If you were around during the days that Diddy went by the name of Puff Daddy, you probably remember that he got the world jiggy with it. Indeed, during the second half of the 90s, Bad Boy Records dominated the music industry with a constant flow of hits that took dancefloors and radio stations by storm. And, with extravagant videos that featured lots of explosions and shiny suits, Diddy’s protégés dominated TV airwaves as well.
However, behind the colorful facade, some shady dealings were happening and rumors about Diddy’s treatment of artists were circulating. As the years went by, a ridiculous number of Bad Boy artists many artists ended up broke, dead at a young age, or in jail for a long time. Furthermore, an inordinate number of artists who worked with Diddy quit the industry and dedicated their lives to religion. What happened? What did they witness?
These bizarre events led some to talk about the “Bad Boy curse”. Here’s a look at the bizarre fate of some of Bad Boy Records artists.
Craig Mack was the first artist signed with Bad Boy Records. His 1994 single Flava In Ya Ear went on to become the first hit record of the label which helped lay its foundations for years to come.
While Mack’s career appeared to be on the up-and-up, it went down very quickly. Some might even say that his career was cursed from the start.
The main reason: Diddy discovered The Notorious B.I.G. (who would become one the greatest rappers of all time) and pushed Craig Mack to the side.
To make matters worse, Craig Mack’s physical appearance became an issue: He was constantly the butt of “ugly” jokes in hip-hop media, and that followed him throughout his entire life.
Furthermore, Mack was reluctant in embracing Diddy’s vision for radio-friendly rap. As a result, his first album Funk Da World contained several tracks that were decidedly uncommercial such as When God Comes – a sobering track that scolds the sinful ways of his generation. Here’s a part of the second verse:
I watched the earth’s cheese line get longer,
I watch allegiance to Satan’s army gettin’stronger
I watched drugs and guns take control
I even watched how the devil take the Black woman’s soul
They ain’t got respect no more
When your a*s on the camera you ain’t nothing but a wh*re
Ladies you need to help out your man
Instead of frontin’ at the club with a drink in your hand
The Black family is now pre-history
And we don’t need psychic healing from Dionne Warwick
We all need to be down on our knees beggin’ please
Lord help us shake this disease
And MC’s don’t take these rhymes for a joke
Craig Mack pen is mightier than the sword you stroke
So take heed to the words that I send
‘Cause on Judgement Day every man must attend
After spending a few years dwelling in the basement of Bad Boy Records, Craig Mack finally split from the label in 1997. After a few failed attempts at coming back in the industry, Mack disappeared from the rap world for good.
In 2012, Craig Mack remerged in a video posted by the Overcomer Ministry – A secluded Christian community in South Carolina that was described as a “cult” by ex-members. Here’s a video of Craig Mack at the Ministry.
While Craig Mack’s faith appears to be sincere, the leader of the Ministry, Brother R G Stair, was arrested on several charges including touching young girls (this video is damning proof).
In the following years, Craig Mack’s health degraded radically and he was sometimes seen walking around with a cane.
In 2018, Craig Mack passed away at the age of 47 due to heart failure in South Carolina, near the Overcomer Ministry.
From 1996 to 1999, Mase dominated the charts, and his first album Harlem World went quadruple platinum. Following this enormous success, Mase shocked the hip-hop world by announcing his retirement to become a pastor.
On April 20, 1999, during an interview with Funkmaster Flex on New York radio station Hot 97, Mase announced his retirement from music to pursue a “calling from God”. He claimed he was “leading people, friends, kids and others down a path to hell”, stating that he left to find God in his heart and follow him. He said it was time for him to serve God in “his” way, saying rap was not real, and that he wanted to deal with reality and had become unhappy with what he did, no matter how much money it had made him.
– Wikipedia, Mase
At the time, Mase’s retirement raised a lot of questions. What made him leave the music industry?
The speculation regarding Mase’s sudden departure from Bad Boy stirred up a storm of controversy. “How do you have a 19-year-old rapper named Mase who decides one day to wake up and say, ‘You know what, I wanna get outta this sh*t and be a minister?’ ” a former Combs disciple told the Voice.
