When I turned 18-years-old I got a warning from my father not to get anyone pregnant, but not all of us can be as lucky as Christian Combs (aka King Combs). For the lucky lad's 18th birthday his father, the eponymous Diddy, signed him to a major label record deal with Bad Boy Records and by extension Epic Records, which distributes Bad Boy.
This is obviously a case of rap nepotism, especially considering that Christian almost literally can't rap at all - no seriously, at all - but big deal (pun intended). If my dad was a multi-millionaire (Puff is worth $735 million, according to Forbes) who could sign me to meaningless record deals I'd probably bug him until I was sitting across from L.A. Reid too. I can't fault the kid, good for him. No, the real reason I'm writing this is because when I saw that Christian "King" Combs had signed to Bad Boy it made me wonder who else was still with the label, and the results were even more depressing than I had guessed.
Behold, the current roster of the (former) most powerful record label in hip-hop:
- Puff Daddy
- Machine Gun Kelly
- French Montana
- Bow Wow
- Christian "King" Combs
Diddy's understandably much more of a Cîroc salesman than a musical artist these days and hasn't dropped a full album since 2010's Dirty Money (I'm clearly not counting MMM), although he's rumored to have a No Way Out 2 coming sometime this year. Similarly, Cassie hasn't released a proper album since 2006, her lone release since was 2013's essentially ignored RockaByeBaby mixtape. She's one of those artists that isn't technically retired but come on now, she's retired. Bow Wow...is going by Shad Moss now and hasn't been a relevant rapper since Myspace was still poppin.
Things look a little brighter for French Montana and MGK, but it's not exactly hard to outshine some burned out light bulbs. Mr. Montana's carved out a nice niche for himself as a street-mixtape guy but his biggest album placement ever came via a prison phone call (he somehow blames Kendrick Lamar for his lack of mainstream success). On the same tip, MGK's developed a hardcore following but just isn't a superstar and owes most of his success to himself, not his record label.
At the turn of the millennium Bad Boy was an absolute monster, but in 2016 the label's more like a bag of M&Ms you left out on your dashboard on a hot day. You might still eat them, but you're not exactly proud of yourself for it. I never thought I'd look back at the days of Da Band as a highlight, but here we are. Maybe if Diddy truly wants to resurrect the label he should be signing Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, Dylan or Dylan, not his son. At least then someone would be spitting hot fire.