I’ve Got The Moves Like Diddy (A How-To Guide)

Published On May 4, 2012

If the guilty pleasure, don’t-tell-anybody-you-know reason for clicking on this post is to actually learn how to do the Diddy Bop, just scroll allllllllllll the way down to the bottom and skip this knowledge I’m about to bless with you first.  But to the wise, look no further.  As consumers, observers and participants in the music world and hip-hop culture, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs is sure to be one of those great entrepreneurs you have an innate love/hate relationship with (in your head).  But despite any issues you may have with his own personal life choices, an undeniable fact is that he’s one of the greatest businessmen of our time, and is most definitely among the most inspirational in our culture.

Diddy’s career moves have always been monumental; from the beginning to the seemingly never-end.  For more than 15 years, we’ve witnessed his growth both personally and professionally; as he stands today with a net worth of $550million, takingthe #1 spot for the wealthiest man representative of hip-hop culture.

So, if you’re looking to make moves like Diddy– be it in the business room, the production room, or the dance floor– here’s a few detrimental steps he took to become the man he is today; appropriate and apply.

 

As the legendary story goes, Combs started his climb to the top at Uptown Records.  But before he landed the position, he became known as one of the most hustling students at Howard University– that is, through selling papers (since he was 12) and throwing parties on campus.

Internships are very important in a young ambitious one’s story (as stressed here).  And many times, it serves as the breeding ground and extended interview for a larger opportunity.  Allowing the chance for you to learn while also proving your commitment to learning and the skills you can bring to the table for the fulfillment and rise of the company.  Every internship should be done with anticipation and possibility of rising and excelling.  Cease every moment.

 

At Uptown Records, Combs’ dedication proved long days and late-nights of work as an intern through his tedious work ethic.  Just 3 months later, at the ago of 19, industry heavyweight Andre Harrell promoted him to Director of A&R talent; and by 23 he became its Vice President.   Having produced hits for today’s top artists and legends such as Mary J. Blige, Jodeci, Mariah Carey, New Edition, Method Man, TLC, and Boyz II Men to name a few, his ear for talent and skill in production became heavily scouted.

Sometimes you have to prove how much you want it to yourself before others will take notice.  Combs was so enthralled into his work that others around him couldn’t deny the success he was inevitably going to achieve.  Along the way, you may make a few mistakes, but mistaken steps are always better than a halted journey.  A great example of this is seen through Diddy’s own mistake in 1991, a year after he began making a climatic presence at Uptown.  He planned and promoted an AIDS Charity Celebrity Basketball event at New York City College with Heavy D that ended in tragedy. The event was oversold and overcrowded, and a New York Court ruled him part of the blame by civil liability.  The stampede that ensued left him with the guilt of nine deaths and tens of others injured.

 

Already covered in a previous post, knowing when to go is crucial in one’s start-up years.  In this case, Combs didn’t necessarily decide that it was time to go.  Whether it was an accelerated ego on his part, or a less alluring string of jealousy on Harrel’s part, he was fired from Uptown in 1993.  But due to his reputation in the industry, it was only two weeks later when Diddy solidified a deal with then music conglomerate, Arista Records, for the musical distribution of Bad Boy Entertainment.

In the end, it was perfect timing for Diddy.  Even though it came unexpected, and it caused a bit of friction between he and Biggie who was projected to be one of his next artists up to bat, the move to do for self was the smartest one.  Most likely, he also had deals and opportunities coming in from other avenues: established brands, labels, artists, etc.  But to step out on your own two feet takes courage.  Not everyone is destined or even up for the challenge, but if you’re really into making moves like Diddy, making independent moves is a priority.  But the timing is different for everyone.

 

The other ingredient in the recipe of Diddy’s success is patience.  While it may seem that his life choices were moving fast, his decision to make the choices didn’t come so quickly.  Before he branched out to work on his self, he sculpted his sound and branded a whole new platform for music.  He perfected his production skills, continued to build alliances in the industry, never lost focus, and kept all that he had brewing in the pot a secret to the hungry until it was perfected to his liking.  He had a vision and didn’t walk into any deal blindly.

Knowing exactly what you want is a must.  To have an idea of what you want, but not a complete understanding of your motive or direction will get you caught up and lost; unsure of which way to go when the hardest decisions arise.  Combs executed his assurance with every step, sculpting the image and timeless music from Biggie, Craig Mac, 112, Total, Faith, and so on as time continues to pass.

 

After the untimely death of Biggie, and from the plateau of success he was experiencing through Bad Boy, Diddy had some time to play.  First, it began with his own music.  He now had time to do more for self, as his other artists were already well on their way and highly anticipated.  With an undeniable love for music, he took to the mic as well, and earned a Grammy and more for his work.

But the experimentation went far beyond that.  As a businessman he continued to make great executive decisions from Sean John clothing line, Blue Flame advertising company, an MTV/Viacom Reality Show, an acting career (Broadway and Big Screen), a restaurant chain, a management company, Ciroc Vodka deal,  and Bad Boy Worldwide including technology, books, and film.  Having a successful business is one thing; but if you’re looking to make moves like Diddy, you’re talking about building an empire.  Creating other avenues for profit isn’t only about making more money, it’s about having several different options to fall back on should anything else fall through.

But — and I speak for myself when I say this — to some people, his most favorited experiment is the infamous Diddy Bop.  Seen in videos worldwide since 1994, it is the most prized of all of his possessions.  Now you know how to make business moves like Diddy.  Shall we share in the excitement for our half-a-billi inevitable status with some shoulder shakes?  I vote yes!

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