In 1999, Mase, whose real name is Mason Betha, quit Bad Boy Entertainment and announced the formation of S.A.N.E. Ministries (the acronym stands for Saving A Nation Endangered). He now calls himself Minister Mase “after a soul-stirring vision from God.” Indeed, at the height of his popularity, owing to the success of his Harlem World album, Mase reportedly told one radio interviewer: “Tupac [who was killed in Las Vegas in 1996] heard the call and he didn’t heed the warning. Biggie heard it; he didn’t heed it. I’m no fool.”
Some still have doubts as to why Mase left. “Puffy does not let people out of their contract so easily,” claims a Bad Boy insider. “He had Mase under contract for a long time. You let somebody walk into your office and say, ‘I don’t want to be under contract no more,’ and you just say, ‘Okay, go ahead’? I think Mase had something over him, some little secret that Puffy did not want to get out, and he used it as a bargaining chip to get out of that record deal.”
Going S.A.N.E. may have saved Mase’s life. “If anybody who wants to do something to you, they’ll think twice,” the insider asserts. “When you’re with the Lord, they think twice about doing you stuff. Think about it. He’s the only one who got out on top.”
– Village Voice, The ‘Bad Boy Curse’
What “little secret” did Mase have on Puffy?
In 1998, several record labels were trying to sign rapper Shyne due to the buzz he generated in New York. Diddy was one of them, and he pursued him aggressively. The result: He offered the rapper millions of dollars, three cars of his choice, and two homes just for signing.
After joining Bad Boy Records, people close to Shyne saw a change in his demeanor. James Barnes, a friend of Shyne recalls the transformation:
“I said to myself, ‘Damn! That’s sad. This is what happens to young people. This is a child in a candy store.’ ” Barnes felt that Barrow (Shyne) had fallen victim to the Bad Boy Curse. He noticed that he hung out with a different crowd. “The people I saw around him were not Shyne loyalists. He just seemed to evolve into this monster.”
Shortly after signing with Bad Boy, one of Shyne’s close friends died in an accident. Shyne’s reaction was bizarre.
Shortly after he had signed with Bad Boy, Barrow (Shyne) was involved in a tragic car accident that killed one of his childhood friends. According to the story, Barrow, two of his closest friends, and a cousin, were driving home to Brooklyn after partying at a nightclub in Manhattan. They were all drunk. Their Mercedes-Benz crashed, fatally injuring one of the teenagers. “Shyne basically came out of the accident with scratches,” Barnes recalls. “But the word on the street was, ‘Yo, Shyne is messed up! Heard how he was acting at his boy’s funeral; he was just laughing and talking.’ There was this terrible story in the street about how he just seemed so indifferent.”
Then, the Bad Boy curse kept on giving. Shortly before the release of his first album, Shyne, Diddy, and his then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez were involved in a shooting incident at a Manhattan club which resulted in three people being injured. Shyne was later convicted of attempted murder, assault, and reckless endangerment and was sentenced to ten years in prison. Diddy was acquitted (Shyne would later imply that Diddy ratted him out to avoid jail).
While incarcerated, Shyne began studying Judaism with rabbis and legally changed his name to Moses Michael Levi Barrow. In 2009, Shyne was released from jail and got deported to his native Belize. He formally converted to Orthodox Judaism in Jerusalem in 2010.
Since then, Shyne mostly stayed away from the music industry. In 2020, he was elected to the Belize House of Representatives.
Loon released his first album with Bad Boy Records in 2003. One year later, he left the label and started his own company, Boss Up Entertainment.
In 2008, after a trip to Abu Dhabi, Loon converted to Islam.
Born Chauncey Lamont Hawkins, he officially changed his name to Amir Junaid Muhadith after traveling to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest site of Islam, to perform Umrah. After having converted to Islam, he subsequently ended his music career and would later relocate to Egypt where he lived until 2011.
– Wikipedia, Loon
Despite attempting to turn his life around, Loon ended up in jail. Some claim that he was innocent.
