In a massive new oral history by GQ, Sean "Puffy" Combs and a cast of artists, writers, A&Rs and label affiliates reflect on 20 years of Bad Boy Entertainment. The feature is filled with gems, like Puff casually recalling placing Jodeci over EPMD and changing rap forever, and shutting down the studio when he caught Total's Keisha Epps sneaking cigs. But it was Jayson Jackson's retelling of a young Puff's "Making the Band"-worthy speech to his employees that had us ready to harlem shake all over the office. Peep the full feature at GQ, and watch FADER style god Mobolaji Dawodu ride around in Puff's whip for a FADER TV interview, below.
Jayson Jackson (marketing executive, Bad Boy Records): It's an unspoken rule in the music business that pretty much after Thanksgiving, it's a wrap. But for Puff, that's the time when you need to be setting up a rap record, because everyone's home from college, people are out partying. So he's like, "I don't give a fuck what's happening in the larger music business; we're gonna be working!" People were livid. Then he doesn't give out bonus checks. Two days before Christmas, he makes us come into the office to get them. At 10 A.M. he's calling everybody to see who's not at their desk. Literally calling each person. By noon he calls a meeting in the lobby. We're all sitting there, waiting for him. The tension in the room, you could cut it with a knife.
He steps off the elevator with his bodyguards. He's got on a mink coat, dripping jewels, sunglasses. Looks at everybody. Goes to his office. Gets something to drink. I don't know, some juice. He's an apple-juice fiend. Keeps us waiting another five minutes, comes back, sits down, and looks at the room and says, "Y'all are mad as fuck, ain't you?" We know he's got bonus checks, so nobody's saying shit. And reading the room, he's like, "You see me sitting here with my fur and all of that and you like, 'Fuck Puff.' But you know what? I dare one of y'all to come get it. I dare one of you to work harder than me. To come get what I got."
He launches into this Gordon Gekko-like sermon, like, "I come in here and work harder than you in the day, then go to the club and work. You think I'm in the club getting drunk? I'm looking at who's dancing to what, figuring out which song is working in what way, which DJ is making it hot. Tell me who's doing that more than me?"
I was just sitting there like, Holy shit. Who he is hit me. He sleeps no more than four hours a night. And every waking hour, he's figuring out how to make more money.
I've always said he's the greediest and most driven person I've ever met—like, his greed is disgusting. Too much is never enough. But he's got a motivation and a drive that can match that greed. And when those two meet, it's magic. Biggie happens. Ma$e happens. He happens.