I learned too late that you need just as good a brain to make a crooked million as an honest million. – Charles “Lucky” Luciano
As Sean “Diddy” Combs celebrates his 46th birthday today, the Bad Boy mogul is in a reflective mood. He’s been called many things throughout his 20-plus years in the music game. Genius. Thief. Pioneer. Hustler. While all these descriptions have validity, Puff’s focus on this project is the potential of others to follow in his footsteps.
The intro (“Facts”) lays out Diddy’s fantasy of the gangster gone legit, using his street smarts to navigate and succeed in the cutthroat world of “legitimate” capitalism. It’s the same dream The Wire’s Stringer Bell reached for in vain and one that, as Diddy admits, usually results in most being killed or serving lengthy prison terms. But in this dream, the gangster survives and enjoys the fruits of his labor.
As with any Diddy album, the project’s value rests on the strength of the writers and guest spots selected. The supporting cast is solid with strong verses from the likes of Pusha T (“Everyday”) and Wiz Khalifa (“All Or Nothing”). The luxury raps go best with big band production feel of “Auction,” and the orchestral melodies like “Everyday.” The trap-styled beats at kept to minimum (“Blow a Check”) since they really don’t fit the overall theme. And older fans are given some nods with Brucie B interlude and the Lost Boyz “Renee” sample on “Money Ain’t a Problem.”
Overall, MMM is a solid and brisk listen at nine full tracks. The only glaring dud is Future’s wasted guest spot on the plodding and lifeless title track.