“I’m just checking in,” says a jovial Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, who within minutes will celebrate his 46th birthday. It’s past 11 p.m. on Tuesday night at Soho House in New York City, and the hip-hop mogul/entertainer has stopped at the halfway point of his sonic motion picture, MMM (Money Making Mitch), which drops today.
Like a good host, he asked everyone in the decadent screening room if we needed anything: Water (AQUAhydrate) or liquor (Ciroc). You know, just in case some people wanted refreshments after hearing the first set of visceral songs from MMM. “I’m going to let the music speak for itself,” he says, and then cues up the second portion of the album with the Future-assisted title track.
With signs prohibiting cell phones plastered all over the walls, Puff plays a final version of MMM in full. On “MMM,” Future delivers another standout hook where he repeatedly says “Money Making Mitch!” a few times before going into some flex-worthy phrases. Puff pauses and rewinds the record back because he wants everyone in the room to feel it. He instructs someone from his staff to turn off his film and dim the lights so we’re sitting in the dark. Like, you really need to visualize Puff and Future’s words. Everyone in the room yells when Puff talks his shit. The same reaction comes when Future spits some bars in double-time. This is going to certainly be a club pleaser before 2015 is over.
It was a constant theme in Puff’s presentation of MMM—to let the music stimulate your emotions. Before the screening, Puff, who wore an all-black Sean John tracksuit, tons of jewelry, and sipped from a gold bottle of Ace of Spades, explained how the concept of MMM materialized. It came from a “Netflix & Ciroc and Lemonade” night with his girl, where he decided to watch Paid in Full after years of reluctance. This was his “hater confession” to the room of about 90 people, including top-tier hip-hop journalists, executives from Epic Records and Bad Boy (L.A. Reid, Sylvia Rhone, Harve Pierre), Swizz Beatz, French Montana, and more.
“Money Making Mitch is this fairy tale about this fly ni**a from Harlem that came up and did his thing.”
Puff was immediately inspired by the film—even calling Dame Dash later that night to tell him he was a “genius” for creating a Shakespearian tale. It was then and there that he wanted to continue the story of Mitch.
“Money Making Mitch is this fairy tale about this fly ni**a from Harlem that came up and did his thing. He was shinin’ on them, stylin’ on them, showin’ them how to do it. Showin’ them how to get it,” he explains. “Maybe he was gettin’ it in the wrong way, but the fairy tale of it is most brothers and sisters end up dead or in jail.”
“But check this out with this fairy tale that I created. In my brain imagine if Mitch lived, survived, took those different talents and attributes and business skills and applied it to the world of business. Maned the game. The legal game. So this is the fairy tale man. And fairy tales do come true.”
Puffy wants MMM to be an experience that’s bigger than what he represents. The listeners are embarking in a world of culture and fashion colliding, and there are many examples of that in his film. This is the real New York, which was evident through local tours of neighborhoods in Harlem and the Bronx, as well as iconic spots like the Washington Square Arch and the Brooklyn Bridge. MMM was the soundtrack to Diddy’s New York, the place where he once sold drugs in Harlem to hustling in the music industry to become a multi-million dollar brand. The vibe is akin to the chemistry found on No Way Out; he’s gathered old family members and paired them with the new.
On MMM, you can expect production from Mario Winans and Sean C & LV, with features including The Lox (Jadakiss and Styles P), Lil’ Kim, French Montana, Big Sean, Ty Dolla $ign, Wiz Khalifa, Sevyn Streeter, Pusha T, Travis Scott, and King Los. “Workin” and “Auction,” two songs he premiered at the BET Hip-Hop Awards, will also appear on the album.
MMM, the prequel to his final album No Way Out 2, will be available for free on Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud. Just a couple minutes before midnight, Swizz Beatz got on the mic to share his appreciation for Puffy’s innovation and wish him a happy birthday. By then, the music had sunk in and everyone was enjoying it, so much that a Bad Boy chant led by Diddy hyped up the room when it was all over.
Swizz brought us back down to Earth with his speech. Fact: This is the same man who gave us the Notorious B.I.G. Fact: Ad libs were popularized because of him. Fact: The Hamptons and the White Party were made cool because of him. Swizz’ list could have gone all night, but his biggest point was Diddy didn’t have to make music anymore since he has set so many trends, dropped so many hits, and accomplished so much.
So why then? “I gotta do it ’cause I’m an artist,” declares Puff.
MMM is now available to stream and download.
2. “Harlem” feat. Gizzle
3. “Help Me” feat. Sevyn Streeter
4. “Everyday” feat. Jadakiss, Styles P, Pusha T, and Tish
5. “Auction” feat. Lil’ Kim, Styles P, and King Los
6. “MMM” feat. Future and King Los
7. “All or Nothing” feat. French Montana and Wiz Khalifa
8. “Workin” feat. Big Sean and Travis Scott
9. “Happily Ever After”
10. “You Could Be My Lover” feat. Ty Dolla $ign and Gizzle
11. “Uptown” feat. Brucie B
12. “Money Ain’t a Problem” feat. French Montana
13. “Blow a Check” – Zoey Dollaz feat. Puff Daddy and French Montana