4. SEAN "PUFF DADDY" COMBS
By: Jayson Rodriguez
That Diddy is a success is unremarkable. His backstory is well known: flashy Uptown Records A&R kid helps usher in hip-hop soul (Jodeci, Mary J. Blige), gets fired, only to rebound by launching one of rap’s most successful labels (Bad Boy) and lyricists (Biggie). Genius, right? What’s truly remarkable, though, is that Combs continued to push culture forward, introducing new acts (112, Shyne, MGK), new brands (Sean John, Cîroc) and new platforms (Revolt TV) to hip-hop as often as he reintroduced himself (Puffy, Puff Daddy, Diddy). Combs not only diversified his portfolio, he branded his holdings as a lifestyle long before lifestyle was a marketing concept. Shawn Carter’s “All Black Everything” (black cards, black cars) wouldn’t exist without Sean Combs' “All White Everything” (white parties, white yachts). His timeless ability to forecast and mind trends has earned him accolades and Forbes’ prediction that he’ll be hip-hop’s first billionaire. Genius? Right.
Mark Pitts; President, RCA Urban Music and Diddy’s first assistant says:
“The most important thing I got from him was my hustle, because he never slept. Being with him all the time... He got in at 4 a.m.—I can’t go to sleep after him—and got up at 8 a.m. So I can’t get up after him. I lived through that: that hustle and that drive. It made me understand lifestyle and he sold lifestyle. He had his own rules and vision and he stayed true to it. There wasn’t a blueprint for how the next man did it. He was the first in his time.”