Today In Hip-Hop: P. Diddy Releases ‘The Saga Continues…’

On this day, June 19, in hip-hop history…

The Saga Continues...

2001: Puffy’s legacy was taking a sharp nosedive. It had been four years since the loss of Biggie Smalls, three years since his Grammy win for No Way Out, two since the maligned, commercial offering Forever and one since his arrest for weapons violations at Club New York. The Bad Boy mogul promptly split with then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez, changed his stage name to P. Diddy, and announced an album that was without features from B.I.G., Lil Kim, Ma$e or Jay Z.

It didn’t seem to matter much. The Saga Continue… just as he orchestrated it, with the album debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard charts and earning platinum certification. The LP’s lead single, “Bad Boy For Life,” found Diddy emphatically surveying his still intact empire while breaking from his usual Hitmen production team. Over the now-iconic grainy chords, Diddy proclaimed what we already knew: “Don’t worry if I write rhymes, I write checks.” Ben Stiller made a cameo in the music video.

The Saga Continues… found Diddy building on the heavy sampling seen on Forever. The Hitmen and Mario Winans flipped tracks of everyone from The Alan Parsons Project to Al Green. The project’s guest spots were certainly forgettable, though: Black Rob was featured on seven songs.

The album received mixed reviews, but it didn’t seem to bother Diddy. He went on to found Making The Band in ‘02, perform at the Super Bowl halftime show in ‘04, and quickly ascend to one of the richest people in the music industry. Dude happened to change his name another 500 times in the process.—Steven Goldstein