NEW YORK Standing in a lower Manhattan loft on the set of the new video for the remix of "I Need a Girl," P. Diddy and his video co-star Usher look like a hip-hop version of Batman and Robin. Both are covered in leather suits and wear dark sunglasses to mask their faces, and the dynamic duo are trying to save each other.
"He's got it bad," Usher said Tuesday of Diddy's demeanor in the video. "I'm narrating the story."
The first clip from P.D.'s upcoming P. Diddy and the Family Present: This Is the Remix, the video finds the hip-hop mogul having flashbacks (which include a steamy scene in a bathtub) of a relationship and then descending into the depths of despair because that relationship has come to a halt. (Click for photos from the video shoot).
"Me and Puff sat down one day and discussed how sometimes it gets lonely on top," said Loon, who not only appears on the remix and the original, but also wrote Diddy's verses. "You got a lot of things going for you in your life and career and sometimes you just want to settle down and establish a relationship with one female that will last forever.
"People always interpret it with the Jennifer Lopez situation because it happened to take place around the same time we created the song," he continued. "It's not like Puff said, 'Write this song about Jennifer.' I sat there and wrote this song and put myself in Puff's situation, but not really elaborating on the Jennifer Lopez situation."
"That's the whole thing, I'm an eligible bachelor," Diddy explained. "I ain't begging for a girl. I'm making a statement. [I was thinking about] all the girlfriends that have left me because of me being on cell phones or being on the 2ways and working. When you're in love with the business, it's kind of hard, but you gotta balance it. I have messed up in relationships and I ain't really trying to do that no more."
"I'm internationally known on the microphone/ I got it all but I need a wife I can call my own/ I don't really like to zone, never spend a night alone ... Most of the girls be confusing me/ I don't know if they using me," P.D.'s voice, generated by the playback machine, boomed in the living room for a party scene.
The video's extras, who include Carl Thomas, Craig Mack and several models (some braless and wearing sheer blouses, a couple of others sporting see-through dresses that reveal their thongs), are supposed to be dancing and sipping champagne while P.D. walks around rapping, but something is missing.
"C'mon y'all, we need more," Diddy demanded of the extras. "Let me break it down to you, I need y'all to be like ... This is four o'clock in the morning and the party is jumpin'. It's real hot. Whoever is not on point, we gonna point y'all out."
After a couple of more takes, the make-believe partygoers are getting it crunk, dancing and screaming, "Hey, ho" and garnering applause from the Puffster.
"I'm excited," Loon said after the scene was finished and as the crew set up for his performance scene. "I been in the game for a minute. I been watching a lot of these other artists prosper and have fun in these videos. It just feels good to finally be able to stand in front of the camera and spit verses at the same time.
"When I came to the video set, I was getting looked at like an extra," he added. "Now the girls are starting to understand the whole science behind the song and the video, and already it's becoming a problem. I can imagine what happens when the video takes off. I hope the ladies can control themselves."
Diddy was positive that Usher, who was over four hours late getting to set, could control himself and wait a little while longer for his part to be shot.
"You owe me like six hours," Diddy said to Usher. "He's cool," he added, turning to the video's director, Benny Boom.
"I'm ready whenever you're ready," Usher assured his friend. "Now, 10 minutes from now, whenever."
"When I went to his video shoot, they had me waiting all day," Diddy said to Boom.
The night before, Diddy shot scenes for Usher's "U Don't Have to Call," which is a continuation from "U Got It Bad."
"I'm in the house still sobbing," Usher explained. "Diddy hits me on the cell, he tells me, 'We getting out tonight.' "
"Usher dances all through the video," Diddy marveled. "I've never seen that done before."
For the remix album, P.D. and Loon recorded a second remix of "I Need a Girl" with Ginuwine. A video, which Diddy described as a sequel to his current clip, is going to be filmed for that version in Miami on February 15.
"The first one [I lose] the girl," he explained. "A couple of weeks after that, you get up on your feet and get out there."