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Bad Boy Forever: HipHopGame interviews Diddy

HipHopGame interviews Diddy

What’s up?

I’m doing real good today. I’m doing real good. I’m just blessed. I’m out here on the road, working, promoting the album. It’s one of the greatest feelings when you’re about to drop an album.

It’s been awhile since you dropped an album. What inspired your new album Press Play?

The music. I wanted to put out some good music. It’s about having a love for it.

Did you want to appear to a broader audience with your single “Tell Me” featuring Christina Aguilera?

I didn’t really try to go into this with a premeditated plan to have a more international feel or pop appeal or hardcore hip-hop feel. I just went into it to make the best music that I could and to make the best album that I could.

Press Play has a very diverse list of guest appearances. How do you choose to collaborate with?

I treat it like a director. I try to figure out who would be the best in the different scenes in the movie. Whether it’s me, Nas and Cee-Lo on “Everything I Love,” produced by Kanye West, I felt that was the greatest collaboration on that track. Or when it’s New York meets Atlanta like “Wanna Move,” I thought it would be best with Big Boy, Ciara and Scar. Whether it’s on a hip-hop soul track produced by Just Blaze or whatever, I try to pick the best people for that track.

How much of Press Play did you write?

The difference on this album is I wrote rhymes and I wrote checks. I did a lot of co-writing on this album. That’s something I’m proud of. I sat down and I came up with the concepts and I came up with what I wanted to discuss. I take a lot of pride in stepping up my game and doing writing on this album. It’s like having somebody to go back and forth with. Sometimes two heads is better than one to go back and forth. It gives you a lot of versatility in your writing and in order to make a personal album, you have to put the pen to the pad, which I did.

You’ve done a lot of different types of music throughout your career. How would you define your style?

I try to define great music. I’ve been inspired by all types of music. I come from the era of hip-hop soul and I think my music has even evolved to new age hip-hop on this album. I think that I’ve always been able to create things on the melody and I always try to make good songs.

On “We Gon’ Make It,” it has the same “Shaft in Africa” sample as Jay’s “Show Me What You Got.” Which version do you like better?

I like it both ways. I’m not in any competition with Jay. It’s a strange coincidence, but that’s the way God wanted it. It feels good to be on the same wavelength as an artist as great as Jay-Z. We used a lot of the similar producers on this album because they’re our friends and people we’ve worked with. A lot of times great minds think alike. Now DJ’s are cutting one record right after the other. It’s been a good thing.

What are your goals for Press Play?

I’m trying to get the music out there right now. I’m not really focused on sales. I’m trying to put the music out there. I’m in it for the long haul. We all want it to sell as good as we can sell, but it’s going to be what it’s going to be. I feel like I have a deep album which is different. I feel like I’m in it for the long haul. I’m going to put out six singles on this album and you’re going to eventually have to go get this album. That’s just the way I feel.

Looking at your position in the game as well as Jay-Z’s, how do you feel about fans saying New York is dead?

New York has to handle its own. We can’t be whining. We got to step up our creativity and I look forward to all of the albums coming out from New York artists whether it’s Nas, Jay or new artists on my label like Aasim. If we ain’t running shit this year, we have to handle it. The South is running it and all we can do is try to do our best. New York is like the Yankees. Sometimes they don’t win. The only thing we can do is step up for next year and try to do our best to win a championship. It ain’t heavy competition like that. I think a lot of New York artists are just trying to find their artistry because all the different sounds kind of got cats a little confused.

Where would Biggie be today if he were alive today?

He’s the greatest right now and he would be the greatest if he were alive.

How much time do you spend on MySpace each day?

I have somebody who travels with me and we also have a home base. I answer the replies myself and I handle all the programming myself. It’s my personal site. I’m definitely on there a couple of hours out of the day.

How do people crack your Top 24?

I take people who are my friends or family and they get in my Top 8. Sometimes I also get requests and sometimes I honor those requests.

Is the internet changing how you market your future records at Bad Boy?

Yeah. I definitely think that the internet has totally changed the way that we market and the way that we view interaction with fans. We’re totally embracing it, not half-assed embracing it, and embracing it through all the formats and making it fun. It’s a great medium.

I know you’re a big fashion guy and I’m completely the opposite. How can I preserve my sexy on an Old Navy budget?

It’s not about what something costs. It’s about taking the time to get what looks good on you. Don’t go with the trendy pieces so you can rock them more than once. I don’t like going for things that are so busy and are so one way that I can’t rock them again. I like breaking things in and getting comfortable.

What do you want to say to everybody?

To everybody out there, I know y’all have been hearing about me for a long time. I’m grateful that I’ve found a way to communicate with people on the internet so y’all can really get to know me. To everybody, and there have been millions of people on, MySpace and YouTube, I just appreciate your support. Go buy the album and press play. It will make you feel good.

By Brian Kayser