Loon Celebrates Long-Awaited CD Release

Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

With the recent success of the "Bad Boys II" soundtrack and the "Too Hot for T.V." debut of Bad Boy's Da Band, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and his Bad Boy label's track record at their new Universal home has been strong.

Next up on the plate is Loon, whose self-titled debut is due Oct. 21.

During the past seven years, the Harlem, N.Y., native has been signed to four labels -- Tommy Boy, So So Def, Arista and Bad Boy. Having been with Bad Boy since its Arista days, Loon's project was delayed when the label switched homes. But the downtime gave him the opportunity to perfect each track to his liking.

"I took a certain initiative and tried to make every record with some level of single-quality, club appeal and radio-friendly," Loon explains.

Loon debuted on the charts in 2001 as a guest artist on P. Diddy's hit singles "I Need a Girl (Part 1)" and "I Need a Girl (Part 2)." They peaked at No. 2 and No. 4, respectively, on The Billboard Hot 100.

The artist made a number of high-profile guest appearances, including turns with 3LW on "I Do (Wanna Get Close to You)" and Toni Braxton on "Hit the Freeway."

Loon says that it was "an honor" to do records with different artists, and it was also a means of survival.

"Those transitions hindered the process of music being put out at Bad Boy, so I had to keep my face in the crowd," Loon explains. "I was selective about the records I did... I put myself in a position where I see opportunities present themselves, and I chose the right opportunities."

Speaking of opportunities, the rapper co-hosted the Source Awards' red carpet pre-show with BET's Tiffany. The program will air on BET prior to the Source Awards on Nov. 11. He also has roles in the films "Death of a Dynasty" and "Unforeseen" on the horizon, as well as a role in the stage production "Ball: The Musical."

Even though releasing this album proved to be a struggle, Loon says the journey has just begun.

"I'm just trying to give you more of me," he says. "This is a new step into the future for Loon and Bad Boy. This is a movement and legacy that I'm proud to be a part of."

Excerpted from the Oct. 25, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com Premium Services section.

To order a single copy of the issue, visit The Billboard Store.