Bad Boy Records

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Bad Boy Records
Parent company
Founded1993; 31 years ago (1993)
FounderSean "Puffy" Combs
Country of originUnited States
LocationNew York City, U.S.

Bad Boy Records (or Bad Boy Entertainment) is an American record label founded in 1993 by Sean "Puffy" Combs.[1][2] During the late 1990s, the label signed numerous artists including Craig Mack, The Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, Mase, 112, Total, The Lox, Shyne and Carl Thomas. At its peak, Bad Boy was worth an estimated US$100 million.

During the 2000s, the label signed French Montana, Machine Gun Kelly, Janelle Monáe, and Cassie, among others. In 2023, Combs created a successor label, Love Records to independently release his fifth studio album, The Love Album: Off the Grid.[3][4][5]



After his climb from a non-paid internship to becoming an A&R executive at Uptown, Sean "Puffy" Combs was fired in 1993 by Andre Harrell and founded his own label, Bad Boy Records, shortly after.[2] The label's first release was "Flava in Ya Ear" by Craig Mack, followed quickly by Mack's debut album, Project Funk da World in 1994. On the heels of these releases came "Juicy" and Ready to Die, the lead single and debut album from the Notorious B.I.G. (a.k.a. Biggie Smalls), released the same year. While Mack's album went Gold, Ready to Die achieved multi-platinum success. Dominating the charts in 1995, B.I.G. became one of the genre's biggest names of the day and Bad Boy's premier star. Also in 1995, the label continued its success with platinum releases by Total and Faith Evans. Bad Boy, meanwhile, staffed a bevy of in-house writer/producers,[6] including: Easy Mo Bee, Chucky Thompson and D Dot—each of whom are credited on a bulk of Bad Boy's releases during this time.

Feud with Death Row Records and loss of the Notorious B.I.G.[edit]

The rapid success of the Notorious B.I.G., and Bad Boy as a company, raised some tensions, especially with the Beverly Hills, California-based Death Row Records. For 3 years leading up to 1995, West Coast hip hop, dominated by labels such as Death Row, had been preeminent in mainstream Rap. Suge Knight, CEO of Death Row, held Puff Daddy responsible for the shooting death of his friend Jake Robles, allegedly at the hands of Sean Combs' bodyguard Anthony "Wolf" Jones. Tensions were heightened when Death Row signed 2Pac, who alleged that Bad Boy, notably the Notorious B.I.G. and Puff Daddy, had been complicit in the November 1994 shooting of Tupac in the lobby of Quad Studios in Times Square.

After the June 1996 release of 2Pac's "Hit 'Em Up", smearing Bad Boy, tensions escalated. 2Pac was shot in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 7, 1996, and died September 13. Bad Boy issued a statement of condolences. On March 9, 1997, while Bad Boy were preparing the release of the Notorious B.I.G.'s double album Life After Death, he was killed in Los Angeles, California. Their deaths left many to speculate if the coastal hostility had been responsible for their deaths. The police investigations were criticized by public and judicial sources. Both cases remain officially unsolved.

Life after the Notorious B.I.G. and rebuilding the label[edit]

Posthumously, Biggie's Life After Death reached number one on the Billboard Top 200. Its first two singles, "Hypnotize" and "Mo Money, Mo Problems" also topped the singles charts. The album eventually sold over 10 million copies in the U.S. alone, and is one of the highest selling rap albums ever in the U.S..

In 1996, Puff Daddy had begun recording his own solo debut album. The first single, "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down", peaked at No. 1 on the Rap, R&B, and pop charts that spring. In response to Biggie's death, the label rush-released a Puff Daddy tribute song, "I'll Be Missing You", which featured Biggie's widow, Faith Evans, and Bad Boy's R&B singing group 112. The single topped the charts for eleven weeks and became the hasty second single from Combs' album, No Way Out, which was released in the summer and sold 7 million copies in the U.S.. Mase, Combs' newest protégé, in the meantime was immediately thrust into the void that the Notorious B.I.G. left. His own debut album, Harlem World, also released the same year, would go Quadruple Platinum. Due to the successive successes of Life After Death, No Way Out and Harlem World, by the end of 1997, Bad Boy as a label and brand name had hit a commercial peak. During this time, the label began to promote its latest signing the L.O.X., who had been prominently featured on various Bad Boy releases that year. Highly anticipated, their 1998 debut album, Money, Power & Respect was certified Platinum by the RIAA. Shortly thereafter, the group departed the label and entered into a long-standing publishing dispute with Combs over the latter receiving 50% of their publishing that would continue until 2005.

