I was born in the 80’s and when I first got into hip-hop music as a young kid in the late 90’s, it was during the rap ‘bling bling’ era. Back in those days mainstream rap was predominately about rappers flaunting their wealth; platinum chains, 24 inch rims spinning cars, fur coats, the whole shebang. And when it came to music videos, money was no issue. Dropping a million dollars on single video shoot wasn’t a rare occurrence. Just hit up Hype Williams and the video spectacular was on its way. Looking back now it’s kind of funny. Thank God hip-hop’s come a long way since those days…
Of course the rap cliché’s still exist today, that’s just a given, but these days hip-hop is so diverse and rappers no longer have to conform to the typical stereotype in order to get mainstream success. Thanks to the likes of Kanye West, Eminem, N.E.R.D and Drake, who’ve changed the public perception of what a rapper should look like, and their lifestyle image and background is a million miles away from those portrayed from the rappers of previous decades.
One person who really lived up to the stereotypical image is P Diddy, or Puff Daddy as he was known back then. When it came to flaunting wealth, no-one did it like Puffy, especially seeing as his wealth was substantially larger than most of his peers.
However, now in his 40s, Diddy is a changed man. The ‘king of bling’ we grew to love in the 90s is trying to distance himself from the lifestyle he’s so famously known for. The rap mogul tells the L.A. Times that he’s to blame for the false perception of hip-hop stars and intends to tone it down.
“People have this perception of me—which is my fault—of maybe a rapper or champagne-sipping and Hamptons and white fur and just cliché type of things that are just kind of old and dated and corny, which isn’t how I am today, you know?” he told the Los Angeles Times. “That was just part of my image for a second. It wasn’t who Sean is. You evolve—like, I need to retire my diamond necklace and fur jacket now. Things change. Times change.”
As pretentious as that lifestyle is, I like the ‘fabulous Diddy’. He’s an exception though. I like that hip-hop has kind of evolved from those days, but I don’t think I’d have Diddy any other way. That’s what makes him so great.