But recently, his tweets have been devoted to one topic in particular: Last Train to Paris, his fifth studio LP, which also marks the debut of his new group, Diddy Dirty Money. The band, featuring singers Dawn Richard and Kalenna Harper, gives Diddy the chance to play on a team for a change.
“I’ve said everything I could say as a solo artist, so I didn’t want tomake a whole album with just me,” he tells SPIN.com. “I wouldn’t even want to buy an albumwith just me.”
Diddy spent three years prepping the record, which chronicles the ups and downs of his love life and is sonically influenced by Euro-flavored club tunes. (Check out the video for their steamy single “Ass on the Floor” below.)
The album even gets a boost from fashion honchos Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, and Anna Wintour, who lend spoken-word parts between songs. “A lot of the experiences on the album happened during Paris Fashion Week, so I wanted these people to hear the music first,” says Diddy. “Thankfully, they loved it enough to be a part of it.”
Diddy Dirty Money is kind of a tongue twister.
Yeah, it is. We just call it Dirty Money; we only added the Diddy so people won’t be confused. I’m always changing my name and people are getting tired of it. We wanted to simplify it so if someone goes into the record store and asks for Diddy’s new album, they’ll know where to find it.
Where’d you come up with the name? Is the money ‘dirty’ as in laundered?
Nah, nah, nothing illegal. I’ve always wanted my own cool group name, like My Chemical Romance, or Silversun Pickups, or Green Day. I came up with Dirty Money back in 2005 when we were in a strip club in Jacksonville, Florida, during the Superbowl. People heard I was there, and all of a sudden so many people came in that I had to rush outside to my truck. I was sitting there with a bunch of money and I was like, “Damn, this is some dirty money.” A light bulb went off that day.
Why did you decide to form a group versus going solo?
I’ve always been better on a team, whether it’s things I did with Biggie or Rick Ross. I wanted to tell the Last Train to Paris story in a sexy, urgent, passionate, dangerous way, and I needed the female perspective for that. I’ve always been a big fan of [British R&B trio] Loose Ends, which was two guys and a girl. I looked in the marketplace and there were no groups with two girls and a guy, so I put one together.
Have you ever been on a train to Paris?
I’ve been on the actual last train to Paris on the Eurostar.
So this album is based on real-life experiences?
It’s about different pieces of different relationships I’ve had, and my unsuccessful love life. That was the concept of the album: to talk about something that’s been my Kryptonite.
I find it hard to believe you’ve been unlucky in love.
I’m not saying I’ve had bad luck, but I haven’t yet won the championship, you know what I’m saying? I’ve had great experiences and I’ve been blessed for the people that God has brought into my life, but in some instances I could’ve done better, and in some instances they could’ve done better.
Ever thought about going on a dating site like Match.com?
I don’t think that’s really gonna work for me. I got it in God’s hands, and I’d rather let him do what he’s supposed to do.
On your song “Shades,” there’s a lyric about making love on top of marmalade. Have you ever actually done that?
Um, I used it in a way. I wouldn’t say on it, but I will say that I’ve used some marmalade.
What’s the craziest place you’ve had sex?
In the middle of the football field at Mount Vernon High, where I went to school. I was a teenager.
Your album is coming out just weeks after Kanye’s. What do you think of his?
I love it. This and 808s and Heartbreak are my favorite albums of his. I’m probably one of the biggest Kanye fans out there. I’m not afraid to say that I get inspiration from everybody: Kanye, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Beyonce, Pink, Justin Bieber. Still, I want to be clear – there’s only one Puff Daddy, now and forever.
You’ve had pretty good staying power so far.
It’s a tribute to hard work and reinvention and evolving. When I became an artist, I wasn’t really prepared; I got thrown into it because of the tragic situation with Biggie. I knew it was something I wanted to do, but I wasn’t trying to do it at that level yet. I feel like I’m in my most artistic phase right now.
Any plans for the holidays?
I’m gonna have my first vacation ever, 10 days, and I’m gonna spendtime with my kids, sleep, and drink water. I’m also getting ready topromote my album at the top of 2011. Hopefully I can get on the road byspring and present it live.
What’s your biggest extravagance on the road?
Well, there are two things I must bring with me every time: American Heinz ketchup, because it tastes different overseas, and Hellman’s mayonnaise. When I’m overseas, I like to eat cheeseburgers because that’s one thing it’s hard to fuck up, except if the beef isn’t right. And everybody knows how to make french fries. So as long as I have the right ketchup and mayonnaise, I’m alright.
You’re really active on Twitter. Do you have a ghost-tweeter?
I write my own. I must tweet at least 200 times a day. The past couple weeks have been heavy promo for the album, so it’s probably obnoxious and irritating. Usually, I just tweet random sayings, like when I’m having Tantric sex, when it’s cold out, when my feet hurt. That’s what you get when you follow me.
I’ve been reading up, and you seem to say “let’s goooooo!” a lot. Is that your new catchphrase?
That’s kinda old. I’ve always said, “let’s go.” To be honest, I have a new catchphrase I’m about to introduce when I get off the phone with you. It’s called, “let’s win,” as in, Last Train to Paris, in stores now…let’s win!”
Diddy Dirty Money’s “Ass on the Floor”