Puff Daddy, also revered as Diddy and Sean Combs, knows how to make an entrance. On Tuesday night in a cozy screening room in New York hotspot Soho House, Puff is wearing a white tee, black track pants and three gold chains, lugging a huge, golden bottle of Ace of Spades champagne.
His two causes for celebration: his surprise mixtape titled MMM dropping within the next 24 hours and his 46th birthday (Nov. 4). VIP attendees rolled deep for Puff’s special presentation, including Swizz Beatz, manager James Cruz, esteemed screenwriter and journalist Barry Michael Cooper, Bad Boy Records president Harve Pierre, Revolt vice chairman Andre Harrell, and Epic Records CEO/chairman L.A. Reid.
In between posting motivational Instagram clips and logging late nights in the studio, Puff has been teasing his return to wax, especially with the hype surrounding the Puff Daddy & The Family’s forthcoming compilation, No Way Out 2. Tuesday night is all about MMM, though.
Diddy conducts his best campaign speech about returning to his Harlem roots and how the project was born from a “Netflix and chill” session with his girl two years ago. “I’m going through all the movies and I wanted to watch some gangsta shit,” he recalled, eventually picking the classic film Paid In Full, produced by hip-hop mogul Dame Dash. “I know I was subliminally hating through that time. I turned that shit on, I was like, ‘Oh my god, this n—a Dame Dash is a f—ing genius.”
Throughout the night, Puff repeatedly called MMM a “sonic motion picture” and a “Shakespearean tale” inspired by the 2002 drug dealer drama. His salute to Mekhi Phifer’s character also known as “Money-Makin’ Mitch” pushed the Bad Boy mogul to revisit his come-up and issue a friendly reminder to the industry that he should never be counted out.
“Money-Makin’ Mitch is this fairy tale, you know, about this fly n—a from Harlem that came up and did his thing,” Diddy says on the intro of the opening track, “Facts.” Set against a montage of New York City streets from Brooklyn to Puff’s native Harlem, MMM plays like the quintessential hustler’s soundtrack. He even recruits a crew of well-known go-getters — French Montana, Pusha T, Jadakiss, Lil Kim, Wiz Khalifa and Travi$ Scott — for his features. At one point, Diddy asks to turn off all the lights in the room for the ‘tape’s lead single “MMM” featuring Future, to “let the music speak for itself.” Over a bouncy, Western trap-sounding beat, Puff spits, “I don’t flex on n—as, I don’t talk no shit/ I just get these checks and check my bitch.”
The mixtape, a release in partnership with Epic Records, finds the rapper putting out show-stopping material for free, visuals included. Donning his signature New York Yankees fitted cap, Puff hosted a glow-in-the-dark dance party for the “Workin’” video (the MMM version of the single also includes Big Sean and Travi$ Scott). He lets his contributors shine on wax, like Ty Dolla $ign’s groovy vocals on “You Could Be My Lover,” an infectious love note for the ladies. On Diddy’s ode to the dollar, “Money Ain’t a Problem,” French Montana inserts a charismatic 16 and his signature “Haaannnn” drops.
Stacked features aside, Diddy says the project is not about sales or clicks, but rather a toast to the success he’s earned and willing to share. “I’m back on my bullshit not ‘cause I want to show off on you. I wanna show you that you can do it, that it’s possible, that I can inspire you,” he said. “I’m not gon’ hide in a corner, I’m not gon’ cower, I’m not gon’ have my hand out, I’mma show you that it can be done.” To drive the point home, the album cover art even shows a young Diddy drenched in fur alongside supermodel Kate Moss in Paris, a candid snapped by esteemed photographer Annie Leibovitz. The back cover is a photo of him popping a gigantic bottle of champagne.
Grinding for the love of the game is permanently etched into Puff’s DNA, specifically as a way to one-up himself. As his best friend and frequent collaborator Swizz Beatz accurately put it, “You gotta understand what [Diddy] brought to the table. He brought to the table a legacy that cannot even be duplicated. He brought us [Notorious] B.I.G.”
Because of his stellar track record, Puff knows that every move needs to be a boss move, which partly explains why after MMM’s release, he will focus his attention on his final LP, No Way Out 2, before dedicating his time to family. As the party winded down, he splashed the phrase “Black man is god” across the screen, explaining that men of color have to work just as hard to achieve high levels of success, a quote that could be plucked from Papa Pope’s playbook on Scandal.
“This is a Shakespearean tale that needs to be told because the black man is god and we coming,” he said to roaring applause in the room. “There’s nothing wrong with us [black men] being confident in ourselves. I represent that black American dream and that shit is 10 times harder than any other dream. To be sitting in these silky seats, I’m not gon’ let you think that it’s not regular. Me putting this album out is not regular. Me putting it out for free is not regular.”
After a final round of Ciroc shots in honor of his birthday and money-making accomplishments, Diddy retreated to the studio, like the self-made artist and businessman he dreamed of being.
Listen to Puff Daddy’s MMM mixtape below.
Check out the back cover of #MMM!! #TakeDat #3PM 1. Facts 2. Harlem feat @imGizzle 3. Help Me feat @Sevyn 4. Everyday feat @TheRealKiss @RealHolidayStyles @KingPush 5. Auction feat @LilKimTheQueenBee @iamKingLos @RealHolidayStyles 6. MMM feat. @Future @iamKingLos 7. All Or Nothing feat @FrenchMontana @MisterCap 8. Workin feat @BigSean @TravisScott 9. You Could Be My Lover feat @TyDollaSign @imGizzle 10. Uptown feat Brucie B 11. Money Ain’t A Problem feat @FrenchMontana 12. Blow A Check feat @Zoeydollazzz @FrenchMontana