Last night a man in Ontario was arrested for impersonating Diddy. Never mind that fact that we are completely bewildered as to how he pulled this off . With all due respect to that man’s predicament, why Diddy? As aficionados of all things Puff we can understand wanting to be the man and legend. We’ve been trying to receive that blessing for years. Sadly, as this man now knows, there can only be one.
We’re not really sure when our love affair with Diddy began. We’re pretty sure it was back when he was Puff Daddy. It may have started in 6th grade when for our final project in chorus we performed “Feel So Good” complete with full Diddy bop reenactments. His foot print spans over 15 years. Two years ago we joined twitter, started following him immediately and then spent two years trying to find the courage to press the unfollow button but found his waxing in 140 characters or less about Tantric sex and vodka that tastes like “pee-pee” was too entertaining! Why are we so obsessed? Everyone is! All 3,211,924+ of his virtual lemmings, at least. He is the epitome of the word “brand”. He’s changed his name 13.45 times, meanwhile nothing else about him changed. He could still spin an antic like dressing in a plush robe to go wave running into an accomplishment. He’s made it here from a tumultuous upbringing, but now the path he walks is a beach.
Back when Bad Boy was setting up its empire of glory circa 1994, Puffy was obviously the king and mastermind of the house that brought us luxury hip hop. The dude was almost supernaturally good at finding great music: B.I.G., The Lox, Junior Mafia, Ma$e, Faith Evans, Mary J. Blige. If the shiny suit man touched it, it was certified platinum. He blurred the lines between R&B and Hip Hop, “invented the remix” and included himself as an artist by merely whispering “take that take that”. We know Diddy can’t actually rap but you did not give a shit when he was dropping that “Victory” verse. He also didn’t give a shit who penned his lyrics: “Don’t worry if I write rhymes, I write checks.” The man was one of the first examples of self-made we had in hip hop. Can you ever really remember him answering to anybody? We’ll wait! But why did everyone tolerate his antics? Why do we still tolerate them? How did his superiors, like one-time boss Andre Harrell, tolerate him? Or even his contemporaries? Simply because he is an extraordinary talent finder. More, he’s also good at identifying trends and shrouding himself in them until he becomes larger than his discovery. Does his soul belong to the devil? Probably but that doesn’t make it any less true.
His latest venture as one third of the Diddy Dirty Money outfit is some clever work. His arm candy, Kaleena and Dawn are both talented singers.Most of us remember Dawn in her former life as member of the girl group Danity Kane. You can yell at the top of your lungs that nothing on Making the Band ever makes it past the finale episode and we all called their spot on the Bad Boy shelf but none the less those girls could sing and Dawn was definitely a front runner favorite before she got the boot. We scoff at Danity Kane now but both of their albums debuted at number one and Diddy made yacht loads of cash with the success of the TV show which, if you don’t know by now, was the point. Even Aubrey O’Day is still knifing her face with the paper cuts from those checks. One of the pillars to her success is that she is a product of Diddy’s direction, or lack thereof. In Dawn’s case, she is back to rebuild Diddy’s brand once again! The second singer Kaleena has written for Aretha Franklin, Christina Milian, the Pussycat Dolls and Ciara. She has won two Russian Grammys of which no information or proof can be found. You don’t even care though do you? You probably skimmed this paragraph because the point is not that they can sing and are talented women. They live only to bring us more Diddy. Yes, we’re sighing too!
And Diddy doesn’t fare as well with future projects he’ll just reinvent himself… or buff his name. He will never pretend to be an angel. He is a brand machine steam rolling through anything that can be bought and sold, conquering the modern business model with some light foot tap dancing. Anna Wintour says they’ve been friends for over 10 years. He dates the hottest girls, lives the most lavish life etc etc but mostly you hate him because you can’t stop watching. Whether he is riding the positive reviews of his new album Last Train to Paris or swarming any avenue of media to link your memory to any one of the products he’s currently pushing. Whether in hilarious vodka ads or his appearance at this year’s Golden Globe Awards he’s somebody to beat, even if none of his goods are your speed. Chances are we will never see him fail in this lifetime because he is a chameleon forever adapting to his landscape. Just like that billboard in Times Square, Diddy hurts your eyes but damned be if you don’t still stare.