After leading hip-hop's charge through mainstream pop music for much of the past decade, is P. Diddy ready to follow the lead of Jay-Z and hang it all up?
"I don't want nobody to just go crazy or nothing," Diddy cautioned recently. "It's not going to be as dramatic or traumatic as Jay-Z retiring."
The Bad Boy CEO explained that he's ditching the solo spotlight after his upcoming studio album, PD5, due in the fall.
"I got a chance to have my dream come true, and I wanted to make sure I made the decision as to when I dropped my last album," he said. "If I don't feel like this album is an incredible piece of work, then I'm cool with the albums I've done. I don't have to put out another album."
Despite the implied numerology, PD5 will actually be Diddy's fourth album as a solo artist (though he maintains that the Bad Boy remix collection We Invented the Remix should count). The mathematics don't include the upcoming Diddy-overseen dance album Divided Souls (see "P. Diddy In The Hizzouse, Working on Electronic Dance LP"), due later this spring.
Even if Diddy does indeed "retire" as an artist, he'll have plenty to keep him busy, with his record company, clothing lines and even Broadway. Diddy has the lead role in "A Raisin in the Sun" (see "P. Diddy In Talks For Starring Role On Broadway"). The play debuts April 26 in New York, and Diddy said he's hard at work on the role.
"I was saying the other day I would rather run another marathon. I never imagined how hard it would be and how hard it's been," he said. "I have so much respect for people in the theater. You can't do 10 or 15 takes. It's all live. It's like life in motion."
Meanwhile, Bad Boy celebrates its 10 years Tuesday with the release of Bad Boy's 10th Anniversary: The Hits, which also marks the seven-year anniversary of the death of the Notorious B.I.G., Bad Boy's signature artist in both life and death.
"We've learned so much over the last 10 years — through mistakes and successes, triumphs and tragedies," Diddy said. "It's just made us stronger, made us better. Making it through 10 years is a true blessing. We feel we've made a positive impact on youth culture, on hip-hop. We've kind of led by example. We showed people that if you dream and you believe, you can do it."