Diddy performs during Hot 97's 'Hip Hop 50 Forever'
Source: Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Word on the Street: Diddy Is Giving Back His Artists Their Publishing Rights

Sean "Diddy" Combs recently returned the publishing rights to his artists. Learn about Bad Boy records and what sparked this decision.


Sep. 26 2023, Updated 7:44 p.m. ET

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In a move that has surprised the music industry and fans, Sean "Diddy" Combs is making an unprecedented gesture toward some of his former proteges who were signed to his iconic record label, Bad Boy Records. The veteran artist and label executive recently agreed to relinquish the publishing rights of Bad Boy Records to all the artists and writers who once collaborated with his company, as reported by Forbes.

This development comes just ahead of his label's 30th anniversary and seemingly overshadows years of backlash Diddy received from industry insiders and fans, who said he did not treat his artists and workers fairly. Nonetheless, recent developments suggest a change of heart, and Complex and other outlets reported last week that the artists would finally receive their long-awaited publishing rights, marking a significant turnaround in the Bad Boy Records legacy.

Artists who will be getting their publishing rights back

Among the former Bad Boy artists who will receive their publishing rights back are:

  • Faith Evans
  • Ma$e
  • The Lox
  • 112
  • The Notorious B.I.G.

These musical luminaries had previously all signed agreements allowing them to reclaim their rightful publishing rights.

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Rappers Sean 'Puffy' Combs and Notorious B.I.G, perform at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois in April 1995.
Source: Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

According to Billboard, Diddy began contacting artists in May 2021 to discuss reassigning their rights back to them. Although certain artists have already inked the deal, others are still in the process of being contacted and informed about it. In the past, Ma$e and Jadakiss of The Lox have all publicly called out Diddy over money they stated was owed to them.

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Ma$e, for one, has always been disgruntled by the situation and shared his thoughts after Diddy was honored with the Industry Icon Award at Clive Davis pre-Grammy Gala in 2020.

In a since-deleted Instagram post, Ma$e wrote, "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," he said.

"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."

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 Sean "Diddy" Combs (L) and Mase arrive at Revolt TV's "Harlem To Hollywood" Studio Reveal at Revolt Live Studios
Source: Photo by Joshua Blanchard/FilmMagic

It looks like that is all water under the bridge for all of the artists, or at least for Diddy, who spoke directly to the Ma$e situation and said they were all good. News of the publishing distribution coincides with Diddy's new star-studded album The Love Album: Off the Grid, his first release in 13 years. It will be interesting to see if anything else pops up regarding the issue.

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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