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Don’t Sign With Diddy: A History of Bad Boy Fails

by Andreas Hale Posted Nov 17th 2010 4:30PM

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When Jay Electronica signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation instead of Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Bad Boy records, the “Shiny Suit Man” expressed his disappointment on Twitter, while Electronica’s fans breathed a collective sigh of relief. Why, you ask? Well, because Diddy doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to being the custodian of artists’ careers. Need proof? We have 20 examples for you.

1. Craig Mack

 Years Signed: 1994-1995, 2005

Fail Rating: 4 out of 5 Diddys

Why: Before Craig Mack was completely obscure, he had been reduced to a punchline. After the release of his gold debut album, ‘Project: Funk Da World,’ the only time you’d hear his name was when rappers were comparing something’s ugliness to his face. Harsh. The beginning of the end of Mack’s rap career came with the ‘Flava in Ya Ear’ remix, on which Mack was outshined by every one featured on the song (except for Rampage Da Last Boyscout).

Prior to the remix’s release, Mack had a hit single with the original and was destined for stardom. But after the remix dropped, everyone forgot about Mack, thanks to a fellow named Biggie Smalls and a dancing Puff Daddy Diddy. Where’s Craig Mack these days? We don’t know, and sadly we doubt you care.

2. Total

Years Signed: 19952000



Fail Rating: 4 out of 5 Diddys

Why: People often question the singing ability of artists like Rihanna and Cassie, but there’s been a long history of R&B divas with suspect talent. Back in ’95, Sean Combs introduced the trio Total and the next phase of the hip-hop/R&B movement he helped usher in with Mary J. Blige. There was Kima, the skinny, screechy one; Keisha, the sexy one with the short cut who could kinda sing; and then Pam, the tall one everyone thought was a lesbian.

Their debut single, ‘Can’t You See,’ featuring Notorious B.I.G. was a huge urban radio hit, and the Jersey girls released a platinum self-titled debut album and were subsequently christened “The Bad Girls of R&B.” Their follow-up album ‘Kima, Keisha and Pam,’ went gold, but then they dropped an underwhelming single, ‘Sittin’ Home.’ And, in true Bad Boy fashion, Diddy dropped them and forgot about any of their previous successes.

3. Mase

Years Signed: 1996-1999, 2004



Fail Rating: 1 out of 5 Diddys






Why: It wasn’t all bad for Mase. He was introduced on a remix (112’s ‘Only You’) and soon after became a star. Noted for his slow delivery and elementary rhyme style, Mase was a remix whore who appeared everywhere he could before really breaking out on Diddy’s album No Way Out’ (ironic title) with ‘Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down.’ He then dropped the four-times platinum ‘Harlem World’ album, assembled a group with the same name (and released a corny-ass single produced by Just Blaze). He appeared to be destined for fame. But that sophomore jinx ain’t nuthin to f-ck with (word to Wu-Tang), as ‘Double Up’ bricked like a blindfolded Shaq free throw. Mase then blamed God and retired. After slow flowing in pulpits and attending Clark Atlanta, Mase God decided that he should go back to music, and he released ‘Welcome Back’ in 2004. All things considered, Mase didn’t fare badly with Diddy at all. We just don’t know what those checks looked like.


4. 112

Years Signed: 1995-2002



Fail Rating: 3 out of 5 Diddys



Why: Selling 16 million records can’t be considered a fail, can it? The quartet could actually sing and had great success being Bad Boy’s standout male R&B group. After their first three albums showcased their great vocals, Diddy apparently got bored and paid them no attention, which led to the group signing with Def Jam. But don’t think they got away scot-free. What was initially an amicable split got ugly when a dispute over who owned 112’s music surfaced. The dispute held up the release of their fourth album, and apparently everyone lost interest.


