Sean Diddy Combs is one of the most successful artists in hip-hop and his entrepreneurial spirit has taken him to ventures that go far beyond rapping or dancing. He has initiated successful ventures in beverages, fashion, media, restaurants, fragrances, and others to create an empire estimated by Forbes to be in excess of $800 million.
He speaks about how the events of his early childhood shaped his outlook on life and how he hustled his way through and created opportunities for himself where others only saw obstacles.
He created the opportunity to work for Uptown Records without being paid a penny just to learn from his soon to be mentor Andre Harrell who owned the company. Within a couple of years he would be head of artist development by the age of 22.
He reveals a number of keys that led to his early success
1. He listened to what was going on in the environment and soaked it all up
2. He worked in an industry that he loved and could afford to be in that environment without any additional pressure
3. He took advantage of an opportunity and asked for more responsibility. This led to him working with soon to be successful artists such as Mary J. Blige and Jodeci.
In 1993 after he was fired from Uptown Records for his hubris, he launched his company Bad Boy Records, and began a joint venture relationship Arista Records and the iconic music executive Clive Davis. This era with Diddy and Davis helped to launch the careers of The Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, Maria Carey, SWV, and many others.
In addition to producing for other artists he launched his own career as an artist in 1997 with his debut album ‘No Way Out’ and it sold over 7 million units and won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. Featured on that album there was two of his most famous singles titled ‘Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down’ and ‘Its All About the Benjamins’ His success and style led to criticisms about his credibility as a genuine artist. This criticism was absorbed into a larger conflict between east coast rappers and west coast rappers, and as a result two of the most talented rappers Tupac Shakur (1971-1996) and Biggie Smalls (1972-1997) would both be killed within months of each year.
In 1998 Diddy launched a fashion lifestyle company called Sean John. The company has achieved success since its launch and has made acquisitions and investments into other fashion companies.
He has continued his ventures with partnerships with CÎROC, Mark Wahlberg, Dallas Mavericks, Ronald Burke and others as his influence and reach grows.
There are a number of new ventures planned and Diddy is well on course to become hip-hop’s first billionaire.
Sean Diddy Combs on CNBC’s The Big Idea
Entrepreneur: Sean Diddy Combs
Twitter: Diddy on Twitter
Presenter: Donny Deutsch