Diddy Hits #1

The Bad Boy hit streak

continues this year as label head Sean "Diddy" Combs’ solo album

Press Play lands at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album Chart. The

disc moved over 176,000 units in its first week, besting releases from Evanescence

(The Open Door), JoJo (The High Road), Dierks Bentley (Long Trip

Alone) and Ruben Studdard (The Return ). Press

Play is Bad Boy’s second chart-topping release of 2006, following Danity Kane’s

self-titled debut in August. "When I decided to do an album, I definitely

didn’t have any preconceived notions of just coming in at number one," Combs

told AllHipHop.com from Paris. "Knowing how the climate has changed, I just

wanted to come out here and do my best, put my grind on and do the best that I

could do. Out of all the number ones I’ve ever had, this one means the most."

The

album is the eighth No. 1 release in the 10-year history of Bad Boy, succeeding

such releases as Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death and Born Again,

Combs’ No Way Out, Mase’s Harlem World, the Bad Boys II soundtrack

and We Invented The Remix. Combs

explained that he recorded Press Play with a clarity he wasn’t able to

obtain for his first two albums, No Way Out and The Saga Continues.

Recording

on No Way Out started in early 1997, shortly before B.I.G. was gunned down

in Los Angeles. After a brief recording hiatus, Combs dropped a pair of No. 1

singles, "Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down" and the B.I.G. tribute "I’ll

Be Missing You," which featured Faith Evans and 112. The

Saga Continues

was released in 2001 shortly after Combs was acquitted of gun possession and

bribery charges. The

trial was the result of a high-profile 1999 club shooting in New York involving

Combs, who was accompanied by then girlfriend Jennifer Lopez and former Bad Boy

recording artist Jamal "Shyne" Barrow. "With

my other albums, I was going through a lot of drama. But this album right here,

it was just about the music," Combs said. "I finally had the chance

to hit people with some good music and people are loving and diggin’ the music.

I feel truly blessed. If you are in the music business, it’s something you can

relate to more. The game changes. You aren’t granted number ones. This one was

made from hard work and great music. I just feel grateful." Combs

recently wrapped a 25-city tour that included visits to radio stations, local

high schools, college campuses and nightclubs. The

mogul is currently in Paris gearing up for a Nov. 2 performance in Copenhagen

, Denmark, during the MTV Europe Music Awards. "I

wish it was a pleasure trip, but I am out here working hard," Combs said.

"One of the things I decided was that I was going to hit the road and let

people know that I’m serious about being a recording artist. And this is part

of it. Over here, we are hitting like seven countries.

"Hip-Hop has truly gone global," Combs continued.

"I was out here with my first album and I’m out here with this album and

it’s being well received. I would definitely promote more artists to get out here

and don’t be afraid get your passport on and put that work and that grind into

it."

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