Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Birthdate: November 4, 1969
Famous Years: 1997 - Present
Currently Known For: Continued Production and Business Careers
|Networth: $900 Million||Famous For: Rapping and Music Production Careers|
November 4, 1969
1997 - Present
Continued Production and Business Careers
Rapping and Music Production Careers
Even with the likes of Jay-Z and Dr. Dre that started out in rap music and eventually moved onto business careers, there are still none as rich as Sean “Diddy” Combs. Combs is in a competition with the three to become the first billionaire in rap music, and has the slight edge right now thanks to nearly 30 years of having a strong sense of business.
Born on November 4, 1969, Combs was born in Manhattan where he spent his first couple of years before his father was murdered in his own car. After the tragedy, Combs’s mother packed up the family and moved to Mount Vernon, New York, where Combs would have a safer and more stable childhood away from the inner city.
Combs excelled in football where he earned his first nickname of “Puff”, and attended Howard University where he was in search of a business degree. However, Combs would leave the college after two years so that he could get a head start, working with Uptown Records. While there, Combs showed off that he had a mind for business and excelled at a young age, but was fired from the label in 1993. Perhaps he rose up the ranks too fast, as according to Combs, “I was fighting so hard. (Founder Andre Harrell) wanted to be more diplomatic and make sure everybody felt involved. Getting fired was one of the best things that could have happened to me.”
Now on his own, Combs would start up his own label that he dubbed Bad Boy Entertainment, and his first signing was a big one in the form of The Notorious B.I.G.. “Bad Boy, for me actually, I wanted to really shake up the industry as far as musically,” he said. “I wanted to integrate hip hop into R&B. We just made it more authentic to what was coming out and more disruptive. I was one of the early adapters of how to move it forward and how to own the music and own the culture and the lifestyle.”
After his quick success and the likes of Craig Mack also adding hit songs, Combs was able to expand his label to sign a lot of acts that would become the biggest names in music during the 1990s. Combs would eventually get involved in singing, as well, performing hit songs such as “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” and “I’ll Be Missing You” following the murder of his friend, B.I.G..
As a solo act, Combs would find success throughout the rest of the 1990s and was one of the leading sellers in all of music. While his brand wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea, Combs was still on top of the world even as he changed his rap name several times throughout the years. Combs has released just two albums since 2001, though he hasn’t really had to sing to pad his net worth these days.
What has helped Combs to become rich more than anything is his business acumen. He started to learn about business dealings when he was an intern at Uptown Records, and used that knowledge to help grow his own business. In 1998, Combs started the Sean John clothing line that became wildly popular, helping him to earn enough capital to start his own umbrella corporation to branch out into other businesses.
Outside of Sean John, Combs owns a large portion of the successful Ciroc vodka, has gotten into filmmaking and is also involved in beverages, and has been a restaurateur in the past. Talking about his business sense, Combs has said that “I started working very early at the age of 12 and have always had an entrepreneur mindset. My first job was a paper route. My next job was at a gas station...I have just worked hard all my life, and that is what I try to tell people - work as hard as you can, make your own opportunities.”
Even as his net worth gets close to $1 billion, Combs is still far from done with his many different careers. “I can’t say that I’ve fully achieved my dream yet,” he says. “I’m just starting to evolve...I want to have a cultural impact. I want to be an inspiration, to show people what can be done. I’ve always been a daydreamer...I was always looking at the hustle and bustle of people working. I wanted to work.”
Combs has also been involved in acting since becoming popular in the late 1990s, and has appeared in movies such as “Get Him to the Greek”, “Draft Day” and “A Raisin in the Sun”. Having won three Grammy Awards for his work and countless other trophies for all of his ventures, Combs is one of the biggest success stories of the past 30 years.
The 48 year old father of six has already built a legacy for himself and his family, and says that “I hope I’ll be remembered as someone who worked hard. I hope I leave an understanding, especially to my people, of what it takes to achieve your dreams...To inspire others and to show what is possible. I want my life to be about more than just fame or jewelry or parties. Hip hop has the power to change the world. I am here to lead by example.”