Puff Daddy’s first studio album in half a decade, MMM details the story of an accomplished artist continuing to put in work just for the thrill of it. Packed with big name features including Jadakiss, Sevyn Streeter, Future, French Montana, Big Sean, Travis Scott, and Ty Dolla $ign, Puff Daddy cultivates a mural of hip hop sounds, ranging from 20’s speakeasy bands to futuristic tones. The Big Band jazz era theme seems to be a favorite as high energy tracks like “Auction” demand attention with in your face brass, woodwind solos and generous amounts of splash cymbals. Even without the killer lines from Lil Kim, Styles P and King Los, “Auction” bumps in a grandiose way. “You Could Be My Lover” has that contagious old school funk feel that draws you in immediately. Ty Dolla $ign’s player-esque vocals glide over a hip bassline in this jazzy track with hints of R&B.
Lesser known rapper Gizzle makes an appearance on several of the more eccentric tunes such as “Harlem”, a multi-part hip hop jam with snaking snare taps, intriguing sounds and an intergalactic spoken word interlude that leads into a Yeezus-like avant-garde beat. The end of “Harlem” overflows into the beginning of “Help Me”, a confessional type ballad featuring bold, crisp vocals from R&B singer Sevyn Streeter. One of the lyrical high points of the mixtape, Diddy dusts off his rapping pants and flaunts the wittiest wordplay on the record.
Jadakiss and Pusha T boast some hot verses on the chill track “Everyday (Amor)” as their growling vocals are unexpectedly compatible with a hodgepodge beat consisting of reggae and orchestral styles. The bizarre tracks on the mixtape are by far the best listens. Listed as a producer for half of the tracks, Combs adequately teases fans with a range of sounds to be expected on his upcoming album. But don’t be turned off by the label “mixtape”; MMM is basically an album. It sounds, looks and tastes like an LP but it’s free.
Although the mixtape is filled with sophisticated beats, there’s still a lot more flexing present than necessary. Drawing attention to his wealth, Combs emphasizes lines like “I ain’t got a problem with money, money’s a problem.” One track is even titled “Money Ain’t A Problem” and another called “Blow A Check” (both featuring French Montana, naturally). We get it Diddy, you’ve got 99 problems and money clearly is not included on that list. Hopefully when we’re graced with No Way Out 2, there will be a little less gloating and little more of the pizzazz that makes MMM worth the listen.