Can it be possible that Diddy is still making music in 2010? Forget being involved in music or mentoring potential superstars – but Puff Daddy/P.Diddy/Puffy is actually picking up the mic in an attempt to make another album!
This time bringing along his latest investment, the Dirty Money collective, Sean Combs’ nous for making an album shouldn’t be underestimated. The Bad Boy mogul knows how to make a hit record – you’ve just got to see the damage “Hello, Good Morning” does in the clubs. The question which now hangs is whether the team can capture that success and bring it to a full length album?
A prime example of how a Hip Hop record doesn’t need to rely on rhyming, Last Train To Paris is vocally led, as the singers Dawn Richard and Kalenna Harper carry the album with much style and attitude. The duo sing harmoniously and break into solos with much precision and pace, remaining in sync at all times with the abrasive club influenced beats on hand.
Undoubtedly, the track which highlights their appealing style is the smash ‘Hello Good Morning’ which somewhat steals the thunder from T.I. and Rick Ross’ contributing verses.
But lightning strikes more than once as ‘Yeah Yeah …’ (featuring Grace Jones) and a potential monster record for 2011 ‘Ass On The Floor’ also showcase the duo working in tandem to much effect.
Of course with Diddy on board, fans will be treated to a number of ‘verses’ from the man himself, and whilst they lack the wow factor of his “All About The Benjamins” performance, they do little to tarnish or enhance tracks. Some of the more exceptional cuts on LTTP are when the trio move out of the club – the smooth piano groove on ‘I Hate That You Love Me’ adds some sophistication to the pulsating vibes and the collaboration with Chris Brown on ‘Yesterday’ delivers a potent slow jam.
What brings this album down is the cliched format of some of the material on offer; the Usher featured ‘Looking For Love’ is meshed of a dire Diddy rap and a simplistic beat whilst the soulful ‘Something To Love’ is the rap mogul’s only solo offering, which lacks without the Dirty Money singers to back him up. But Diddy has only ever had his eye on making hits and this is something he does with ease.
The bedroom inspired ‘Shades’ is made up of an all star cast which includes Lil Wayne (whose ‘verse’ is akin to Outkast’s musings on the classic ‘Spottieottiedopalicious’ in terms of its style) and ‘I Know’ has Chris Brown back on vocal duties whilst Wiz Khalifa drops a tidy verse over this radio bound single.
Diddy continues to be relevant in Hip Hop because he knows how to usher in a sound for the time. Last Train To Paris does not try to be ‘hood’ nor does it try to reclaim any spirit of his Bad Boy days of old. Instead it embraces the modern formula of big Hip Hop productions, slick choruses and as many guest appearances possible. Diddy’s latest venture serves its purpose as it collates a number of hit records to provide a more than satisfactory album which will steamroll right through the clubs and charts in 2011.