Sean “Diddy” Combs has reassigned his publishing rights back to all the artists and songwriters who helped build the label he founded, Bad Boy Entertainment. Ma$e, Faith Evans, The LOX, 112 and the Estate of the Notorious B.I.G. are among the creatives who have already signed agreements to regain those rights, Billboard has learned.
A Bad Boy representative declined to disclose the terms of those deals. However, sources with knowledge of the situation say the process of reaching out to the artists and writers began in May 2021 after Combs had turned down various offers to sell the catalog. While most of the parties have been contacted and have since signed their offers, the search to locate and resolve agreements with a few others is still ongoing. Publishing on behalf of Bad Boy in past years has been administered by EMI, which is owned by Sony Music Publishing/Sony Corporation of America. And EMI continues to administer Combs’ own publishing.
Coinciding with Bad Boy’s 30th anniversary this year, the surprise move by Combs arrives after a public dispute of several years between him and Bad Boy hitmaker Ma$e. After Combs upbraided the Recording Academy for taking Black artists in R&B and rap for granted during a 2020 acceptance speech for the organization’s Industry Icon award at Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy gala, Ma$e took his former label boss to task for doing the same thing.
In a since-deleted Instagram post, Mase revealed he’d offered Combs $2 million to buy back his publishing but it was declined. In the post, Ma$e alleged, “Your past business practices knowingly has continued purposely starved your artist and been extremely unfair to the very same artist that helped u obtain that Icon Award on the iconic Badboy label. For example, u still got my publishing from 24 years ago in which u gave me $20k. Which makes me never want to work w/ u as any artist wouldn’t … This is not Black excellence at all.”
And last year during an interview with The Breakfast Club, Combs alleged that Ma$e owed him $3 million for an album advance that was never delivered on.
“My n—- murder had to sit this one out. He just got his publishing back from Puff. Just finished the paper work for that yesterday,” Cam’ron wrote in an Instagram post on Aug. 30. “Congrats @rsvpmase while he getting his music back in order, I’m dumping my hard drive pause. The lost files vol 1. Sept 8.”
Founded by Combs in 1993, Bad Boy garnered success out of the gate with a string of gold, platinum and multiplatinum albums and singles by Craig Mack, the Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, Ma$e, Total, 112, The LOX and Diddy himself, among others. Over the years, the legendary label’s roster has also boasted artists such as Carl Thomas, Shyne, Dream, Danity Kane and French Montana. It was also home to an inhouse writer/producer collective called The Hitmen, whose membership at times has featured the late Chucky Thompson, Stevie J, Deric “D-Dot” Angelettie and Mario Winans. Recent Bad Boy release credits include Machine Gun Kelly’s 2022 album Mainstream Sellout and Janelle Monae’s latest, The Age of Pleasure.
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