By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Sean “Diddy” Combs has gifted his Bad Boy family with life-changing anniversary gifts. According to Billboard, the music mogul has decided to return the publishing rights of his label’s artists and songwriters to their rightful owners.
The move resulted in Bad Boy Entertainment’s host of creatives quickly signing agreements to regain control of their intellectual property. Ma$e, Faith Evans, The LOX, 112, and the Estate of the Notorious B.I.G. are among those who have already inked deals to reclaim their rights, as per Billboard. Combs started the process in May 2021 to sell the catalog, but the details of the arrangements are still unknown.
For years, the administration of publishing on behalf of Bad Boy was entrusted to EMI, a subsidiary of Sony Music Publishing/Sony Corporation of America. Notably, EMI still handles Combs’ publishing. Providing artists with publishing rights could mean tens of millions of dollars for their bottom line, as sales of publishing have steadily increased over the years. For example, Dr. Dre recently sold his catalog for more than $300 million, and Justin Bieber netted north of $200 million.
This generous move by Combs coincides with the 30th anniversary celebration of Bad Boy Entertainment this year. The decision follows a longstanding public feud between Combs and Ma$e, one of Bad Boy’s hitmakers. The rift arose when Combs criticized the Recording Academy during his 2020 Industry Icon Award acceptance speech for undervaluing Black artists in R&B and rap. Ma$e confronted his former label boss in an Instagram post. He revealed that he offered $2 million to buy back his publishing, but Combs said no. Ma$e further alleged, “Your past business practices knowingly have continued to starve your artist purposely and have been extremely unfair to the very same artist that helped u obtain that Icon Award on the iconic Bad Boy label.” The post shed light on longstanding grievances, including Combs retaining Ma$e’s publishing rights from 24 years ago in exchange for a mere $20,000.
In a later interview with The Breakfast Club in 2022, Combs stated that Ma$e owed him $3 million for an album advance that was never received.
Bad Boy Entertainment, founded by Combs in 1993, has enjoyed a storied history in the music industry. The label quickly became successful, with many albums and singles that went gold, platinum, or multiplatinum. The artists included Craig Mack, the Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, Ma$e, Total, 112, The LOX, and Diddy himself. Over the years, the label’s illustrious roster has also featured talents like Carl Thomas, Shyne, Dream, Danity Kane, and French Montana. Additionally, it housed an in-house writer/producer collective known as The Hitmen, which included notable figures like the late Chucky Thompson, Stevie J, Deric “D-Dot” Angelettie, and Mario Winans. Recent releases under the Bad Boy banner include Machine Gun Kelly’s 2022 album “Mainstream Sellout” and Janelle Monae’s latest offering, “The Age of Pleasure.”