Diddy disappoints

Andrew Gaug

Name-dropping Notorious B.I.G. – Check.

Bragging about his money – Check.

Comparisons to Jesus – Check.

Some producers such as Dr. Dre and Kanye West have the charisma and chemistry to hold their own behind both the boards and the mic. Diddy, on the other hand, falls into the same category as Timbaland and Pharrell as artists who are capable of making great beats and passable songs, but incapable of holding the listener’s attention beyond a few tracks.

After failing to ignite the same fire that he captured in the late ’90s with the multiplatinum No Way Out, Diddy, the self-proclaimed “shiny suit man,” breaks a four-year hiatus with Press Play.

Coming out swinging, Diddy raps at a surprising pace and smooth flow on the opening track, “Testimonial.” Although it is hard to hear him on top of an overcompensating and awkward piano loop, Diddy informs the listener “Listen up/ I got a story to tell/ it’s like I fell from Heaven/ just to walk through Hell.” It’s almost as if it’s a different, re-energized Sean “Diddy” Combs has emerged after a long hiatus.

Sadly, for the most part, the rest of the album displays the same, old Diddy.

If “Testimonial” showed a more confident Diddy, the following track “We Gon’ Make It” helps keep the pace of Diddy’s flow with a horn sample -ÿthe very same one used in Jay-Z’s latest track, “Show Me What You Got,” provided by long-time production partner D-Dot.

But Diddy’s monotone voice and choppy flow do the same thing they’ve been doing for years – bring great production down.

Subsequent tracks such as the embarrassingly bad “The Future” are full of would-be one-liners, such as “We in the hood/ like black soap and dollar bands/ My CD’s in 3-D hologram” and “Bluetooth n—a/but I don’t have any cavities,” which leave listeners scratching their heads. Even worse, on “Hold Up,” Diddy tries to do his best imitation of slain rapper and friend Notorious B.I.G. to painful results.

Press Play has all the appeal of an Adam Sandler film. Listeners know they could go for something better and more thought-provoking, but in a genre that has remained stagnant for the past year, Press Play doesn’t buck the trend -ÿand will probably be forgotten shortly after listeners do what the title suggests.

Contact ALL editor Andrew Gaug at [email protected].


Press Play

Released on Bad Boy Records

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