P. Diddy - Press Play    
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written by Michael Starghill Jr.    

Raise your hand if you believe right now, in 2006, that you view Diddy as a rapper. Hopefully everyone kept their hands neatly folded in their laps. Now can someone tell me what the hell he's doing putting out solo albums?

He had it all in the late 90s. On his Bad Boy roster, he had arguably the greatest rapper of all time, a trio of Yonkers MCs who's albums are still highly anticipated, a Harlem pretty boy at the top of his game and a four man crooning crew that kept the ladies going and still maintained respect from the fellas. To the victor go the spoils. I'm not talking about the platinum plaques and all the dough he raked in by jerking his artists (allegedly). I'm talking about that ability to kick back and chill somewhere. The comfort zone. The feeling of sitting down at the dinner table and saying "I'm full".

That's where we stand today. No Way Out was a great album. It was Diddy's first but he was hardly the main attraction. The W. of this rap shit. He was the figure head in charge but the supporting cast was really running the show. Then there was Forever. He went from seven times platinum to just platinum. As did The Saga Continues… as did We Invented the Remix Vol. 1 (latter album doesn't really count). Four years later Mr. Combs releases Press Play which will probably go platinum as well. Perhaps he felt that he wasn't getting enough attention and his solution: drop a CD. Because last I heard, he hasn't been making good music… or good bands for that matter.

Diddy kicks off the album with a weak flow over a weaker piano beat in Testimonial. On I Am, Puff declares "If Jay coming back then the world need Puff." Yeah…I'm just gonna let that ride. Twista and Shawnna lend their rapid fire flow on P Diddy Rock, but not even Timbo could save this track. Everything I Love is the most tolerable track on the album. The production bangs, Nas is being Nas and Cee-lo's raspy voice gives the song that extra sound it needs. Diddy then proceeds to wrap up the album with corny love songs over even cornier 80s sounding music.

It's hard to take him seriously because if I remember correctly, he doesn't care if he writes rhymes he writes checks. So now the question is whose album is this anyway? If you have to put this disc in, you could do other things besides listen; like try to figure out who wrote each verse. Like all of his other albums, many of the songs have features, proving that he can't do this by himself. But unlike the other albums, none of features salvage the product. Press Play doesn't have much to offer to the world of hip hop. Thanks Diddy. Thanks for the contribution, but maybe you should hang up the mic. Stick to dancing, stick to throwing parties, stick to making money and stick to making bands. Try not to stick your nose into solo albums anymore. Lets leave that to the artists.









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