It’s Bad Boy For Life? Artists Whose Talents Are/Were Wasted Under Bad Boy Records
Anyone that knows anything about Bad Boy Records knows that to say the name “Bad Boy” is to say it with a small (okay, maybe big) sense of disappointment. So many acts with so much talent have floundered under the recording label that was founded and is headed up by CEO Diddy. For the past few years, it seems that to be signed to Bad Boy Records is to be here one day, singing and dancing and smiling for the cameras (reality TV cameras too) and then find yourself in a pit of obscurity, back on your mother’s couch the next.
In an interview with DJ Whoo Kid recently, Diddy said a lot of the criticism of his label is just straight up hate:
“Over the last couple of years, there’s been a strong propaganda movement that’s been brewing in the negative sense against Bad Boy, against what it is to sign to the Bad Boy label, if it’s a detriment to your career,” Diddy said. “Just hate. Just regular hate and also a lot of people not understanding how this industry works. … This is not a PG-rated industry. If you’re weak, you’ll be eaten alive.”
Hey, I might be hater by his standards, but when you have to reassemble your entire roster every two years, do reality TV shows to find talent that you squander, and spend more time promoting your own musical efforts than that of your artists, it’s safe to say your formula isn’t working. With that, and Diddy’s recent proclamation that people with two eyes that can see a catastrophe are haters, check out our list of Bad Boy artists who could have done really big or bigger things…if they hadn’t or weren’t signed to Bad Boy.
DK was by far Diddy’s biggest success when it comes to using reality TV as a means to find talent. I mean, these chicks were the first girl group to have their first two albums debut at the top of the Billboard 200 charts. That’s a big thing! But despite all their good and hard work, rumors consistently surfaced that the women were having trouble in paradise, spending a lot of time worrying about outside activities (including Dawn Richard’s work on Diddy’s own album) that was creating a rift in the band. However, though the women returned for season 3 (Making the Band 4), it wasn’t their issues that broke them up, but Diddy. The Bad Boy CEO disapproved of the new image of member Aubrey O’Day, as well as her smart mouth, and cut member D.Woods for speaking up after O’Day was dropped from the group. You don’t talk back to Diddy, girls!
After those two ladies were kicked out of the group, Diddy later let all the members of the group out of their contracts, disbanding Danity Kane at the height of their popularity. In the end, only Dawn got to stick around, becoming a member of Diddy-Dirty Money, whose success with The Last Train to Paris wasn’t nearly as big as the numbers DK albums were pulling. What a waste of all these girl’s talents. They had pipes!
I used to LOVE Carl Thomas, and in fact, I still bump his platinum selling Emotional to this day. Thomas was the perfect act for Bad Boy, a strong R&B crooner who wasn’t caught up in group or rapping, but could still sell albums just off of good song writing and a wonderful voice. I first heard him doing his thing on the remix for Diddy & Mase’s “Been Around the World” way back when, but when he came out with Emotional, which featured hit singles such as I Wish, and Summer Rain, Thomas wasn’t a featured artist anymore–he was a star. But after the death of his step-brother around the release of his second album, Let’s Talk About It, Thomas took a sabbatical from music and didn’t do promotion for the new disc. Once he returned to the music scene in 2007, he was with a new label and putting out music under the radar. Why Bad Boy didn’t try to keep the talented singer on their label, I’ll never understand, but it possibly could have been because the direction they saw Thomas’ career going and the direction he wanted it to go were different. As the singer said in a recent interview about his time with the label, “I wanted what I wanted for my career and for myself before there was even a Bad Boy. My walk is my walk, and there walk is their walk.”
As great of a singer as Faith Evans is, and as long as she was on Bad Boy (a decade), stated as the first female act signed to the label, she should be a lot bigger success-wise than she is now. I mean, c’mon, Faith was a classic! But creating similar classics such as that album proved to be difficult for the red-headed singer, as she was discouraged numerous times not only by the death of B.I.G., but by the progress her albums were making in the studio. After releasing the album Faithfully in 2001 with the single “I Love You,” she ditched Bad Boy in 2004 after feeling that her album was not promoted well by the label, and that Diddy was too distracted with his many other business and music ventures to help take her career to the next level. When she jumped ship and went to Capitol to release the album, The First Lady, which was dropped in 2005, the album was her highest selling to date, hitting #2 on the Billboard 200. Interesting…
Why Monae is on Bad Boy in the first place…I have no clue. Maybe Diddy wanted to look like he was helping to produce a wide range of music, outside of the usual lovelorn R&B and hip-hop, because the pompadour-wearing singer is far left for his roster (in a very, VERY good way though). However, while you might usually find Diddy jumping on 106 & Park couches with his artists (like Cassie and Machine Gun Kelly…) and pushing them hard, the promotion and enthusiasm he shows for Monae’s work is usually lacking. The only time I’ve really seen him acknowledge her talents is after she had people talking and giving props when she performed in a tribute for Prince at the 2010 BET Awards. I fear that if we see less and less promotion for Monae’s work in the future, we might see less and less of Monae…and that can’t happen because her albums are awesome!
Before they were all out doing their own things at one point (they’re back together again), Jadakiss, Styles P and Sheek Louch were a part of the group The LOX, who started their careers and made a name for themselves on the mixtape scene. After Mary J. Blige put a good word out for them with Diddy, they were signed to Bad Boy, where they appeared on records with B.I.G., Mariah Carey and Diddy himself (“All About the Benjamins”). While their first album, Money, Power & Respect, released under Bad Boy was a platinum plaque-garnering success, they weren’t happy with their record label and wanted OUT, especially since Bad Boy’s image didn’t fit the image the group wanted to have. They were already assured a spot with the new Ruff Ryders label and thought their careers would be led under better direction elsewhere, but under their contract with Bad Boy, they were pretty much stuck. The three men didn’t take that mess lying down, though. Instead, they defiantly sparked a movement called “Free the LOX,” and after some time and drama, were finally released, Shawshank style.
Ever heard of Cheri Dennis? No? Well, you should check her out because she has a beautiful voice. Just for some background, you should know that Dennis started her career singing and collaborating with artists like Mase, and Diddy. The Bad Boy artist hidden under Diddy’s huge stack of commitments, Dennis has only released one album while with the label (2008’s In and Out of Love), which she has been with since 2001. Dennis is rarely seen or even talked about for that matter, which saddens me since she has such strong vocal talent. She was supposedly working on a new album that was to be released in 2011, but it’s 2012 and we still haven’t heard anything new. I hope she doesn’t become just a mixtape singer like some folks, or even worse–wind up on Love & Hip Hop!
You know your talents are pretty much being wasted as all hell when you pick up an attempted murder charge thanks to a brotha. Shyne didn’t even have the chance to make the most of his time with Bad Boy before he was out of the picture, even though he was very much hyped about during his time with the label due to his rhyme style and the fact that he sounded somewhat like the Notorious B.I.G. While prepping the release of his self-titled debut album, Shyne got caught up in a nightclub shooting while out with Diddy and then girlfriend Jennifer Lopez that injured three people and put him in jail for attempted murder, among other charges, for 10 years. While in jail, he allegedly severed his ties with Diddy and Bad Boy Records, looking for a new record company while incarcerated (because obviously hanging with Diddy got him…”got”). Man, “Bad Boyz” and “Bonnie & Shyne” were my jams! A unique talent for sure. But unfortunately, we didn’t get to hear too much of what he had to offer after his night at the club put his career on hold. But word is, now that he’s back out (but living in Belize after being deported), that he signed to Cash Money Records in the summertime…not sure how I feel about that though…
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