Sean "Diddy" Combs, man of many names and many more dollars, occupies a place in pop culture few others can match. Plenty of cool Diddy stories exist which exemplify his incredible, over-the-top career and lifestyle, and a few of them happened before he hit it big. In fact, his first moniker, Puff Daddy, actually stems from a childhood nickname. Apparently even before fame, Diddy already thought quite highly himself. Throughout all of Sean Combs's name changes, he held his title as a record label exec. Fun facts about Diddy include his monumental influence on music of the '90s and 2000s. More than a music mogul, Diddy holds stakes in liquor, fashion, restaurants, and television. As a result, Diddy now stands as one of the wealthiest rappers-turned-CEOs.
With all these accolades and riches, naturally a couple of dark Diddy facts also exist, including the infamous Bad Boy Curse people say follows the label. Regardless of how you view him, one cannot deny the influence of Diddy not just on music but on American pop culture in general. When you're Diddy-big, the stories just follow you.
Single mom Janice Combs raised her kids, Sean and Keisha, after her husband, Melvin, died. Until he became an adult, Sean believed his father had passed away in a car accident. While receiving an honorary doctorate at his alma mater, Howard University, Combs revealed in a speech to the audience what his mother never told him:
"My mother always told me that he died in a car accident. But something about that it just didn’t feel right . . . So, as soon as I got here I went to the library and I did some research. I used the microfilm at Founders [Library] to search through all the newspapers. And when I typed in my father’s name and the day he died, I read in the Amsterdam News that he had been murdered in a drug deal gone bad. Right there in that library I realized there’s nothing greater than a mother’s love and desire to protect her child.”
Frank Lucas, on whom filmmakers based American Gangster, was also business partners and pals with Melvin Combs.
Diddy cares very much about aesthetics, right down to his footwear. Diddy's personal shopper, Derek Roche, says his client tests his "limits and boundaries" as a stylist. With his shopper at his side, Diddy purchases everything from authentic Scottish kilts in Glasgow to elaborate designer gowns for girlfriend Cassie. Perhaps his most bizarre aesthetic interest is his love of socks, specifically ones with fun designs.
Roche told New York Post:
Mr. Combs loves his "happy socks" — fun designs from Paul Smith or Rob Kardashian. We labeled them ‘happy socks’ because they just make him feel good — it could be polka dots, it could be stripes or lightning bolts.
With the death of Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace in 1997, Diddy lost both his best friend and Bad Boy's flagship artist. Yet according to ex-LAPD officer Greg Kading, responsibility for the deaths of both Biggie and arch-rival Tupac Shakur trace back to Diddy's door. Kading, who spent three years investigating both cases, alleges Diddy paid members of the Crips gang $1 million to kill Tupac in 1996. As a result of Tupac's death, Suge Knight, head of Shakur's record label, Death Row, allegedly retaliated by ordering a hit on Biggie the following year. These theories act as the premise for USA's crime drama, Unsolved: The Murders Of Tupac And The Notorious B.I.G..
Diddy attended Howard University for two years, eventually dropping out to pursue an internship at Uptown Records with music exec Andre Harrell. Though he left the institution, it clearly remained a part of his character. The multi-hyphenate mogul spoke at Howard's 2014 commencement ceremony amid protests from some over the fact he never finished. At the ceremony, Combs received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater. Moved, he said, "Howard University didn’t just change my life – it entered my soul, my heart, my being and my spirit."