5. The Lox



Years Signed: 1996-1999



Fail Rating: 5 out of 5 Diddys



Why: Who remembers the gritty and grimy Lox rocking shiny suits and sampling Rod Stewart’s ‘If You Really Want Me?’ It was like painting a pitbull pink and putting him in a tutu. Diddy signed Jadakiss, Styles P and Sheik Louch to the label in 1996 and turned the hard-nosed Yonkers crew into a bunch of jiggy rappers. The Lox didn’t like that — as well as seeing no money from their platinum album ‘Money, Power & Respect’ — and threatened to throw a refrigerator on Diddy if they didn’t get off of the label. A “Let the Lox Go” campaign began, and finally Diddy let the vise grips go, and the trio returned to their street roots and joined Ruff Ryders. It was damn near the ugliest label split ever gone public.

6. Black Rob

Years Signed: 2000-2010

Fail Rating: 4 out of 5 Diddys

Why: Remember Whoa?’ It was a big street single and massive big club record. But Black Rob’s 2000 album, ‘Life Story,’ got relatively no push, which sucks because the album was really, really good. No follow-up single, no nothing. Apparently, Diddy was more focused on his own personal ventures and left Rob broke. Which probably led to his sentencing on a grand larceny charge in 2006. If he was getting paid, he wouldn’t have to steal jewelry from a hotel room, now would he?

7. G Dep

Years Signed: 19992005



 Fail Rating: 3 out of 5 Diddys

Why: Call it the “Black Rob Curse.” After being recommended by Rob, G-Dep signed to the label in 1999 and spawned two hit singles: ‘Let’s Get It’ and ‘Special Delivery,’ which were partially responsible for popularizing the “Harlem Shake” dance craze. The ‘Special Delivery’ remix was looked at as a tool to usher in Bad Boy’s new era of hip-hop. But then, Diddy lost interest and the album bricked. Unsurprisingly, Diddy left G Dep broke and — just like Black Rob — G Dep was arrested in 2007 for breaking a T-Mobile display case (why?). Word is that he stayed on Rikers Island for a month because he couldn’t come up with the $750 bail. He’s also had to deal with a drug addiction. That’s just sad, Diddy.

8. Fuzz Bubble

Years Signed: 1997-1999



Fail Rating: 5 out of 5 Diddys



Why: Remember when Diddy said he signed a rock band? We don’t either.

9. Shyne

Years Signed: 1998-2001

Fail Rating: 4 out of 5 Diddys

Why: C’mon, son! Diddy signed Shyne because he sounded like Biggie. You know it’s true. He rolled with Diddy everywhere. Then he took an L for his so-called friend after busting a gun in a New York City club in 1999 while defending the honor of Diddy and his ex-girl Jennifer Lopez. Shyne dropped his self-titled album in 2000 to moderate success and hit the courtroom in 2001. While Diddy had Johnny Cochran defending him, Shyne had…uhm.we don’t remember. Diddy did no time and made boatloads of money. Jennifer Lopez moved on with her life and had twins, and Shyne lost nearly nine years of his life. There are truly no benefits to signing with Bad Boy.

10. Mark Curry

Years Signed: 1997-2005

Fail Rating: 4 out of 5 Diddys

Why: Remember Mark Curry? We didn’t until he released a book to remind us he was signed to Bad Boy, claiming, of course, that Diddy was “the devil.” Oh yeah, he was on that ‘Bad Boy 4 Life‘ song wasn’t he? We ain’t goin’ nowhere sure doesn’t mean what it used to.

11. Kain

Years Signed: 2001-2004



Fail Rating: 5 out of 5 Diddys

Why: Diddy’s answer to Eminem failed miserably. Apparently, everyone wanted a white rapper to compete with Em. Diddy got bored of his novelty item and got a scathing diss record in return.




