As a performer and producer, Combs has paved a road filled with platinum and gold.
Having signed with New York’s Uptown Records, the erstwhile “Bad Boys of R&B” were assigned to a young go-getter who got all of the label’s hard-to-handle acts. Attitude proved no problem for rising A&R exec Sean Combs, however. In 1991, the quartet’s debut album, “Forever My Lady,” sold more than 3 million copies while placing three No. 1 singles on the Billboard R&B charts.
Mary J. Blige
Uptown signed the future “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” in 1989, but her career didn’t move until Combs began working with her in 1991. Blige’s debut album, “What’s the 411?,” sold more than 2 million copies. Her 1994 follow-up, “My Life,” sold 3 million copies, with Combs serving as the singer’s manager.
The rapper was the first artist signed to Bad Boy Records, the company Combs started in 1993 after his firing at Uptown, and handed the label its first hit single with “Flava in Ya Ear,” which sold more than 1 million copies. Mack’s debut album, “Project: Funk da World,” sold more than 500,000 copies, with Combs singing the chorus on the single “Making Moves With Puff.”
Biggie (aka Christopher Wallace) appeared on projects including Blige’s “What’s the 411?” and Mack’s “Project: Funk da World” before releasing his own album, “Ready to Die,” in 1994, which sold more than
4 million copies. Fifteen days after his 1997 shooting death, Biggie’s second album, “Life After Death …,” debuted No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart, eventually selling more than 10 million copies.
The R&B female trio achieved notoriety for singing the hook on B.I.G.’s “Juicy” before releasing their self-titled debut album for Bad Boy, which sold more than 1 million copies. The trio also appeared on numerous top-10 singles including LL Cool J’s “Loungin’/Who Do You Love.”
Introduced on Biggie’s single “One More Chance” in 1994 (and marrying the man 10 days after meeting him at a Bad Boy photo shoot), Evans saw her debut album, “Faith,” sell more than 1 million copies, and she later won a Grammy for “I’ll Be Missing You,” which she performed with Combs in memory of her late husband.
Combs signed the R&B quartet — and changed its name from Forte — after hearing the act outside Atlanta’s Club 112. The group’s self-titled debut album sold more than 2 million copies in 1996. “Part III,” 112’s third and final album for Bad Boy, was its most successful project, selling more than 3 million copies.
The rapper became Bad Boy’s premiere act after the death of Notorious B.I.G. with his debut album, “Harlem World,” which sold more than 4 million copies. Five years after retiring from music to pursue a life of born-again Christianity, he returned to Bad Boy with his third album, “Welcome Back,” which sold more than 500,000 copies.
The female pop quintet was a creation of Combs’ MTV reality series, “Making the Band.” Group’s self-titled debut album premiered at No. 1 on the charts, selling more than 1 million copies despite mixed reviews. Released in March, Danity Kane’s sophomore album, “Welcome to the Dollhouse,” debuted No. 1 on Billboard.
For season four of “Making the Band,” the search was on for a male R&B/pop group. The winner was Day26, named for the day (Aug. 26, 2007) they were picked to be in the band. The quintet released its self-titled debut album March 25, bumping its labelmate, Danity Kane, from the top spot on Billboard’s Top 200. It was the third No. 1 debut for “Making the Band” graduates.