"Before, I used to make records when I made music... then, I decided to make culture. And as I got older, I decided I'm going to make fashion. Ladies and gentlemen, listen and watch some fashion," rapper-producer and mogul Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy preached to an audience full of industry insiders, rappers, producers, record execs, and socialites Tuesday night at an impromptu listening party. The matter at hand: Puffy's first project since Last Train to Paris (2010), MMM – short for Money Makin' Mitch, a self-described "sonic motion picture." Puff Daddy & The Family's long-rumored proper return-to-form, MMM appears to be a precursor to Combs' apparent final album, No Way Out II. Diddy's initial hustler's ambition-leaning concept behind MMM was first brainstormed during an evening of "Netflix and Ciroc & lemonade," in which he and his lady finally got around to watching Dame Dash's cult classic Shakespearean Hop-Hopera, Paid In Full; "Money Makin' Mitch is a fairy tale about this fly n***a from Harlem that came up and did his thing. He was shinin' on them, stylin' on them, showin' them how to do it. Showin' them how to get it," Sean Combs intricately rhymes on MMM's scene-setting introductory track, "Facts." "Maybe he was gettin' it in the wrong way, but the fairy tale of it is [that] most brothers and sisters end up dead or in jail," he cryptically continued. Diddy himself seems to be a semi-autobiographical real-life version of our protagonist, Mitch; having been a former New York street-hustling drug dealer who's managed to morph himself into a similar-minded music industry-hustling multi-million dollar mogul and endlessly successful money-makin' household name.
While MMM boasts an impressive array of talented "co-stars" ranging from Lil Kim to Pusha T, I would say the most note-worthy aspect of Puff Daddy's celebratory 46th birthday mixtape/street album is quite arguably its sheer commercial accessibility. Not entirely unlike his former Led Zeppelin-sampling hit, "Come with Me," MMM makes sonically flawless use of Middle American-friendly source material; particularly Toro Y Moi frontman Chaz Bundick's Dance-laden side project Les Sins and Italians Do It Better visionary Johnny Jewel, better known as "Chromatics." "Workin,'" in addition to Lil Kim, Styles P & King Los-assisted "Audition," was debuted on BET's annual Hip-Hop Awards show last month and makes perfect use of Bundick's infectious jittery refrain, "don't bother me... I'm workin.'" However, "Workin'" now sports a completely unnecessary and thankfully, sample-less end portion featuring 'Ringtone Rappers' Big Sean and TraviS Scott. "Harlem," on the other hand, showcases a comparably more subdued sample lifted from Chromatics' Night Drive and Drive Soundtrack-featured "Tick of The Clock." Puff Daddy & The Family are reportedly set to slowly unleash 13 music videos to accompany each of MMM's contained tracks, when fully assembled in ascending order, will make the "sonic motion picture" Puff Daddy had initially envisioned. Ahead of MMM, Puff Daddy & The Family quietly unleashed two neck-snapping tracks, "Finna Get Loose" and Rick Ross-assisted "Big Homie," which will seemingly re-appear on the newly-reformed Bad Boy Family's forthcoming quasi-sequel to their critically-acclaimed 1997 debut, No Way Out.