12. Da Band

Years Signed: 2003-2004



Fail Rating: 5 out 5 Diddys




Why: Exploitation. Diddy used Sara Stokes, Freddy P, Babs, Ness, Chopper and Mr. “I Spit Hot Fire” Dylan for our entertainment on the second season of ‘Making the Band.’ The music? Nobody cares or remembers. What we do remember is Diddy shutting down the studio, long walks for cheesecakes and numerous fights. And that ‘Chappelle’s Show’ skit was classic. Unfortunately, Da Band reaped no benefits. Shout out to the lone band member who was able to parlay that reality TV embarrassment into a real career. Oh, wait…

13. Cassie

Years Signed: 2005-Present



Fail Rating: 1 out of 5 Diddys



Why: Like anybody else would sign Cassie because of her “talent.” She got over because of her looks and has been Diddy’s side chick for years (dispute that if you really want to). Listen, when the most significant thing in your music career has nothing to do with music, you’re doing okay. Who cares if she doesn’t release another song? Obviously she doesn’t. The picture says it best: “What the hell am I doing here?”


14. Danity Kane

Years Signed: 2005-2009



Fail Rating: 3 out of 5 Diddys



Why: Danity Kane achieved success and made for a few entertaining years of ‘Making the Band.’ Obviously benefiting from Diddy’s presence, the girls weren’t half bad. But, alas, the only girl with the balls to stand up to Diddy (Aubrey O’Day), was the reason the group fell apart. Lesson learned: Don’t stand up to Diddy, because he will send you home broke, lonely and working on the Las Vegas Strip topless. Or, you can become part of his back-up dancer eye candy group Dirty Money.

15. Faith Evans

Years Signed: 1995-2004



Fail Rating: 4 out of 5 Diddys



Why: When Biggie died, so did Faith’s career as a Bad Boy artist. The songbird with a beautiful voice had an excellent self-titled debut album (why all the self-titled debuts on Bad Boy?) in 1995. But after husband Christopher Wallace passed in 1997, Diddy passed on her career. She may have been the powerful voice behind ‘I’ll Be Missing You,’ but Diddy seemed to be too caught up in launching his own career as an artist to give Faith the attention needed on her 1998 sophomore album. It eventually went platinum, but not because Diddy helped promote it. She left in 2004 because she figured Diddy was too busy with himself to help her. That’s a duh.


16. Aasim

Years Signed: 2004-Present



Fail Rating: 3 out of 5 Diddys



Why: Who? Exactly. He’s been delegated to permanent ghostwriter status. The mere thought of him releasing a solo album makes us chuckle.





17. Mario Winans

Years Signed: 2003-Present

Fail Rating: 1 out of 5 Diddys



Why: Mario has been playing the behind-the-scenes role comfortably for quite some time. He’s produced, written and sang for years. He was even able to release a solo album under the imprint in 2004. That’s better than what everyone else on the label has gotten. He hasn’t complained yet, so why should we?


18. Carl Thomas

Years Signed: 1997


Fail Rating: 5 out 5 Diddys

Why: Carl Thomas’ debut album, ‘Emotional.’ was received with open arms after ‘I Wish’ had everyone singing “I wish I never met her at all.” We bet that he probably wishes he never met Diddy, because the two began bumping heads creatively, and Thomas was stuck forever living in Diddy’s massive shadow. It sucks, because Carl Thomas can actually sing. Now we have to hear Diddy try to sing on ‘Last Train Wreck to Paris.’

 19. Loon



Years Signed: 2001-2005



Fail Rating: 2 out of 5 Diddys



Why: Loon was like a diet Mase. Too bad everyone else thought the same thing. Sure, he could rap better than Diddy. But when Diddy’s focus is on building Diddy’s brand, everyone else gets left out in the cold. Just like his 2003 self-titled debut album (see, another self-titled debut!) was hung out to dry, so was his career. It must have been bad because Loon pulled a Mase but opted for Islam and then retired from the music industry. Now known as Amir Junaid Muhadith, Loon can say he’s no longer owned by Diddy. So in order to escape from Bad Boy, you must either die or blame religion. Allah > Diddy.


20. Cheri Dennis

Years Signed: 2001 – 2010

Fail Rating: 5 out of 5 Diddys

Why: Cheri Dennis waited and waited and waited for her chance to release a solo album. She had advertisements and numerous release dates. And when it finally came out in 2007, nobody cared. We’re not sure Cheri even cared. Honestly, we’re not sure Diddy even noticed when she left.