In 1998, Combs decided to expand Bad Boy's roster to genres other than hip-hop and R&B, and subsequently signed Fuzzbubble to the label as its 1st rock act.[7] The group appeared on the rock remix of Puff Daddy's "It's All About the Benjamins", but parted ways with the label before releasing a full-length album.[8]

In the years to follow, Bad Boy saw a commercial decline. In 1999, Mase became religious and abruptly retired from the business, leaving a serious dent in the company, especially since his 2nd album had just been released. Bad Boy found some success with Shyne, a young rapper from Brooklyn, who garnered generally mixed reviews for his deep voice and slow flow—which many considered to be too reminiscent to, and perhaps a rip-off of the Notorious B.I.G., meanwhile, Combs' later albums failed to generate the same kind of acclaim that his debut had. In an attempt to further market himself, he underwent several name changes; from "Puff Daddy" to "Puffy" to "P. Diddy", to simply just "Diddy" then shortly Diddy- Dirty Money". But with the split of the group he abruptly returned to "Diddy". In June 1999, it was reported that Clive Davis and Arista had given Combs a $50 million advance on future earnings in 1998, but Bad Boy only generated around $30 million in 1999.[9]

As the 2000’s emerged, Bad Boy had noticeably floundered. Many of its more noted acts would eventually vacate the label, while those who remained saw their album sales dwindle as time went on. In spite of continually releasing new material, and various attempts at building artists to the status of Bad Boy's the Notorious B.I.G., few proved as successful as the company hoped. Bad Boy had success in 2000 with Black Rob, a New York City rapper who began associating with Bad Boy in 1996. His album, Life Story, was released through Bad Boy on March 27, 2000. The album debuted in the top 3 on the Billboard top 200, and was certified Platinum by the RIAA.

On June 20, 2002, it was announced and confirmed that Combs and Bad Boy parted ways with Arista Records after being with the label since its inception. Combs was able to walk away with ownership of Bad Boy's catalogue as well as recording roster.[10] In January 2003, Combs and Bad Boy then entered talks with The Warner Music Group's Elektra Records about Elektra possibly housing Bad Boy for a reported $10 million deal.[11] However, the deal ultimately fell through. On February 6, 2003, it was announced and confirmed that Bad Boy had signed a distribution deal with The Universal Music Group's Universal Records. Under terms of the deal, Combs would retain 100% of the company, while Universal would handle distribution and provide marketing and promotional support.[12]

Southern rap duo 8Ball & MJG released an album called Living Legends to some success in 2004, prompting the creation of Bad Boy South—which would eventually house acts such as Yung Joc. In 2002, Combs' participated in MTV's Making the Band 2, which spun off the Bad Boy assembled act, Da Band. Their MTV exposure lead to a Gold selling debut album. At this time, the label also signed a rapper named Aasim, whose Bad Boy debut album never been released.


In 2005, the company formed a joint venture with Warner Music Group (WMG). This saw WMG become the worldwide distributor of the company’s back catalog of classic hits, and take 50% equity in Bad Boy Entertainment.[13] Combs, however, retained joint control over the label and can buy back his equity stake at a later date.

Bad Boy would also see its fortunes improve in 2005,[14] with the success of releases from new signees: Cassie and Yung Joc (both of whom would score top five singles/debut albums). Also in 2006, Bad Boy hit paydirt with Making the Band 3's Danity Kane, whose debut album topped the charts at No. 1 (the label's first chart topping album since the Bad Boys II soundtrack three years prior), and spun off a top five single. Their second album, Welcome to the Dollhouse also debuted at No. 1, and contained the group's second top ten single "Damaged". Diddy also signed Day26 and Donnie Klang to the label.

However, by 2009, Combs had dissolved Danity Kane, terminating Aubrey O'Day's, D. Woods', Shannon Bex's and Aundrea Fimbres' contracts.[15] Dawn Richard remained signed working as solo artist and songwriter for Bad Boy. In March 2009, it was reported that Richard and Combs were assembling a new girl group but later formed Diddy – Dirty Money, composed of Combs, Richard and a singer-songwriter named Kalenna Harper. In April 2009, Bad Boy also signed Red Cafe.

