Over a year ago, Sean "Diddy" Combs shook up the industry when he declared that "R&B is dead." In the months since he made that statement, the Grammy award-winning artist has done everything in his power to revitalize the genre with his brand new album.
"Making an R&B album is totally different because you could really just focus on the positive parts of love," Diddy tells iHeartRadio. "It just allows you to do that. You don't have to keep it all the way so real to the point where you can't fantasize about just being in a happily-ever-after type of story."
"With Hip-Hop, you have to tell the good, the bad, and the ugly," he adds. "With R&B, I was able to just really fantasize about the good parts of love and leave all the bad parts out."
Diddy released his fifth studio LP The Love Album: Off The Grid on September 15 via Love Records. His new album, which is his first solo project since 2015, comes with 23 tracks featuring a slew of artists from newcomers like Jozzy, Coco Jones and Kalan.Frfr to legends like Mary J. Blige, Babyface, K-Ci Hailey of K-Ci & JoJo. The LP also holds stand out collaborations like "Another One of Me" featuring The Weeknd, French Montana & 21 Savage, which is Abel Tesfaye's last collaboration as "The Weeknd," and "Closer To God" featuring Teyana Taylor, who came out of retirement to hop on the song.
The album not only opens the door to the next phase of his music career, but it also represents the impact Diddy has made on the music industry and beyond. In the days before his album dropped, Diddy was honored on several occasions. He accepted the Global Icon Award at the MTV Video Music Awards and delivered an unforgettable performance. He also received the key to New York City on the same day the album dropped.
After receiving his flowers from the music industry and his favorite city, Diddy sat down with iHeartRadio to talk about the the making of the album, his favorite songs and more. Scroll down to see what he had to say about the project, and tune in to iHeartRadio's Hip-Hop & R&B stations to hear more songs from The Love Album: Off The Grid.
iHR: It's been eight years since your last project MMM (Money Making Mitch). What changed about your creative process in the studio since then?
Diddy: I think just in general, R&B is a whole different frequency. It allows you to stay in a love process the whole time. I was able to really tap into love and really make sure that the intention of all my melodies and the music and everything I was feeling was for that soundtrack of when you're in love, falling in love. And so that's what I would say is different. It is totally different than making Hip-Hop. With R&B, you could just be an unapologetic lover.
How did you come up with that album title?
To be honest, the people really came up with that album title. When people heard I was in the studio, all my fans would hit me and say, ‘What's up with that Love album? What's up with the Love album?' And the name of the album was Off the Grid. And then Kanye had came out with a record called “Off The Grid,” and I was like, ‘Man, I guess I should call it The Love Album: Off The Grid. And that's how I came up with it. So it's a combination of the people and yeah.
The Love Album: Off the Grid has so many collaborations, including the “final collaboration” with The Weekend. How did you convince Abel to end his reign as The Weeknd on your album?
Me and Abel did this record like eight years ago, and it was something that I knew that I was going to put out one day. As I was starting this album, [“Another One of Me”] was the first song that I started with as far as to go into the lane of the new sounding R&B, like my modern R&B sound, which is a combination of my nostalgic ‘90s sound and everything that's up to date right now. Everything that I've experienced sonically, brought with me, all together on one album, The Love Album.
Who was the first artist you recruited for the album and why?
The first artist that I recruited for the album was Teyana Taylor. Teyana Taylor was somebody that I always wanted to work with. She's like my sister. I call her “Baby Puff.” I'm “Big Puff,” but we never got to make a record. We both from Harlem and we just always been cool, but we never worked together musically. And then she retired, so I was so mad that she retired. I didn't get a chance to work with her. So she came out of retirement for me on this one record called “Closer to God.” She's the first one that I reached out to and she said yes.
You were able to secure a J Dilla beat for the album. What can fans expect from that record?
Getting a chance to work with J Dilla, even though he's not here, it shows you the magic of music. I have this saying that “Only the song survives.” We, as people, we come and we go, but our songs can live on forever. His sound lives on forever. And I was able to combine my sound with his sound on a whole different vibe, and I know that he would be a thousand percent with it and really love the outcome of the way it came out. To be able to join forces with him, thanks to Busta Rhymes, who actually brought me the beat. Also, to his estate, thank you to them for letting me produce a record with him. But it's pure magic. That's what you can expect from him. J Dilla’s beats were always magic, and me and him together is definitely magical.
You also collaborated with a lot of artists we haven't seen you with before. Of all the new artists you've worked with for this album, which one were you most excited to get in the lab with?
I would have to say Summer Walker. Summer Walker out the gate was somebody that I was really like, ‘I would love to just work with her in some way.’ And so I got that chance. This whole album is a dream come true. I got a chance to work with all the people that I've wanted to work with, and the album just speaks for itself.
What song (or songs) will leave a lasting impression with fans?
I think the whole album is a body of work. I think that when you put the album on from top to bottom, you can listen to it and that's the way you actually listen to it. You actually listen to it as an album, especially in this day and age of singles. This was put together as a body of work, and I hear it as a whole body of work. I think people will remember it as a whole body of work, just like they did Off The Wall or No Way Out. Any of the classics.