MORRISTOWN, New Jersey — You've heard everyone from Jay-Z to Fabolous to Busta Rhymes reference the new Mercedes Maybach in their songs, but for hip-hop's preeminent trendsetter, even those hot wheels aren't hot enough.
"I don't own a Maybach," P. Diddy said nonchalantly Friday, standing in the middle of an airplane hangar. "That's for guys with new money that don't know what to do with it. I like the classics." (Click for photos of P. Diddy's jet.)
Diddy is pulling out his classics as well as his favorite vehicles from other years for a taping of Spike TV's upcoming show "Ride With Funkmaster Flex."
There's a 1959 Chevrolet Corvette, a 2002 Ferrari and the biggest toy of them all, Diddy's 16-seat Gulfstream IV-SP jet that maxes out at 550 mph.
Having access to one of these babies exudes top-rate baller status. Owning the jet outright can cost up to $35 million, but rather than incur this cost, Diddy simply shells out dollars to own a fraction of the aircraft, which is the equivalent to time sharing. To rent a Gulfstream IV and a flight staff for 25 hours can cost up to $299,000.
"It's crazy being on it and seeing it," Flex marveled of his buddy's aircraft. Inside the plane there are leather seats with small TV screens next to them. There's a bathroom, a dining area with a table, a long couch and a kitchen with a microwave.
"Do we have to go up?" Diddy, flanked by rapper Loon, asked the show's producer. At first the Bad Boys seemed gung-ho about letting the camera crew tape them flying, but when Flex started showing a fear of flying, Diddy lost the feeling.
"If he's not going up, I'm not going up," Diddy insisted. "It might be in the air for us not to go up. You gotta go with the gut. If it's in his gut not to go up, maybe we shouldn't go up."
"No, I'm just shook," laughed Flex, who had shown up in his own 1966 Chevy Impala, trying to convince Diddy to fly. It was to no avail, though. In the end they decided to keep the show on the ground, turning their attention once again to P. Diddy's cars.
"If you don't have a girlfriend, throw on a white T-shirt, some jeans, drop the top and drive slow," Diddy said, looking into the camera and testifying to magnetism of his cherry red Chevy. "I guarantee you within 20 miles [you'll find someone]. I only drive this three times a year, but it looks nice in your garage."
Speaking of girlfriends, Diddy also had his prized Ferrari on hand from the "I Need a Girl (Part 2)" video.
"When you're doing 200 [mph], it only feels like 85," Diddy said, cracking a smile, referring to the "gift" from his children.
"I got Nelly, Lil' Kim, Ja Rule, 50 Cent — some of the biggest celebrities and their rides," Flex said of the lifestyle show, which came into existence after he shot a $50,000 pilot with his own money and introduced the show to executives at TNN, which is now called Spike TV. (MTV's parent company, Viacom, also owns Spike TV.)
Some of the other celebs flossing their tricked-out rides include Eminem, Ludacris and Queen Latifah. On the show, Flex will also lend a hand to some of the celebs, either enhancing their vehicles or totally restoring them like he did for 50 Cent's 1965 Chevy Impala.
"Ride With Funkmaster Flex" premieres August 16 on Spike TV. It will air on Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. with an encore on Sundays at 11 p.m.