t complained about any label issues, but surely, in a perfect world, he wouldn’t have waited three years to drop another LP, right? Signing to Epic Records doesn’t mean that current or future artists will have an easier path to releasing their albums.
I’m not questioning Diddy’s passion, but Bad Boy isn’t in its prime anymore. Most up-and-coming artists don’t have aspirations to be signed to the label regardless of its history. It’s like when I watch Chris Jericho come back to wrestling. I appreciate everything he’s done for the business, but I’m not expecting a five star classic or anything to be memorable. It’s mostly feels like a cool bit of nostalgia.
Just don’t count Diddy out. Who’s to say Diddy hasn’t discovered the next artist that’ll reach Drake or Kanye status one day? Maybe he’s sitting in his big spinny chair atop Bad Boy Records tower with a Dr. Claw-like presence, just plotting and waiting. Today could be the first step in his new master plan to reconquer the rap game.
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