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Diddy Reflects on Hip-Hop Career at Noisemakers

A reflective Diddy was last night’s guest at Peter Rosenberg’s Noisemakers series, answering questions about his musical and business successes over the years. The entrepreneur seemed at ease on the stage at New York’s 92YTribeca community center, as he joked around and provided particularly illuminating stories about his work with Notorious B.I.G. and how he essentially invented what we know as the “remix” of popular songs.

Diddy talked at length about Biggie, explaining that he first saw a picture of him in The Source’s ‘Unsigned Hype’ column, but was fully convinced after hearing a particularly amazing demo tape. “I didn’t care if he was purple,” he said, laughing. “I just knew that he was gonna be a superstar. I also knew he was gonna be a sex symbol.”

He also revealed some interesting tiffs that the two had over some of B.IG.’s more violent and religiously offensive lines on ‘Ready to Die.’ Diddy thought it was a bit too much to end the record with a figurative suicide and could tarnish the album’s lighter moments. But, B.I.G. had become an assured artist and explained that rather than a personal depression, he was commenting on the levels of strife that he saw everyday in Brooklyn.

When asked about ‘Flava in Ya Ear,’ one of the more beloved New York posse cuts, Diddy explained that he created the modern form of the remix with this record by finding the hottest beat and letting every applicable MC on the track to test his skills. He seemed proud about his older work and explained that he continues to try to make records feel like events for the public.

At the evening’s conclusion, Diddy noted that he will feel fulfilled when others can run all of his various businesses with minimal supervision — a goal that should get him some long-coveted free time. “My personal life has suffered from trying to be the best I could be,” he admitted. “I have a plan for the future, but right now it’s all about rebuilding and figuring out what’s needed musically.” He even revealed that he had started meditating yesterday morning for the first time.

Surprisingly, that was as far as Diddy went with the self-promotion and marketing. He was refreshingly informative and mellow throughout the evening, delivering the most illuminating interview he’s given about hip-hop in years.

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