When MTV News flipped on the camera to document [artist id=”3217246″]Diddy-Dirty Money’s[/artist] promotional grind for Last Train to Paris on Tuesday, the Bad Boy CEO was firmly in mogul mode, typing away on his smartphone as he sat in an SUV ready to hit the town with MTV News’ Sway for a daylong “RapFix Live” interview. But with Paris, the debut effort from Diddy-Dirty Money, on shelves, the businessman has to juggle the demands of both an artist and an executive — a type of multitasking he revealed he has not done for a long time.
“I’ve just been so taken aback just by how it’s been received. I’m not used to being on that side,” Diddy said.
The frontman also added that he feels vindicated by the positive reviews Paris has been scoring, despite dealing with critical side-eyes since the project was first announced. “I don’t think you’re an artist until people start looking at you like you’re crazy,” he said. “It’s been a couple years of people looking at me like I’m crazy, and I think that’s one of the things all the interviews and reviews have admitted. ’Yeah, we thought he was crazy with the concept, but he proved to be right.’ ”
When the ladies of Dirty Money, Dawn Richard and Kalenna Harper, entered the vehicle, the singers focused on the exhilaration of finally having the project available to the masses. “I’m so excited, Sway. It’s crazy,” Harper said. “We just keep staring at each other like, ’We did it!’ ”
When their Swizz Beatz-assisted track “Ass on the Floor” pumps through the speakers from New York’s Hot 97, it’s obvious how amped they are, bopping to the beat and spitting the lyrics. Even though Diddy isn’t new to the artist game, he maintained that the thrill of hearing his track hit the airwaves never goes away.
Even with stacks of hits behind him, Diddy revealed that he still has a superstition he sticks to for every drop date.
“You gotta buy 10 copies of your own album. It’s, like, something I’ve always done every year, for good luck,” he said. “It’s like [when] you vote. You vote for yourself, right?”
The convoy arrived at Best Buy in New York’s Union Square a little while later, and staying true to his tradition, Diddy strolled down the aisles to find the Dirty Money records and picked out a stack. But the “Coming Home” rapper said the practice isn’t limited to artists, saying to fans, “You could buy 10 too. You could join in.” The star also urged gawking shoppers to throw down some cash in between posing for photos with fans.
For some, a job where the boss is constantly around may be stressful, but Harper maintained that she appreciated having instant access to Diddy’s years of expertise and input. Richard added that being an integral part of the boss’ pet project also means it gets top priority.
“It’s also dope because you know that the product will not go in vain because it’s the CEO and it’s his project,” she said. “You know that it’s gonna be 10 times more pushed because it is his baby.”
Richard also added that the creative breadth of Paris, which ropes in everything from slinky house to jangly electro, afforded the ex-Danity Kane diva more creative freedom.
“This is my third album, and having to conform so much in pop culture and people saying, ’Oh, your voice isn’t this’ and ’Your voice isn’t that,’ it was really refreshing to be able to do what I felt and be the tone [I wanted] and Kalenna to be able to sing the way we wanted to sing,” she explained.
“I have a more rock/pop sound, but I do it over more hip-hop stuff. That was just something I didn’t feel like I had to conform [to] at all,” Harper said. “I just sounded like I sounded.”
Later, the promo train headed back to the Bad Boy headquarters, where the trio got on a conference call with media outlets. When one journalist asked Diddy to respond to snipes that he’s no longer relevant, the star was quick with a retort.
“They better turn on the TV, man, and walk outside and breathe some air. I’m like air, baby,” he said. “If I ain’t relevant, then who is?”
The mogul later dropped in on an artist whose relevance in 2010 hasn’t really been contested: Justin Bieber . The teen sensation was working on some new music when Diddy stopped by to officially appoint him a member of the Dirty Money family, gifting him with a black-and-white “DM” letterman’s jacket.
The mogul also hooked him up with the official “swag walk” of the Dirty Money crew, coolly instructing Bieber how to stroll and use his free hand for “pushin’ the hate back, ’cause there’s a lot of hate sometimes.”
Proving he’s a quick study, Bieber suavely bopped along behind Diddy, pushing back the hate like a Dirty Money pro.
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