Diddy Brings Same Old Hustle to Host of New Pursuits


It was another day in the life of the mogul variously known as Sean Combs, Puff Daddy, P. Diddy and now just plain Diddy -- a man of many names and plenty of products.

He already has his own clothing and fragrance lines, a restaurant and a lucrative deal with Ciroc premium vodka. He's talked about opening a business school. And that's not even to mention the main attraction -- the music.

Diddy: The Modern Mogul
Diddy: The Modern Mogul

Amid a promotional orgy for the Diddy product du jour, a new line of headphones, the hip-hop star greeted me with enthusiasm.

"Whas up, how you doing man!" he said. "I'm such a fan of yours, I got a little bit nervous when I found out you were interviewing me."

In a lengthy interview on an oppressively humid day in his hometown, New York City, Diddy expounded on the arts of self-promotion and self-preservation, aging, parenthood, acting and more.

"I have the knack, whether it's the fragrance, the clothing line or headphones -- I'm just trying to create stuff that fits our lifestyle, so people understand how we walk, talk and think," said Diddy.

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The star keeps up a punishing schedule.

"I was proud of working 18 hours a day and sleeping three hours a night," he said. "It's something now that has turned into a problem for me: not being able to sleep ... having insomnia. ... I take sleeping pills -- I don't like to take them on regular basis -- or different teas and lavender. I try everything, you know. ... My mind is always racing, and always going and always working, and it's a gift and a curse. When I was starting out it was something I embraced, but now it's something that I hate, it tortures -- it will torture you."

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A Vast Collection of Brands

Diddy's gift has been to produce a vast array of branded products. The 40-year-old mogul wants to dress you in his clothes, spray you with his fragrance, then pound you with his music.

"I was going to make the fragrance you put on, the clothes you wear to work," he said. "I was going to have the television shows you watched, before you went out to the club, to listen to the music I produced, to buy the vodka that I promote."

Some people might call all that a form of megalomania?

"It could be," Diddy conceded.

Diddy calls himself the black James Bond. Neither shaken nor stirred -- but always selling.

Diddy: 'Curator of Cool'

I asked Diddy if there was anything he wouldn't promote. Diddy dog food?

"How about Diddy dog food: Make your dog yap to a rap," he riffed. "You know, I would do what's organic for me. I would do candles. I love candles. I would do jewelry that fits. I would do hotels. Whatever was in the realm of entertainment or lifestyle, or curator of cool, that's what I do."

Diddy says the foundation of his entire Bad Boy business empire -- the umbrella organization that made $345 million last year -- is the music he produced during the '90s.

"I take pride in being one of the most successful producers in hip-hop history, having the most successful record in hip-hop history, I have the most number ones," he said. "A a hip-hop artist, these are things that I say that people are like, 'You have the most number ones?' Yeah, I'm the rap artist with the most number-one singles, that's the most in history from a hip-hop artist."

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