On November 22, 2011, Hawkins was arrested while on a trip to Brussels. He was extradited to the United States in May 2012 and was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment in July 2013 for conspiracy with intent to traffic one or more kilograms of heroin. Many reports have advocated for and confirmed his innocence.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic effects in prison centers, Hawkins was granted early release on July 29, 2020.
All of the artists mentioned above have one point in common: They were signed with Diddy. And nearly all of them ended up hating and resenting him.
But what’s the reason? First, nearly every artist who signed with Diddy ended up complaining about signing a “slave contract”. Despite their commercial success, several Bad Boy artists ended up poor.
Financial exploitation aside, there are some strange yet persistent rumors regarding Diddy. The main one: He “flirts” aggressively with male artists. In recent years, famous rappers such as 50 Cent and Xzibit shared some stories regarding Diddy’s tendencies. There’s also this bizarre video where Diddy talks about the time a 10-year-old Usher came to live in his house for a year.
In 2017, during the show Drinking Champs, an inebriated Diddy appeared to be coming on rapper Fabolous. He even sang him “happy birthday” in a Marilyn Monroe-like manner while asking him when they could “party”.
The body language of Fabolous is telling: A rich and powerful man with connections is coming on to him but he can’t do anything about it because it could potentially destroy him. So he crouches, looking defeated.
And that’s where stories about Puffy become disturbing. It’s not about the fact that he’s possibly gay or bi – he would certainly not be the first one in the music industry. It’s about how he uses it to assert power and dominance over people.
In a shocking video posted on Instagram in 2020, R&B singer Jaguar Wright claimed that Diddy forced male artists to perform sexual acts on him “for power”.
Wright said that she had hired an entertainment lawyer around 2003 who had just left Bad Boy, withholding the attorney’s name for fear of retaliation. The lawyer confided in Wright and shared an unsettling story about her time at the label.
Wright said that Diddy had a meeting with singer and New Jack City actor Christopher Williams about possibly signing a demo deal. The attorney needed to get approval for some paperwork and went to Diddy’s office.
“The door wasn’t locked so she didn’t think twice about just walking in,” Wright said. “When she walked in, she saw Christopher Williams performing fellat*o on Puff.”
That was surely a surprising sight but it didn’t bother the lawyer so much as it embarrassed her. She played it cool until Diddy brought it up the next day. He was allegedly aggressive, asking her if she intended on telling anyone.
When she politely asked him why he hadn’t locked the door, he reportedly replied “I’ll do whatever the f*ck I want to do in my building.”
“It’s power, see,” Diddy purportedly told the lawyer. “If I could make a man suck my d*ck, I could make people do anything for money.”
– HNHH.com, Jaguar Wright Claims Diddy Forced Male Artist To Perform
After the release of this video, Diddy’s former bodyguard Gene Deal confirmed this story in a video. He stated:
“I know that for a fact because I was right there. He said, ‘yo Gene, watch the door and don’t let nobody come through. I said, I’ll watch the door and if I watched the door, and him and a man ran out naked and I said that, ain’t nobody told me that. I saw that myself. I’m telling you what I saw.”
In another video, Deal admitted that the things he saw while working for Diddy incited him to start praying and/or quote Scripture. He said:
“I’m the one who came out here, you know, to let ya’ll know, I’ve seen some of the ‘devil sh*t’”
Strangely enough, the word “devil” keeps popping up when discussing Diddy. Here’s the cover of a book written by ex-Bad Boy artist Mark Curry.
Maybe that’s why, after “dancing with the devil”, so many ex-artists ran to religion.
A ridiculous number of artists who signed with Bad Boy Records ended up broke, broken and traumatized. Some appear to have been framed by the law. Others died early. And others appear to have witnessed some unspeakable thing. Is this why so many artists turned to religion? Not only did the artists mentioned above became religious, but they also quit everything to dedicate their entires lives to religion. As if they were trying to escape something.
It is as if they’ve seen things that were so unholy that they felt the need to turn to God to recover some sanity. Even Diddy’s bodyguard claims that he turned to the Bible because he’s seen some “devil sh*t”.
Despite all of these allegations, Bad Boy Records is still around with artists such as French Montana, Janelle Monae, and Machine Gun Kelly.
Will they suffer from the Bad Boy curse?
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