Diddy is the personification of black excellence.
The 47-Year-old multimillionaire has built an empire with his Bad Boy Record label. Having sold over half a billion records, launching the career of arguably the greatest rapper to ever do it (Notorious B.I.G.), as well as many other artists who contributed to Hip Hop’s global appeal such as Lil Kim, Mase and Faith Evans, his powerful story of hard work and dedication is something we can all learn from.
Raised in the tough streets of Harlem by his mother and grandmother after his father was shot dead when he was just seven years old, Diddy is now a music mogul with his fingers in many pies such as media (Revolt TV), alcohol (Ciroc) and Fashion (Sean Combs Clothing) accruing him a net worth of over $820m - making him the highest paid entertainer in the world.
Puffy effuses power. He’s a real boss, a leader and he’s been hitting headlines recently by promoting his biographical movie – ‘Can’t Be Stopped’ which documents his journey to stardom exclusively on Apple Music. In a recent interview with the Evening Standard he explained that he’s been in a reflective mood recently, practising meditation and taking time to disconnect from his hectic lifestyle.
So what can any person with a dream and big ambitions learn from Diddy? Well as the mogul says himself, at one point he was just ‘a young black man with a dream.’ However, it was his unmatchable work ethic that set him apart. Building his brand as a socialite, he sells the American dream, his life is a movie, from private jets to All White parties, the world hears whispers about all of Diddy’s antics. It’s the style, it’s the persona and it’s the ambition than makes him so respectable. He’s a human conglomerate, expanding his name into a range of industries and breaking down any barriers in his way, here’s how we think he did it:
1. Inspire The Team
Helped by the ascension of Hip Hop, he started as an intern at Uptown Records before getting fired for his sharp mouth, but he didn’t give up, establishing his own label, discovering the talent in the streets around him and forming his own label Bad Boy which became more like a family. This is something we can all learn from, by finding the best of the bunch around him, he was able to create a super team, micro managing them and pushing them in the direction he wanted.
As a producer, it was well documented how Biggie was reluctant to rap over some of the beats Puffy provided which were samples of Old school Disco tracks, however, he was able to convince his artists to trust his vision which led to critical acclaim.
The 1990s were a dangerous time in Hip Hop. The East Coast vs West Coast beef, which resulted in the fatal shooting of his friend Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur, was a warning to Diddy that he needed to expand. He explains how when Biggie died a part of him died inside too. He was able to overcome this painful grief and live in his friend’s memory by not only becoming a Hip Hop icon but by emerging as an incredible businessman.
Diddy now has a 50/50 brand partnership with Diageo for Ciroc vodka - the drink he promotes all over his Instagram page. Pocketing him over $100m, this is big business, the vodka brand was struggling to sell over 40,000 units a year before Diddy’s arrival. He was able to help the product appeal to the urban market, he made it a part of the rapper lifestyle. Now a bottle of Ciroc is staple in every Hip Hop video and the name will always be attached to Diddy and his superstar lifestyle, if you want to feel like Diddy then you need this drink.
Diddy also spoke in the interview about the need for more black owned media networks. A majority shareholder of Revolt TV cable network which is ‘the first channel created entirely from the ground up in this new era of social media,’ Diddy’s platform documents music and culture whilst empowering artists. One of the first of his kind, it’s an audacious move by Diddy to own a network which documents the culture he’s from. More artists need to own the rights to their artistry make rather than answering to the man above.
With his unrivalled style, Diddy is often pictured in a pair of Gucci sunglasses in the attire of royalty. His Sean Combs fashion label is another business venture which has earned the star millions. By expanding from Hip Hop to streetwear, two spheres that are deniably intertwined, he was easily able to create a natural revenue stream.
Whilst diversifying Diddy has never gone far too removed from his roots and is always able to return to Hip Hop by sustaining his long-term relationships. His successful 2016 Bad Boy Reunion tour involved touring 26 cities with artists he first discovered twenty years ago.
3. Keep The Family First
Lastly, the most admirable thing Diddy has done in recent years is champion himself as a man of the community. What makes a great humanitarian is the ability to transcend their field of expertise and connect with those around them. Diddy has taken practical steps to do so. He emphasises the point about practical action and criticises the US system for failing black America.
Diddy took it upon himself last year to build a charter school in his native Harlem to provide educational opportunities for poorer inner city boys. On social media, he carries himself like a motivational speaker, consistently posting pieces of his lavish lifestyle accompanied by positive affirmations which convince his fans that if you believe you can achieve.
He’s also a family man, proud of his six children who he says inspire him as he continues to be an inspiration to us all.