In the last decade, Diddy has reunited members of the Bad Boy Records family on tour and on televised concerts. The label founder has worked with Ma$e, The LOX, Faith Evans, 112, Carl Thomas, Total, and others years after they stopped releasing projects through the famed label.
However, while Bad Boy’s name and legacy remain hot, the 30-year-old imprint has also suffered criticism from some of those same acts. In early 2020, just days after an impassioned call to action from Diddy against institutions including the Recording Academy’s Grammy Awards, Ma$e spoke out harshly against his former mentor. The Harlem native said that while Diddy was advocating for artists, he declined a $2 million cash offer for the artist’s publishing—reportedly once signed over for $20,000. This followed past high-profile disputes with The LOX and other former Bad Boy artists.
This weekend, it was reported that Diddy is giving several Bad Boy artists their publishing. TMZ published that Puff Daddy made the move in lieu of a potential nine-figure offer for Bad Boy’s publishing. The exact terms of the deal were not provider, nor was the potential buyer. Artists including Dr. Dre, Timbaland, Lil Wayne, Future, Chuck D, and others have sold at least portions of their catalog.
TMZ‘s sources suggest that Biggie Smalls’ estate, 112, The LOX, 112, Faith Evans, and others are among recipients of their publishing. Diddy is reportedly also making considerations for some of Bad Boy’s famed writers and producers. News first hit after Cam’ron referenced Ma$e receiving his publishing in an Instagram post that also promoted an upcoming music compilation release. Cam and Ma$e, formerly band-mates in Children Of The Corn, now co-host the sports commentary show, It Is What It Is.
TMZ wrote, “We’re told the rationale for this boils down to wanting to revolutionize the industry with this to empower artists and to switch up the dynamic—which has been a certain way for a long time. As part of his legacy, Diddy’s hoping to enrich others in his community.” In 2021, amid the pandemic, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland shared ownership of Verzuz with past participants in the platform, presumably padding the pockets of artists including DMX, E-40, DJ Premier, RZA, Jadakiss, Mannie Fresh, Too Short, Fabolous, Snoop Dogg, and others.
In 2017, Diddy told Touré about his business approach in recent years, and trying to set a new standard. “You have to be able to walk away. There’s a lot of cats out here that get a taste of the money and when it comes time to doing that deal and really being in that ruthless negotiation, they really can’t stomach walking away. I’m really, really crazy. I will walk away. We could be at $43 million. If I want 45 and I’m just deserving of that [and] that is the rate, you’re gonna give me $45 million. And I want to explain to you why: because I set the market value for my people. You’ve got to understand that. When I walked into BMG and Arista and set the price at $46 million, that changed the whole game. The only thing that’s really changed for us since [the] Civil Rights [Movement] was Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop has been our only hope. So when I’m out there and in the business and doing it for the culture [I only accept the price that I set]. It doesn’t even effect me no more after I set it; it effects everybody that’s coming after me.” In that same interview, Puff said, “I have to be part of the change. I have to be part of the narrative. I’m entering the psychological warfare to hit y’all with different images to reset your mind. We can elevate.”
This move follows a history of tragedy for Bad Boy artists. Biggie Smalls, Craig Mack, and Black Rob all died. Shyne, G. Dep, Loon, and Rob all served felony sentences, with G. Dep currently behind bars after confessing to a murder.
This summer, Bad Boy partnered in the release of Janelle Monae’s The Age Of Pleasure.
#BonusBeat: Ambrosia For Heads filmed footage of Diddy and Nas performing “Hate Me Down” during the Bad Boy Records’ 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour in New York City: