Diddy: Beyond the Mogul
A Bad Boy Story offers a deeper understanding of Sean “Puffy” Combs, whom we often only see glimpses of.
For those in pursuit of a dream, and anyone determined to achieve success no matter their life circumstance, documentary film Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story acts as the perfect motivator. The one hour and 20-minute film, which tells the story of hip-hop’s mega-successful label Bad Boy Entertainment, acts as a tool to inspire creatives, and people in general, to not give up on themselves.
Throughout, rapper, producer and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs faces many difficulties from health issues to production problems and self-doubt. Still, he remains committed to his end-goal of throwing a successful concert in celebration of 20 years of Bad Boy, or what he calls “a historical retrospective of the past and the future of one of the world’s most successful hip-hop and R&B labels.” Combs’ mindset becomes clear and we develop a deeper understanding of what truly makes up the mogul Diddy whom we often only see glimpses of through his brand.
After a particular show night didn’t meet the mogul’s expectations, he begins to question his abilities and doubt why he put the concert together in the first place. “It was for me probably one of the worst shows of my life … I’m disappointed in myself because I know I can do 70 per cent better …,” says the entrepreneur as he prepares for the second night of the show.
He may have built a hit-making label from the ground up in the ’90s and developed a talented roster that included Faith Evans, R&B groups Total and 112, and of course, Notorious B.I.G., but the Mount Vernon, New York native remains extremely relatable to this day. Toward the end of the film as he’s driving over the Brooklyn Bridge reflecting on the legacy that he’s built, he admits that he still doesn’t have it all figured out and has a lot more that he wants to achieve while he’s alive. “My intentions were just to make everybody the best … to make history and inspire the world … I think I did that and plan on doing that in a bigger way.”
For creatives like myself, these moments of vulnerability from Diddy and other artists in the film are the most intriguing because not only are they rare, but they are the polar opposite of the larger-than-life persona that this label created. They speak to the connection between faith and perseverance that has kept this label, and Diddy, going for 20 plus years.
“With everything that we’ve been through to be able to have everybody back onstage in unity … that’s the victory and everything else will take care of itself,” says Bad Boy rapper Ma$e, midway through the documentary as he reflects on how the 2016 reunion is an accomplishment for the label and himself.
Directed by Daniel Kaufman, the Apple Music film creates a new sense of appreciation for Bad Boy, especially for fans like myself, who grew up listening to the music and following the artists, but still wasn’t old enough to understand the magnitude of the label during the ’90s.
The film isn’t just about a man who created a label with successful artists and hit songs, or his legacy, it’s a visual representation of what it takes to create, achieve and maintain longevity in the music and entertainment industry. It’s about understanding yourself, building resilience despite great loss and understanding the importance of self-control, goal-setting and believing in yourself and others while creating your own version of “success.”