Last night at the Diageo world headquarters, the stage appeared to be set for a grand entrance by Sean “Diddy” Combs on his 46th birthday. Hip-hop’s wealthiest mogul had just dropped a new mixtape, MMM, a tribute to Mekhi Phifer’s character in the 2002 film Paid In Full, released for free across the internet via Soundcloud.
High above the streets of Manhattan, his guests noshed on filet mignon and foie gras appetizers while sipping drinks from a bar stocked with every flavor of Diddy’s DeLeon tequila and Ciroc vodka, including the newly-launched apple variant. A Diageo spokesperson strolled to the front of the room and announced that she was turning over the event to Mr. Sean Combs–and promptly turned on a large flat-screen television on the wall.
“Every time we drop a new flavor, the internet goes crazy,” explained Diddy in a clip from Late Night With Seth Meyers. “It’s like dropping a new iPhone.”
The maneuver was classic Diddy–a bait-and-switch that simultaneously made onlookers feel disappointed to have missed him, but left them with a whiff of his essence and wanting more. The “more” part can be found on MMM, which he describes as follows on the opening track:
Money Making Mitch is this fairy tale, you know, about this fly n*gga from Harlem that came up and he did his thing, man. He was shinin’ on them, stylin’ on them, showin’ em how to do it, showin’ em how to get it. Maybe he was getting it the wrong way, but you know, the fairytale of it is most brothers or sisters end up dead or in jail. But check this out, with this fairytale that I created in my brain. Imagine that Mitch lived, survived, took those different talents and attributes and business skills and applied it to the world of business.”
Appropriately, Diddy’s two birthday presents to himself reveal a blueprint for diversified big-name musicians to make money on new music. It seems he saw that, with the current state of the music business, he might be able to sell a couple hundred thousand copies of MMM as a traditional album–loose change for a man worth more than $700 million.