Release Date: Nov 4, 2015
Record label: Bad Boy
"Don't be afraid to get old, man. " That's how Puff Daddy—as he will forever be known above all other monikers—begins "Big Homie," the severely underrated 2014 banger from last February that saw Sean Combs effortlessly flaunting his veteran status on a trap beat you'd typically expect from Rick Ross (who's featured, along with French Montana for intermittent "hannh" ad-lib purposes). The video has Puffy in several different regions, in their local spots ("I can go to any hood, bet they know me," Puff raps) flanked with a mix of A-list rappers ranging from fellow vets (Snoop Dogg) to relative newbies like A$AP Mob.
There are few characters in our culture that have stood the true test of time. You can probably count on one hand the amount of Hip Hop artists that have been consistent or even pertinent for 20 plus years. Obviously, the game has changed but nowadays, it seems as if artists are lucky if they get a summer’s worth of relevancy. With that said, you can’t bring up time-tested veterans without mentioning Diddy.
When an artist—especially an established one—releases a "mixtape," it's typically an album in all senses but the price tag. And free music is never a bad thing; it keeps news cycles busy and 7-Zip installed on your computer. But why did Puff Daddy release MMM as a mixtape? At 44 minutes and containing at least three great songs, with a concept to boot (MMM tangentially tells a story loosely based on the movie Paid in Full), it has enough weight and heft that it could have served as a direct sequel to Diddy Dirty Money's enduring 2010 album Last Train to Paris.
The last time Puff Daddy made a pure, uncut hip-hop album intended for car stereos instead of techno-fried dance floors was back in 2001 – before mixtapes like 50 Cent Is the Future made his big-budget rap albums unfashionable, and before YouTube made his big-budget music videos unnecessary. In those days, before he went by "Diddy," he was the rap mogul who got Sting to sing about the Notorious B.I.G. on the MTV Video Music Awards, who got Jimmy Page to remake "Kashmir" for a Hollywood Godzilla reboot, whose videos had speedboats and Dennis Hopper.