There is no denying Diddy in any way, shape, or form. The man is one of the most-driven people in history, period. A keen eye for marketing and talent, Diddy made his dreams into a reality and was a multimillionaire before the age of twenty-five. While Diddy has experienced success on every level, the same cannot be said for his Bad Boy Records. Bad Boy Records has been the home of many successful artists and has made history, but there has been years of struggle, also.
The difference between Bad Boy Records and a Def Jam, for example, has been consistency. Even when Def Jam is struggling, as it is now, the label remains in the headlines (Rick Ross). But, Bad Boy Records has been irrelevant for some time, even when Diddy is in the headlines, as he has promoted many business ventures over the years. Def Jam enjoyed the longevity of LL Cool J and when his popularity declined, there were artists, such as Public Enemy, Jay-Z, and others to take up the role of flagship artist.
The harsh truth about Bad Boy Records is that the label has struggled to keep its stars. Even if The Notorious B.I.G. had not died, he had plans to retiring by 2000 and starting his own record label. Unfortunately, that dream never became reality, due to his death in Los Angeles. Following B.I.G., Mase was thrust into the role of flagship artist, experiencing tremendous success. Right when Mase prepared to really put a stranglehold on the game, he suddenly retired and became a preacher, leading a church in Atlanta.
Once Mase was gone, Shyne was appointed the new Bad Boy flagship artist, also experiencing success in his early days. But, months after the release of his debut album, Shyne was arrested in the New York City nightclub, alongside Diddy and Jennifer Lopez, with the rest being history. Loon was the next artist who was given the reigns at Bad Boy Records, his debut album managed to go gold, but he was forgotten within a year of the release. Soon, the focus was on Bad Boy South, as 8Ball & MJG were signed to the label, along with the Atlanta group, Boyz N Da Hood, which boasted Young Jeezy, and Yung Joc soon emerged as the standout on the label.
Yung Joc had a successful year, in 2006, led by his hit single, “It’s Goin’ Down” and he released his next album in 2007. After the release of his second album, Yung Joc began negotiating to end his contract with Bad Boy Records. Meanwhile, Diddy was focused on putting together his TV shows, movies, and clothing lines. In 2009, Diddy announced a renewed focus on Bad Boy Records, with Red Cafe being signed, and then Bad Boy being moved to Interscope Records. Still, nearly three years have passed and the ball has just been placed in motion on Red Cafe’s project.
French Montana has built solid buzz through his mixtapes. The run he is on can be compared to 50 Cent’s run ten years ago, as the streets are behind French Montana. It was a no-brainer for Bad Boy Records to pursue him, as Diddy wants to take over the game, one more time. Given his buzz, French Montana will obviously become the new flagship artist at Bad Boy. He will have big shoes to fill, as the label has several multiplatinum hits under its belt from B.I.G., Mase, and even Diddy. Unlike the previous artists who have been selected to become flagship artists, French Montana also comes with his own label, Cocaine City Records.
While Bad Boy Records does have a reputation of selling platinum albums, no artist has released more than five albums with the label, with the exception of Diddy, who is a Bad Boy artist by default. Right now, the buzz is big for French Montana and he has a solid fan base. His album is due for a July release and there are sure to be more mixtapes on the way. But, will French Montana stand the test of time and remain with Bad Boy Records? He said he eventually signed with Bad Boy because they are the hometown team, a record label based in New York City, also because of Diddy’s connections and the budget he was willing to give out.
But, will all of this keep French Montana on Bad Boy Records for the long-haul?