Puff Daddy Plans New LP; Takes On Hollywood

A second album to follow his smash debut and a movie role are among rap impresario's works in progress.

After striking platinum many times over with his first LP, which held the #1 spot on the

Billboard 200 albums chart for weeks earlier this year,

renaissance rapper Puff Daddy is not exactly ready to sit back and bask in his success.

With a new album already in the planning stages, a host of records set for release, a

movie in the works and another soundtrack to produce, the current king of the rap pack

seems to be pushing ever harder to expand his hip-hop empire.

As for the old sophomore slump, Puff Daddy (born Sean "Puffy" Combs) said he has no

fear.

"I have started thinking about my second album. I'm not overly concerned about a

sophomore slump at this point," the 28-year-old rapper/producer/executive said of his

planned follow-up to 1997's No Way Out. Puff Daddy's comments came during a

SonicNet online chat on Thursday.

As far as Puff Daddy is concerned, he's all about making music.

"My goal is to make people happy by making great music. I make music for a lot of

people to hear it. I can make you dance in the most hard-core club to the most pop club,"

Puff Daddy said. "That is my job, that is what I do."

In his role as CEO of multimedia company Bad Boy Entertainment, Puff Daddy, who first

gained acclaim as a producer, is set to oversee a spate of new releases by such hip-hop

artists as Faith Evans (widow of the rap mogul's pal, the late hip-hop giant Notorious

B.I.G.), scheduled to drop Oct. 28. Other projects he is behind include Total, 112 and

such newcomers as Jerome Childress, Tanya Blunt, Carl Thomas and Shine, who are all

readying albums of their own.

It's all good for hip-hop, Puff Daddy maintained, adding that rap continues to move

forward and make a difference to music and the world.

Although hip-hop has been rocked recently by a series of arrests of some high-profile

artists, including Wu-Tang Clan's Ol' Dirty Bastard, Fat Joe, Big Punisher and Noreaga,

as well as recent accusations that Fugees rapper Wyclef Jean pulled a gun on a

magazine editor, Puff Daddy holds that these types of incidents are not indicative of a

larger problem in hip-hop.

"I think personally that those are all isolated incidents. I can't comment on each

individual situation, although I don't think it is representative of hip-hop as a whole," Puff

Daddy said. "I don't think hip-hop has ever had an outlaw mentality. I think hip-hop is like

rock 'n' roll. [It] is a rebellious and aggressive music at times, but the music is a reflection

of society."

Not content with his role as a rap impresario, Puff Daddy said he has loaded up a full

plate of projects for the rest of '98 and the coming year, including working with his

"Daddy's House Social Program" charity for children, expanding his chain of Justin's

restaurants, putting his stamp on a recently purchased magazine called "Notorious,"

producing the soundtrack to the upcoming movie "The Faculty" and taking on an acting

role in the Oliver Stone-directed film "On Any Given Sunday."

As Puff Daddy continues to stake his claim on the hip-hop world, many artists, such as

Prince Be (born Attrell Cordes) from PM Dawn, look on in awe.

"I'm so happy for Puffy. Every time I see that boy I'm like, 'He's winning!' Puffy's got the

baton right now and he's doing his thing," Prince Be said. "With PM Dawn we just sort-of

wanted to be a lot more like experimental ... Puffy is just sort-of being Puffy. That's one of

the reasons I like Puffy. He doesn't lie to himself and say, 'I'm trying to be a real serious

musician.' He says, 'I'm trying to make you dance.' And you know what happens when a

Puffy record comes on -- you dance!"

While he is apparently busy keeping his own empire strong, Puff Daddy offered high

praise for fellow rap mogul Master P as a peer in the industry.

"I really like what Master P and the No Limit camp is doing," Puff Daddy said. "He, like

myself, proves that young black entrepreneurs can be successful in this business without

conforming to traditional rules. I completely respect what he's doing and I'm happy to be

considered in the same company along with him."

But Puff Daddy also deflected criticism from detractors who claim his sample-laden

music -- which includes work with Led Zeppelin veterans Jimmy Page and Robert Plant

on the "Kashmir" update

HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Puff_Daddy/Come_With_Me-

Featuring_Jimmy_Page.ram">"Come With Me" (RealAudio excerpt) and with

Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl and ex-Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson on the

all-star jam "It's All About the Benjamins" -- relies too heavily on the sampling crutch.

"I don't pay attention to the critics, I pay attention to the fans. If you look at the volume of

music I have created, sampling isn't dominating the music I create," he said.

"Music without samples is not necessarily old school," Puff Daddy added. "Again, I do

make music without samples. I will continue to make music with and without samples."