A Short Convo With… Diddy


John Kennedy / October 26, 2009

The male voice of Dirty Money discusses the complexity of the locomotive love project Last Train to Paris, the “chocolate revolution” and why he has no competition.

VIBE: You said your last album would be your final as a solo artist. When did the light bulb go off to make an album as part of a group?
Diddy: I don’t know when that time came. I just know that I wanted to do something that encompassed a group. Love is something that we can all relate to and it’s something beautiful. And we have these different perspectives. It’s a very simple, but complex concept to talk about, because if you talk about it the wrong way in could be corny. Or it could be too much information or too personal. But if you talk about it in the right, soulful way, if you really tell the truth, like those times when you when you danced around the house to those times when you cried yourself to sleep on the bathroom floor to the times when you cried because no one was there because she left. Nobody can front on those things. Or the times you wanted to make love to her and how that sounded.
How does that sound?
It just sounds like Dirty Money. Very emotional. Very complex. But very understandable and real.
So you’re doing these girls dirty on the album?
[Laughs] It’s not as linear as that. It’s really just the things that you go through in a relationship. There’s miscommunication. There are misunderstandings. There are egos and stuff like that. It gets to a point when you’re away from somebody and you’re talking to yourself or talking to God, that’s when you’re very vulnerable. That’s when you tell the truth. There’s true emotions and feelings, something that is missing in the game right now. It’s not like you turn on the radio and hear a lot of songs about emotions and feelings and truth.  Most of the songs are about fantasies and partying. And that’s cool, too. We made records like that. But we bring emotions and feelings [here].
diddy-dirty-money.jpgWhat does Kaleena bring to Dirty Money?
She’s one of the dopest vocalists I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with. The sounds we’re putting out now are just warm-up songs. Once people hear the breadth of the album, they’ll know why I’ve chosen these young ladies to rock with me and why I feel so strongly about this group. It’s really about their talent and what happens when I combine some of the things that I’ve learned over the years and mix them. And plus all of us are extra chocolatey. We’re definitely bringing the chocolate revolution. We’re just bringing some new-new into the game. Their vocals are raw. It fits the new Bad Boy sound.
How much have you grown as a singer?
[Laughs] I’ve grown a lot from where I started. It’s a confidence thing. It’s about hearing yourself. I have a long way to go, but it’s more about using my vocals as an instrument. The way it sounds, it’s supposed to sound like that. It would sound corny if I was trying to hit a note like Trey Songz or Usher. It’s like a dusted type of feeling. It’s a smoky haze type of pain or spiritual feeling that I try to connect with.
Your last album, Press Play, was a success and you toured overseas, but not here in America. What happened?
It was more of an international sound, so we decided that we would go and do some touring [overseas]. And by the time we came back, it just wasn’t the right package. It wasn’t the right timing. Everybody was kind of spread out. I like being a part of great shows and great packages.
People miss seeing you dance, Puff. You’re back in the studio with Laurie Ann Gibson. Are you back in true Diddy-bop form?
You know, I think it’s evolved more into a groove. [Laughs] I’m not trying to battle Chris Brown or Usher. I’m going to leave the crumping up to them. And I’m going to stay in a pocket. When you see it and it’s backlit with the smoke, it’s still that groove that you want to see. –Brad Wete