Puffy Discusses Signing The Youthful Jerome

Rap mogul Master P recently signed Lil' Soldiers, a group comprised of two elementary school-aged kids to his No Limit label, and now Bad Boy chief Sean "Puffy" Combs is unveiling his new pre-teen signing, 11-year-old vocalist Jerome.

Jerome makes his recording debut on the just-issued compilation, "Bad Boy's Greatest Hits," with a track called "Too Old for Me." Puffy and his newest protege stopped by MTV on Tuesday and talked with Kurt Loder about his youthful discovery.

"When I first heard him," Puffy said, "I was blown away. When I saw a video [of Jerome], I couldn't really believe it. That's why I was like, 'Put him on the phone, he can't really sing like that.' Then I couldn't wait for the meeting, cause I had to hear him sing over the phone, and I don't normally do anything like that, but that's how impressed I was by the video."

"Then he came

and sang for me live," he continued, "and it was almost like it some kind of spectacle. I felt bad cause I kept calling people in, saying, 'C'mon, come look at this kid, y'all won't believe this.'" [28.8 RealVideo]

During the interview, Puffy indicated that Jerome's debut album would be released early next year.