Sean "Puffy" Combs biography
Born in Harlem, New York, on November 4, 1969, Sean Combs launched his music production company, Bad Boy Entertainment, in 1993, and worked with artists like Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige and Biggie Smalls. After Biggie was murdered in 1997, Combs recorded the tribute "I'll be Missing You," which topped the Billboard singles chart for six weeks and launched Combs's first album, No Way Out (1997) to platinum status.
Singer, songwriter and producer Sean John Combs was born on November 4, 1969, in Harlem, New York. Raised by his mother, a model, after his father was murdered in 1974, Sean Combs grew up in Mt. Vernon, New York, and attended a Catholic boys school in the Bronx. He earned the nickname "Puffy" in high school because of his habit of puffing out his chest to make his body seem bigger. Combs would later take on other monikers, including "Puff Daddy," "P. Diddy" and "Diddy."
Sean "Puffy" Combs majored in business administration at Howard University, producing weekly dance parties and running an airport shuttle service while attending classes. He dropped out to pursue an internship at Uptown Records, which led to a talent director position. Combs rapidly rose to the level of vice president and had success producing several key artists for Uptown, but left the company in the early 1990s.
In 1993, Combs started his own production company, Bad Boy Entertainment, working with such upcoming and established rap, hip-hop, and R&B recording artists as Mariah Carey, New Edition, Method Man, Babyface, TLC, Boyz II Men, Lil' Kim, SWV, Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans and Biggie Smalls. In 1996, Combs was named as ASCAP's "Songwriter of the Year." By 1997, Bad Boy Entertainment had sold nearly $100 million in recordings, and made a multimillion-dollar deal with Arista Records for management of the label.
After his friend, Biggie Smalls, was murdered in 1997, Combs recorded the tribute "I'll be Missing You," which topped the Billboard singles chart for six weeks and launched Combs's first album, No Way Out (1997), to platinum status. Nielsen SoundScan named No Way Out as the third best-selling LP of 1997, with more than 3.4 million copies sold in the United States.
Combs released his second album, Forever, in 1999. That same year, his recently launched clothing line, Sean John, debuted in America.
In December 1999, Combs and his then-girlfriend, actress and singer Jennifer Lopez, were allegedly involved in a shooting incident at a New York City nightclub, where three people were injured. Combs was later charged with four counts of illegal gun possession and one count of bribery; prosecutors claimed that he offered his driver, Wardel Fenderson, $50,000 to say that the loaded gun police had found at the scene of the crime was Fenderson's. His trial began in late January 2001.
On March 16, 2001, Combs was cleared of all charges, as was his bodyguard, Anthony "Wolf" Jones.
Combs's protégé, the young rapper Jamal "Shyne" Barrow—who was accused of firing wildly inside the nightclub and injuring the three bystanders—was found guilty of assault, reckless endangerment and criminal weapon possession, but was cleared of the more serious charge of attempted murder.
In 2002, Combs released We Invented the Remix followed by Bad Boy’s 10th Anniversary...The Hits in 2004. Though his Bad Boy music label was seriously slumping, it found new life with Combs's 2006 release Press Play, which featured Brandy, Mary J. Blige and Timbaland.
Combs branched into reality television with the premiere of his VH1 series I Want to Work for Diddy in August 2008.