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October 20, 2006

Civic hero Diddy grows on new CD

Whether you want to call him Puff Daddy, Puffy, Sean John or simply Diddy, Sean Combs has revolutionized the music scene in many ways that may not be obvious to the naked eye. Music was Diddy’s platform to launch a business empire that now includes a movie production company, two restaurants, MTV’s Making the Band, a snazzy clothing line, and much more. All of this combined with his donations to charities, his participation in the New York City Marathon, his memorable Vote or Die campaign, and the aid he has given to sweatshop workers in Honduras has won him the admiration of many, Mayor Daley included. October 13 is now Diddy Day in Chicago. Now, after a five-year hiatus from music, Puffy has released a new album, Press Play, and is ready to reclaim his number one position on the Billboard charts and dominate radio stations once again.

“I’m not really computer-savvy,” Diddy stated at a recent press conference. However, he seems to be using the Internet to his advantage, “Just catching up,” as he says, to a medium of promotion that has become a marketing goldmine. With Diddy TV (found at www.diddy.com), he creates a place “where everyone can be heard”—where fans can voice their opinions and watch videos by Diddy and others. Not only has Diddy developed new promotional tactics, but he has also changed the way he produces music. Press Play features a team of heavy-hitting producers and a slew of top artists. Diddy has decided to share the spotlight in order to grow lyrically and musically. He claims to have learned from his experiences with Chicago artists like Twista and Kanye West, stating, “There is level of thought that goes into [the way they make music].” Press Play is the result of these new lessons and experiences.

From the very beginning, Press Play is a different kind of venture. He sheds several layers of his Bad Boy façade, revealing his inner lover and allowing himself to share production and vocal time with a variety of gifted artists. Do I hear heavy bass and a mix of computer-generated background noises? It must be Timbaland. With the aid of his protégé Danj NDZ, he created the futuristic “Diddy Rock” and “After Love.” Guest singer Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls purrs and coos on the radio hit “Come To Me,” as Diddy tries to use all the right lines to get one night with his dream girl. Brandy stops by for a minute to bestow her radiance on “Thought You Said,” while Keyshia Cole takes the proceedings to new levels. The vivacity of Mary J. Blige’s voice mixed with the ambitious, horn-driven sounds of Rich Harrison make for an exciting track, as does one featuring Outkast’s Big Boi and Ciara, who fade gracefully into the beat. Nas and Cee-Lo also impress by transforming their voices into instruments at Kanye West’s disposal, but “Just Blaze” wins the prize for best track, as diva Christina Aguilera steals the show with gracious ease in the second single “Tell Me.”

Controlling all facets of the media, Diddy is ready to take over the world with his business know-how, confident musical productions, and self-assured stature. While Justin Timberlake is bringing Sexyback and Christina Aguilera is going back in time, Diddy is evolving, turning heads everywhere with his musical prowess. Don’t be left out; join the musical revolution found on Press Play.