[artist id="1244169"]Diddy[/artist] already knows what you're thinking: Singing? Him? Yup!
The Bad Boy Records CEO is going into crooner mode for his next album, The Last Train to Paris. It was an unexpected move for one of hip-hop's most successful moguls. Diddy, though, said it's a natural progression in his career, one that's seen him go from rap producer to pop star to fashion designer.
But just in case everyone isn't ready, he's gonna ease fans into the transition with the help of one of his good friends, Hype Williams, who will be directing each of the videos from the album, including the clip for lead single "Angels," which is being released virally Tuesday morning (September 8).
"I didn't wanna overwhelm people with that part of it [me singing]," Diddy explained to MTV News. "I got with a director, Hype Williams. I think I knew I had to confront that issue head on. We know this community. We know the community we've been making records for. We know how it feels when you have an uncle or a brother and they coming to Thanksgiving dinner and they done lost 100 pounds. They got a brand-new suit on, they got some new teeth in their mouth. It's startling, it's too much at one time."
Williams' visuals, according to Diddy, will help shape the concept the "Making His Band" mastermind is hoping to deliver with the album, a love story that coincides with a redemptive journey from London to the City of Lights.
"We said we gonna keep the lights dim a little bit, 'cause the song is not about that," Diddy said, referring to his vocals. "I'm definitely not the greatest singer in the world. It took me two weeks to do the song, straight up. It took me two weeks to get the song right. It's really supposed to be an expression. It's supposed to be the way your soul sounds. Not the way R. Kelly or Chris Brown sound, Mario, Trey Songz. It's supposed to be a very vulnerable emotional experience. I think we were able to capture that in the video and do it outta the box."
The video is a black-and-white portrait of Diddy and his assembled group, Dirty Money, throughout various locations in New York City, particularly the Bronx's St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church. Diddy said he and Williams drew on raw images for the clip to convey the emotion of the song, admitting the scaled-back film might be a risk, but he's hoping for an impact. "It doesn't make sense for me, or any other artist who has been in the game after 10 years, if you been in this for over 10 years and you not taking risks, your ass should stay at home," he said.
Diddy said his moves on his album are an indication of his willingness to push himself as an artist. The work might not win awards, but if he's lauded for his artistic push of the genre then he sounds like he'd be fine with that. He'll create a new award for himself.
"I'm out here butt-naked with this one, jack," he said of the new project. "I've taken a lot of risks with doing Broadway, doing the marathon, this one here — it's strange the way the game works. I've taken pride that when it's all said and done, I may get the Risk Taker of the Year award. I don't know what other award I'll get. I may get [that]. With that comes success and consequences. That's the best ride to be on."