In September 2009, it was announced that Combs would be leaving Warner, inking a new deal with Universal's Interscope Records. Under the terms of the new deal, Combs rebooted the Bad Boy name and trademark, to be operated through Interscope. The previous Bad Boy catalog and roster, however, remains under the control of Warner.[16]


In 2010, Diddy offered Mase a 1-year release from Bad Boy to settle their differences after the 2009 incident with Mase wanting to be released from Bad Boy. With this Mase decided to retire from rap for good, although he was to be reassigned to Bad Boy after his year break was done. In 2011, under his new deal with Interscope-Geffen-A&M, Diddy stated he was looking for new talent to add to his new Bad Boy roster. Jay Electronica, who had close ties with Diddy, was originally planned to be signed to the label but had signed with Jay-Z's Roc Nation imprint instead.[17][18] Machine Gun Kelly announced that he signed to Bad Boy/Interscope on August 3, 2011.[19] French Montana and Los also were announced as signees to the label in 2012.

On April 25, 2012, Mase featured alongside Diddy on Wale's "Slight Work" remix, marking the first appearance of the Harlem rapper on record since 2010. Rumors began to start that Mase, as well as singer Omarion, were both signing to Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group. It was later revealed that Bad Boy artist French Montana was the reason Mase was making his third comeback. According to Montana, Mase is serving as an A&R representative on Montana's forthcoming Bad Boy debut, "Excuse My French", as well as appearing on the remix of Montana's "Everything's a Go". "I'm not sure what kind of decisions he's going to make," Montana says, "[but] I would love to see him in my camp." Mase is currently resigned to Bad Boy Records but has yet to announce whether he is resigned as part of a joint venture deal between Bad Boy and MMG. He later announced he had gotten his release from Bad Boy.[citation needed] In April 2013, Cassie released her first full-length project seven years after her debut album, a mixtape titled RockaByeBaby, to positive reception. Rapper Los announced his departure from Bad Boy Records on March 19, 2014.[20]

On October 5, 2015, Combs announced that Bad Boy would be distributed by Epic Records.[21][22] This will mark the second time that Epic president L.A. Reid oversaw distribution for Bad Boy, having previously overseen distribution for the label 15 years earlier after being appointed president of Arista in 2000. Despite founding the label in 1993, Bad Boy began celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2015 with a 20-minute mega-medley performance at the BET Awards. It stretched into 2016, starting with the label's May reunion sold-out shows at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and originating the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour, starting in North America in the last week of August 2016.[23][24][25]

Notable artists[edit]


Act Year
under Bad Boy
Puff Daddy Founder (1993) 5
Janelle Monáe 2008 3
Machine Gun Kelly 2011 6
King Combs[26] 2016 2


The Hitmen[edit]

The Hitmen
GenresHip hop
Years active1993–present
LabelsBad Boy
Past members

The Hitmen is the production team for Bad Boy Records. The collective consisted of several notable producers and musicians that either worked solo or alongside Combs in composing tracks for the artists on Bad Boy as well as outside the label.[30]

On August 20, 2015, it was announced that Kanye West was a part of the current roster.[31]


Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs was signed to the label in 1994 and has released 5 albums from it


Year Information
1994 The Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die
  • Released: September 13, 1994
  • RIAA certification: 6× Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.15 Billboard
Craig Mack - Project: Funk da World
  • Released: September 20, 1994
  • RIAA certification: Gold
  • Chart positions: No.21 Billboard
1995 Faith Evans - Faith
  • Released: August 29, 1995
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.22 Billboard
1996 Total - Total
  • Released: January 30, 1996
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.23 Billboard
112 - 112
  • Released: August 27, 1996
  • RIAA certification: 2× Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.37 Billboard
1997 The Notorious B.I.G. - Life After Death
  • Released: March 25, 1997
  • RIAA certification: Diamond (11× Platinum)
  • Chart positions: No.1 Billboard
Puff Daddy & the Family - No Way Out
  • Released: July 22, 1997
  • RIAA certification: 7× Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.1 Billboard
Mase - Harlem World
  • Released: October 28, 1997
  • RIAA certification: 4× Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.1 Billboard
1998 The LOX - Money, Power & Respect
  • Released: January 28, 1998
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.3 Billboard
Faith Evans - Keep the Faith
  • Released: October 27, 1998
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.6 Billboard
Total - Kima, Keisha, and Pam
  • Released: November 3, 1998
  • RIAA certification: Gold
  • Chart positions: No.39 Billboard
112 - Room 112
  • Released: November 10, 1998
  • RIAA certification: 2× Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.20 Billboard
1999 Mase - Double Up
  • Released: June 15, 1999
  • RIAA certification: Gold
  • Chart positions: No.11 Billboard
Puff Daddy - Forever
  • Released: August 24, 1999
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.2 Billboard
The Notorious B.I.G. - Born Again
  • Released: December 7, 1999
  • RIAA certification: 2× Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.1 Billboard
2000 Black Rob - Life Story
  • Released: March 7, 2000
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.3 Billboard
Carl Thomas - Emotional
  • Released: April 18, 2000
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.9 Billboard
Shyne - Shyne
  • Released: September 26, 2000
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.5 Billboard
2001 Dream - It Was All a Dream
  • Released: January 23, 2001
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.6 Billboard
112 - Part III
  • Released: March 20, 2001
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.2 Billboard
Faith Evans - Faithfully
  • Released: November 6, 2001
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.14 Billboard
G. Dep - Child of the Ghetto
  • Released: November 20, 2001
  • Chart positions: No.106 Billboard
2002 P. Diddy & the Bad Boy Family - We Invented the Remix
  • Released: May 14, 2002
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.1 Billboard
2003 Bad Boys II: The Soundtrack
  • Released: July 15, 2003
  • RIAA certification: 2× Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.1 Billboard
Da Band - Too Hot for TV
  • Released: September 30, 2003
  • RIAA certification: Gold
  • Chart positions: No.2 Billboard
Loon - Loon
  • Released: October 21, 2003
  • Chart positions: No.6 Billboard
112 - Hot & Wet
  • Released: November 18, 2003
  • Chart positions: No.22 Billboard
2004 Carl Thomas - Let's Talk About It
  • Released: March 23, 2004
  • RIAA certification: Gold
  • Chart positions: No.4 Billboard
Mario Winans - Hurt No More
  • Released: April 20, 2004
  • RIAA certification: Gold
  • Chart positions: No.2 Billboard
8Ball & MJG - Living Legends
  • Released: May 11, 2004
  • RIAA certification: Gold
  • Chart positions: No.3 Billboard
Mase - Welcome Back
  • Released: August 24, 2004
  • RIAA certification: Gold
  • Chart positions: No.4 Billboard
New Edition - One Love
  • Released: November 9, 2004
  • RIAA certification: Gold
  • Chart positions: No.12 Billboard
2005 Boyz n da Hood - Boyz n da Hood
  • Released: June 21, 2005
  • Chart positions: No.5 Billboard
B5 - B5
  • Released: July 19, 2005
  • Chart positions: No.19 Billboard
Black Rob - The Black Rob Report
  • Released: July 19, 2005
  • Chart positions: No.40 Billboard
The Notorious B.I.G. - Duets: The Final Chapter
  • Released: December 20, 2005
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.3 Billboard
2006 Yung Joc - New Joc City
  • Released: June 6, 2006
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.3 Billboard
Cassie - Cassie
  • Released: August 8, 2006
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.4 Billboard
Danity Kane - Danity Kane
  • Released: August 22, 2006
  • RIAA certification:2× Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.1 Billboard
Diddy - Press Play
  • Released: October 17, 2006
  • RIAA certification: Gold
  • Chart positions: No.1 Billboard
2007 The Notorious B.I.G. - Greatest Hits
  • Released: March 6, 2007
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.1 Billboard
8Ball & MJG - Ridin High
  • Released: March 13, 2007
  • Chart positions: No.8 Billboard
Yung Joc - Hustlenomics
  • Released: August 28, 2007
  • Chart positions: No.3 Billboard
B5 - Don't Talk, Just Listen
  • Released: September 11, 2007
  • Chart positions: No.27 Billboard
Gorilla Zoe - Welcome to the Zoo
  • Released: September 25, 2007
  • Chart positions: No.18 Billboard
Boyz n da Hood - Back Up n da Chevy
  • Released: October 2, 2007
  • Chart positions: No.51 Billboard
2008 Cheri Dennis - In and Out of Love
  • Released: February 26, 2008
  • Chart positions: No.74 Billboard
Danity Kane - Welcome to the Dollhouse
  • Released: March 18, 2008
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.1 Billboard
Day26 - Day26
  • Released: March 25, 2008
  • Chart positions: No.1 Billboard
Elephant Man - Let's Get Physical
  • Released: April 8, 2008
Donnie Klang - Just a Rolling Stone
  • Released: September 2, 2008
  • Chart positions: No.19 Billboard
2009 Notorious: The Soundtrack
  • Released: January 13, 2009
  • Chart positions: No.4 Billboard
Gorilla Zoe - Don't Feed da Animals
  • Released: March 17, 2009
  • Chart positions: No.8 Billboard
Day26 - Forever in a Day
  • Released: April 14, 2009
  • Chart positions: No.2 Billboard
2010 Diddy-Dirty Money - Last Train to Paris
  • Released: December 14, 2010
  • Chart positions: No.7 Billboard
2011 Gorilla Zoe - King Kong
  • Released: June 14, 2011
  • Chart positions: No.56 Billboard
2012 Machine Gun Kelly - Lace Up
  • Released: October 9, 2012
  • RIAA certification: Gold
  • Chart positions: No.4 Billboard
2013 French Montana - Excuse My French
  • Released: May 21, 2013
  • RIAA certification: Gold
  • Chart positions: No.4 Billboard
Janelle Monáe - The Electric Lady
  • Released: September 10, 2013
  • Chart positions: No.5 Billboard
2015 Machine Gun Kelly - General Admission
  • Released: October 16, 2015
  • RIAA certification: Gold
  • Chart positions: No.4 Billboard
Puff Daddy - MMM
  • Released: December 18, 2015
  • Chart positions: No.45 Billboard R&B
2017 Machine Gun Kelly - bloom
  • Released: May 12, 2017
  • RIAA certification: Gold
  • Chart positions: No.8 Billboard
French Montana - Jungle Rules
  • Released: July 14, 2017
  • RIAA Certification: Gold
  • Chart positions: No.3 Billboard
2018 Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer
  • Released: April 27, 2018
  • Chart positions: No.6 Billboard
2019 French Montana - Montana
  • Released: December 6, 2019
  • RIAA certification: Gold
  • Chart positions: No.25 Billboard
2020 Machine Gun Kelly - Tickets to My Downfall
  • Released: September 25, 2020
  • RIAA certification: Platinum
  • Chart positions: No.1 Billboard
2021 French Montana - They Got Amnesia
  • Released: November 19, 2021
  • Chart positions: No.59 Billboard
2022 Machine Gun Kelly - Mainstream Sellout
  • Released: March 25, 2022
  • Chart positions: No.1 Billboard
2023 Janelle Monáe - The Age of Pleasure
  • Released: June 9, 2023
  • Chart positions: No.17 Billboard

Label compilations[edit]

Year Information
1998 Bad Boy Greatest Hits: Volume 1
  • Released: October 13, 1998
  • Singles: "Too Too Old For Me" by Jerome
  • RIAA certification: Gold
2002 P. Diddy & Bad Boy Records Present... We Invented the Remix
2004 Bad Boy's 10th Anniversary... The Hits
  • Released: March 9, 2004
  • Singles: "Victory 2004"
  • RIAA certification: Gold
Bad Boy's R&B Hits
  • Released: November 23, 2004
2016 Bad Boy 20th Anniversary Box Set Edition
  • Released: August 12, 2016


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  3. ^ Aswad, Jem (May 10, 2022). "Sean 'Diddy' Combs Launches New R&B Label, Love Records". Variety. Retrieved November 22, 2023.
  4. ^ Guerrasio, Jason (November 5, 2022). "Sean 'Diddy' Combs recently overtook Kanye West as hip-hop's second-highest earner — here's how he makes and spends his money". Insider. Retrieved March 25, 2023.
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  17. ^ "". Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
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  19. ^ "Machine Gun Kelly Announces Deal With Bad Boy/Interscope: 'They Understood Our Idea'". Vibe. August 3, 2011. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  20. ^ "King Los Leaves Bad Boy: Was Diddy's 'Nobody' Rant The Reason?". MTV News. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  21. ^ Hernandez, Victoria (October 5, 2015). "Puff Daddy's Bad Boy Entertainment Signs With Epic Records". Cheri Media Group. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
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  31. ^ "Kanye West joins Diddy's production supergroup, The Hitmen". April 21, 2015.