[HOT TRACK]New Name, Same Old Game

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[HOT TRACK]New Name, Same Old Game

"I want the music to speak for itself," said P. Diddy, whose third album was recently released in Korea. Once known as Puff Daddy and Sean Combs, the newly christened P. Diddy must have a lot to say, for his new album, "The Saga Continues," has 25 tracks. Members of his "Bad Boy Family," including Faith Evans and 14 other rap musicians, also participated.

P. Diddy has become a real presence in rap music - his first solo album in commemoration of Christopher Wallace, better known as Notorious B.I.G. (who was killed during the west and east coast rap feud), sold more than 5 million copies worldwide and won two Grammys in 1998 for Best Rap Performance and Album. He is also owner of the influential label, Bad Boy Entertainment, which he founded in 1993 at the age of 18. And he has had a crucial role in hip-hop and rhythm and blues' newfound international success.

Despite all this, P. Diddy has not always been well received. He has been criticized for featuring too many artists on his albums, raising questions about his ability to succeed as a solo rapper. And though P. Diddy boasted that "No one can sample better than I can," he has also been denounced for his lack of originality. His second solo album in 1999, "Forever," sold 1.4 million, still successful, but a disappointment after his first album. He was tried and acquitted recently on charges of carrying a firearm, and was the focus of media scrutiny after his relationship with the singer Jennifer Lopez ended.

Yet P. Diddy seems confident about his new album. "I know I have definitely put my best into this project, so my fans should know that what they hear is the essence of me and the soul of Bad Boy," he said.

To relish his essence takes a full 77 minutes and 16 seconds. The single,"The Saga Continues," which samples the Alan Parsons Project's "Sirius," and "Child of the Ghetto" are up-beat and exciting, and will probably keep dance floors jammed. P. Diddy's solo tracks, such as "Shiny Suit Man," are at least passable. "Can't Believe," an R & B track featuring Faith Evans and Carl Thomas, has a sophisticated melody.

This new release, featuring essentially all of Bad Boy Entertainment, confirms that P. Diddy will stick to what he does, no matter what others say are shortcomings. P. Diddy may not be the best rapper around, but he has found a successful formula.

by Chun Su-jin

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