Sean “Diddy” Combs: I’m more than an artist

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Sean “Diddy” Combs will be the first to tell you that he doesn’t launch brands, he launches lifestyles. So when he had to promote his latest fragrance 3AM, he put himself on the line and starred in a racy video with his girlfriend, model/singer Cassie Ventura, that many have deemed too risque for television. The original cut was reportedly so steamy that it had to go back to the drawing board.

He said the simulated sex in the promotional video was inspired by those provocative Calvin Klein commercials.

“It pushes the envelope, but it’s done in a very tasteful way. It’s more about your thinking than about what you’re seeing on the screen,” explained Diddy, 45.

Whether he’s making music as an artist or producer or with his fashion line Sean John, Diddy says he’s driven by the same principle for success — hard work. It has paid off. Forbes recently named him the wealthiest hip-hop artist, and his fragrances — 3AM is the fourth — have earned him a couple of FiFi Awards, the Fragrance Foundation’s annual industry honors.

The Grammy-winning artist spoke with the Associated Press about his brand last week.

You have the music, the clothes, the scent, the vodka line; what else can you do?

It’s philanthropy. So for me, it’s what change can I make? So you were talking about Baltimore and Ferguson. As an African-American man, I have a responsibility in the future. I want to be able to do more things to affect change.

Would running for political office be one of them?

No, not at all. I love what I do. I don’t like politics. I’m not a big talker. If I say I’m gonna run a marathon, I’m gonna run it. If I say I’m gonna put out a fragrance, I’m gonna put out a fragrance. If I say I’m gonna change the world for the positive, that’s what I’m gonna do.

The music business has changed. Is it important for artists to adapt to find other revenue streams?

I’m an artist, but I’m also a businessman. As a businessman it was important for me to diversify. I didn’t just look at myself as someone making music. I make lifestyles, so for me it was diversifying and just loving business and figuring out how to market and create brands for this generation, (which) is something I specialize in.

When are you going back into the studio?

I’m going back in the studio now. I’m producing other people now. That’s how I started, producing. So I’m just in there having fun and really just experimenting with some things. But being able to launch new artists or artists that want a different sound for their next album — it’s exciting to get back into producing.

Any plans for a new Diddy album?

If I come up with something great, I’ll make sure I release something.

What are your thoughts on Tidal, (Jay-Z’s music streaming service)?

It’s a great idea for the artist to be involved in the distribution. Everything takes time, so we’ll see in the next couple of years. But I would bet on Jay Z.