Puff Daddy Changes Name to P. Diddy – Today in Hip-Hop
XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:
March 28, 2001: The hip-hop community knows Sean Combs by many stage names, but on this day, the Bad Boy Records founder officially changed his name from Puff Daddy to P. Diddy. The name change came after his acquittal of five counts of bribery and criminal possession of a weapon on March 17, 2001.
In his first interview since the acquittal with MTV News' Sway Calloway, Combs, then known as Puff Daddy, made the announcement of the name change.
"No more Puff Daddy. The first week in June we’re gonna have a name change ceremony. I’m not doing it as serious as Prince [but] I just want something fresh...I’m rockin' with P. Diddy now. My man Biggie gave me that name."
The case stemmed from a December of 1999 shooting incident in which gunfire erupted inside Club New York that left three people injured. Puff, his then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez and his then-newly signed Bad Boy Records artist Shyne were arrested following the shooting. J.Lo was absolved from the case, but Puff and Shyne faced weapon and assault charges.
In the end, Shyne spent eight years in prison for assault, gun possession and reckless endangerment. At the time, the rap mogul said, "He's young, very talented. He’s definitely somebody whose life shouldn’t be wasted." He also insinuated to Sway that Bad Boy would support Shyne through his incarceration. "I don't abandon anybody," said Puff.
However, this wouldn't be the last time Combs would change his music moniker. In 2005, he shortened his name to "Diddy," and in 2011, he briefly changed his name to "Swag." In May 2021, the 53-year-old billionaire not only switched up his stage name within the public eye but also did so officially when he changed his legal middle name from John to Love. He also asked that he only be referred to as either "Love" or "Brother Love" from now on.
No matter what name Sean Combs is known by, Diddy or Love, he is a living hip-hop legend and a visionary that has maintained his relevance in music for nearly 30 years. Salute.