Some Things P. Diddy Made Me Think About Today, Or Yesterday
Sean John Combs was born in Harlem in 1969. So Sean Combs, aka Puff Daddy, aka Puffy, aka Diddy, aka P. Diddy is 45 years old. I don’t know why I’ve been thinking about him lately. I watched a video of him from this Halloween weekend, of his entrance to a club in a horsedrawn carriage, accompanied by the sound of trumpeters loudly celebrating his ‘royal’ arrival to Marquee in New York City. Someone once mentioned to me that Sean Combs is somewhat of a marker—depending on how someone refers to him, you can figure out the era they grew up in. If they’re older, they say “Puff Daddy”. I say P. Diddy. I’m 24.
Somebody should talk about him, right? He’s worth $375 million dollars. As one of the first entrepreneurs of hip hop (were there rapper fashion lines before him?), Diddy arguably paved the way for Jay Z, as well as serving, again, as a one-man marker, standing as the transition between and after the era of hip hop characterized by Tupac and Biggie’s careers and subsequent deaths. Diddy, who’s a pretty terrible rapper himself, signed Christopher Wallace to his label, Bad Boy Records in 1993.
When Biggie died in 1997, Sean came out with “I’ll Be Missing You”, a song lamenting the death of his best friend. What happened to Faith Evans, huh? It’s weird sometimes to think that irrelevant people still exist. Faith Evans still exists! Somewhere, she’s living, and she knows what ISIS is, and she has an iPhone. Baby Spice, somewhere, exists, and she also, almost certainly, has an iPhone. It’s weird to think about things you don’t have to think about.
When I don’t know what to say to people in social situations, I rant, hoping to fill any awkward silences. “I see you,” someone told me recently. “When you talk like that, without stopping, nervously, I’ll just say little things so that you feel more comfortable.”
“You do?” I couldn’t believe it. I thought the separation between how I feel inside and how I act outside was more concealed. I wanted to tell him something he’d be interested in, but I had nothing. Are you somebody who would like if I played you “I Need A Girl Pt. 2” on a daytime drive? I ask endless lines of rapid-fire questions because I think everybody only wants to talk about themselves. And I enjoy hearing what they have to say. I really do.
Is this interesting? I can’t figure out what to care about right now. Did you know that P. Diddy’s father was shot while sitting in his car on Central Park West while Sean was a small child? Wikipedia says that Melvin Combs was an an “associate of the convicted drug felon Frank Lucas”, whatever that means. Did you know that Sean says he got his nickname as a child, because he was often “huffing and puffing”? And then, according to Wikipedia, the next part of his name was derived from his self-identification: “Daddy is another version of a ‘player’”.
At this point in my life, I can’t get the fuck off Instagram. I feel I’m constantly living in a dream state, unsure of what’s real. Sometimes, when I’ve broken just about everything I can touch, I’m aware that how bad I can feel won’t go away. Phillip K. Dick, the science fiction writer said in an essay about creating imaginary worlds: “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
It’s like when you go to bed sad, and you sleep, and in your sleep you forget that you’re sad but when you wake up, you remember that you still have to be sad.
I bet Sean Combs felt this way when Biggie died. That’s what “I’ll Be Missing You” is about, right? “Reminisce sometime/ The night they took my friend/ Try to black it out but it plays again/ When it’s weird feelin’ it’s really hard to conceal” he says, or raps, I guess.. That’s what I’ve been talking about, or around, I think. It’s a stretch. I know I’m stretching, real hard. But give me a break, please. I have to stretch things right now, little by little, into big, smart, adult-sounding ideas. I have to hold on to these little idea in my mind of what feels okay enough to believe.
I want so badly for you to believe me, even when I don’t believe myself. Did you know that Sean Combs made a small appearance in Monster’s Ball, the movie that would result in Halle Berry’s infamous Oscar, establishing her as the first black woman to receive the award for best actress? I haven’t even seen it, but sometimes my friend and I laugh (guiltily) at YouTube clips of her acceptance speech—why does she cry like that? It’s just so whiny! From now on, I only want to cry really pretty. I just want to be pretty enough to start worrying about other things.
“I have a stealing problem,” I told the person who comes to my social rescue. “You say you’re crazy, but I don’t really believe it,” he said. What do you want to see? What could I write that you wouldn’t be able to stop reading? At any moment, Sean John Combs might decide to change his name again. Maybe next, he’ll just be himself. Maybe next, so will I. I’d like to be Sean Combs. I don’t mean that at all. I don’t know what I mean. I love you. I don’t know what I love. I’m so cold. If only I could be warm, in a home, wrapped up in an expensive, soft cardigan, positive that whatever decision I make tonight would lead me to a $375 million dollar fortune, and a high-profile relationship with somebody as attractive as Jennifer Lopez.