Puff Daddy exerts influence on music industry in ’97

Like it or not, 1997 was the year of the Puff Daddy. The 26-year-old founder and CEO of Bad Boy Entertainment powerfully impacted the music industry last year.

And his presence has been felt beyond the hip hop industry. In 1997, Puffy took production credits for acts such as Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, staples on the pop and adult contemporary charts. His influence is inescapable – and will stay that way for a while.

How good or bad this is for music fans is debatable. Many music fans were sick of seeing him in video after video for songs that didn’t carry his name directly. So he just went and made a multi-platinum album to shoot his own videos.

A few weeks ago, Arista Records, Bad Boy’s parent company, released a promotional album titled Sean “Puffy” Combs: Changing the Sound of Popular Music. It was yet another opportunity to ensure he isn’t forgotten in the new year.

Puffy found himself on the covers of VIBE, Rolling Stone, The Source and The Los Angeles Times Magazine – and featured in USA Today and countless other publications last year.

Russell Simmons of “Def Jam” talked about selling the ” `Def Jam’ way of life.” If Puffy has a similar goal for Bad Boy, his ever-growing number of prot?g?s could help reach it. Mace, Faith, 112, Lil’ Kim, The Lox and the deceased Notorious B.I.G. all have helped him solidify his standing.

For example, this week five albums on Billboard’s Top 200 charts are either Bad Boy artists or sport some Puffy production. “Been Around the World” from Puffy’s No Way Out is still number five on the Top 100 Singles charts. It’s been there for 11 weeks.

And just last week, another tour featuring Puff Daddy and the Family was announced for this March. The last tour sold out arenas across the country, and the upcoming tour is slated to be even bigger.

The Bad Boy Web site, http://www.badboy-ent.com, calls Puffy a true renaissance man. A revolutionary man is much more appropriate, Simmons’ desire to sell a certain lifestyle has been far overshadowed by a young man who doesn’t even talk about it. He just did it.

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