We’re abroad on tour when I meet her, the woman of my dreams. We spend the nighttogether, but I never get her name. When I wake up, she’s gone.
I’minfatuated with her, really blown away. A couple of months go by, and I bumpinto her again on tour overseas. We get together, and we’re inseparable forthree months. We go to New York, Miami, all the places where I get it poppin’.
Then,suddenly, we have a misunderstanding and she just breaks out on me. But absencemakes the heart grow fonder. We’re in two different parts of the world andshe’s remembering all the good times while I’m thinking if I had another chanceI wouldn’t lose her again. One night in London, I get offstage at 9:45pm and Ihear that she’s in Paris. It’s one of the foggiest nights, so I can’t take myplane, I can’t drive. The only way I can get to her is the last train toParis...
This episode, inspired bya real-life encounter from his past, is the starting point of the new album LastTrain to Paris by the Sean “Puffy” Combs’ new group Diddy-Dirty Money. Withdark, atmospheric beats and a cinematic back story, the new project representsan entirely new side of the rap impresario. Fans may think they know him, butas he prepares to unleash his latest smash, they are about to experience anentirely new Combs, and an entirely new sound. Diddy-Dirty Money is about toredefine dance music for the new decade.
Europe didn’t just providean evocative backdrop for the story that is Last Train to Paris, it alsoinspired the sound. Though Combs is known for his contribution to hip hop, heis also a passionate fan of dance music, often traveling to global hot spotslike Ibiza and Berlin to take in the new sounds emerging from the techno scene.Blending elements of UK grime, Mediterranean techno and the 808s of Americanhip hop, the album represents a new sound that Combs calls “train music.”
No stranger to the finerthings, Combs amassed a crew of some of the top names in music to help himbring his vision to life. TI, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne all lend guest vocals,but the biggest contribution comes from band members Dawn Richard and Kalenna.“Dawn and I aren’t background singers simply standing next to Diddy,” says Kalenna.“Diddy-Dirty Money isn’t just more of the same. It’s an organic group that grewout of a shared passion for music.”
Kalenna started writingsongs at 11, when she would accompany her father—a rapper and army man—into thestudio. As a military daughter, she moved often, living in diverse locationsincluding Alaska, Germany and Hawaii. In music, she found a home for herselfeven as “home” was constantly changing. “Growingup, I understood how music can take you away and help you escape,” she says. “Atthe same time I began learning how music brings people together; how it canheal and comfort.” She eventually channeled her talent for songwriting into asuccessful career penning hits for Jill Scott, Jennifer Lopez, Timbaland andmulti-platinum producer Rodney Jerkins.
Dawn Richard will berecognizable to fans as a member of the group Danity Kane, formed via the MTVseries Making the Band 3. The New Orleans native grew up watching herfather perform. A musician, choir director and former member of R&B groupChocolate Milk, he instilled in her a love of music, even as her tastesevolved. “I was more into alternative music,” she says, naming influencesincluding The Cranberries, Sheryl Crow and Green Day. “I saw myself as theleader of a rock band with pink hair, singing the music I love.”
When Combs paired Richardand Kalenna together to write songs for Danity Kane in 2009, he knewimmediately that he had a powerful new songwriting team, describing them as“kindred spirits.” With so many far-reaching influences between them, combiningforces as Dirty Money is nothing less than “divine intervention,” says Richard.“We mirror each other. We’re all perfectionists witha strong work ethic. We push and challenge each other.”
The trio’s unmatchedcreative chemistry reveals itself in the latest blockbuster single “Hello GoodMorning”. The group premiered the single in front of 25 million viewers on AmericanIdol on March 31st. The high-energy track, with its urgent, atmosphericbeats, was perfectly suited to an explosive performance with spectacularspecial effects. Idol producers even issued a warning to viewers aboutthe intense strobe lights used onstage.
Ross, who also lent vocalsto the lead single “Angels”, is just another member of the extended Dirty Moneyfamily. Lil Wayne was passionate about the new sound being crafted, and droppedverses on “Strobe Lights”, a teasing, funky club banger, and “Shades”, a trippytrack also featuring Bilal. Mario Winans produced the 80s-influenced “Give MyAll To You” while Rodney Jerkins produced the international party jam “I WantYour Love”.
“I’ll even take off my shades,” sings (yes, sings)Combs on “Twisted”, hinting at a new, emotional core to his sound. Themultilayered track represents some of the many influences of Last Train.With a soaring synth riff that reflects the head-trip that is falling in love,he recalls a post-millennial Prince. Other tracks veer from tribal drums tochurch organs to gritty instrumentals, all combining to form the new sound.
While Combs has hadunsurpassed success in many different realms, from fashion to spirits to film,the lush soundscape of Last Train represents a renewed commitment tomusic from the multitalented impresario. By opening up a chapter of his ownlife to tell the story, he’s crafted an album that is expressive and exciting.Sure, this album will make you dance, but Dirty Money is more than just dancemusic. It’s a movement.