Diddy Doin’ It In The Studio, Gearing Up For Biggie Duets LP

Puffy puts solo career on hold to assist Bad Boy artists, others.

P. Diddy has two tentative release dates for his next solo LP — either sometime in the “way, way future” or “no time soon.”

With all the albums he’s helping to put out this year, the dancing CEO said he has no time to think about being an artist himself. “I’m in no rush. Right now my focus is being a producer and focusing on the artists on [my] label,” Diddy said Tuesday during the B.I.G. Night Out tribute gala (see “Biggie, Jam Master Jay, Left Eye And Their Mothers Honored At B.I.G. Night Out” ).

“I’m just looking at the scene right now and figuring which way to go,” he continued. “It’s a beautiful thing out here, 50 Cent is doing his thing, Nas, Jay-Z. I’m enjoying hip-hop as a fan. I’ve been running around touring for the longest. I thank God for everybody who supported my last album, but I was tired. I wanted to get behind the board. I want to make some new stars. I’m content with where I am now.”

Diddy said he has close to 10 albums on deck, and he’s itching to put them out. After all, it’s been almost a year since any new music came out of Bad Boy. Puff and his artists have been in limbo until a few weeks ago, when Bad Boy finally inked a distribution deal with Universal (see “P. Diddy’s Bad Boy Has A New Home” ).

“A lot of people have asked me why it took so long to close this deal, [but] this is actually the shortest deal I’ve ever done,” Diddy said. “Usually to negotiate a deal takes a year and a half. This is a marriage that you’re entering with somebody, so you have to make sure [everything is right]. The contract alone is over 100 pages, and if you’re not gonna take the time out to read it, most likely you’ll have a problem in the future.”

Even before his new deal was done, Diddy had his eyes on the prize, sequestering most of the Bad Boy roster in Miami for weeks to work on their respective LPs. Besides albums by his own acts — including Loon, Dream, Carl Thomas, Cheri Dennis, Mario Winans, Faith Evans, New Edition, Black Rob, and 8Ball & MJG — Puff also put in work on outside projects by Mary J. Blige, Lenny Kravitz, Method Man and Kelly Price. There’s also the nearly completed Foxy Brown album, which he is executive producing; an alternative dance album with Felix da Housecat and Deep Dish; and in the near future he’ll begin work on Notorious B.I.G.’s posthumous collaborations album, due this summer.

“I have a new distribution deal, so it’s only fitting that one of my first albums comes from B.I.G.,” Puff said. “We’re doing a Biggie duets album. This whole craze started when people started editing pieces of Biggie’s vocals, like the 50 Cent song ['The Realest'] and Ashanti [on the remix of 'Unfoolish.'] It’s a good way to put out some new Biggie material and let other artists get involved, get a chance to do a song with him.”

Diddy said none of the verses from Biggie’s hit songs will be used. Instead, the project will focus on album cuts, some of his more obscure underground songs and unreleased material.

“It’s making a statement to the music world that Biggie’s music is timeless and that no matter what, his music lives on,” Puff said.

—Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Minya Oh and Sway Calloway