ET sat down with the mega-producer, who opened up about 'The Love Album: Off the Grid,' his first album in 13 years.
It's been 17 years since Sean "Diddy" Combs gave his fans a solo studio album. On Friday, the recently dubbed global icon will cement his self-proclaimed Love Era with the release of his fifth record, The Love Album: Off the Grid.
In anticipation of the upcoming album, ET sat down to chat with the 53-year-old music mogul and producer, where he opened up about working on his first album since 2010's collaborative release with hip hop duo Dirty Money, Last Train to Paris.
"We all go through life's journeys and I kind of put my creativity and my music on hold," Diddy tells ET's Rachel Smith when asked why he decided to release new music. "I had a moment in my life where I was like, 'What do you want to do that makes you happy?' And one thing I love to do is make music."
"So, yes, it's been 13 years. It's been cooking and marinating, so it doesn't sound like 13 years though. It sounds fresh and new, it sounds like a new era," he adds.
Diddy introduced his new era back in 2021 when he legally changed his name to Love. Considering how the GRAMMY winner has made a name for himself by adopting numerous nicknames, it's not surprising that he later cleared up the confusion with his multiple monikers during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in May 2022.
"I feel it's very important that I clear that up," Diddy said when DeGeneres asked what he preferred to be called. "I decided that I'm just going to go with the name Diddy."
"Love is my real name," he continued. "So, I just changed my name to Sean Love Combs. That's what it says on my driver's license. That is my official name. Love. I'm Love. I am Love. I have made it." Diddy even tattooed Love on the side of his body and shared that the large ink was "done in one day."
Love is the main theme present in Off the Grid, which is only half of what Diddy says he wants listeners to discover from the new album.
"Number 1, I don't know if a lot of people know my history producing R&B. So, [this album is] really to connect with R&B and that genre of music," he explains. "But also, this is my love story. I love the way you love and we have that relatability. [I want the] fans [to take] the time to really go off the grid. No phones, no Wi-Fi, just me and you and we're locked in for 48 hours of love."
The mega-producer explains that his penchant for going off the grid with his loved ones was "the overall inspiration" for the album, as well as realizing that he had "no good baby-making R&B music."
"We have to bring back that baby-making R&B music. That R&B music that makes you dance," he passionately declares. "That's why I had to actually make a soundtrack from my experience... You know, that time has to be sacred. You have to make time for that, so it's like a next-level date night. That's what Off the Grid is. That's like, you know, we're going away for 48 hours, just me and you, baby."
Diddy would definitely know something about baby-making music. He is a father to seven children, the last of whom was born late last year.
The "I'll Be Missing You" rapper shares four children with the late model Kim Porter -- Quincy, 32, whom he adopted, King, 25, and 16-year-old twin daughters Jessie and D’Lila. Diddy and Sarah Chapman welcomed their daughter, Chance, in 2006 and he and Misa Hylton welcomed Justin in 1993.
Diddy announced the arrival of his seventh child, baby girl Love Sean Combs, in December. Love's mother, Dana Tran, a 28-year-old cyber security specialist, gave birth to Love on Oct. 15, 2022, in Newport, California.
He also knows quite a bit about love, having been connected to many beautiful women throughout his career, including the mother of his children, singer Cassie and, more recently, rapper Yung Miami.
"I always said that I can't make a hit record unless my heart is broken. It's just like a vulnerable state that you're in and so, when I lost Kim, it broke my heart forever," he confesses. "I just wanted to turn it into something positive, you know what I'm saying?"
Diddy continues, telling ET that he has "always" made music with his late partner and the love they shared in mind. He recalls the specific incident that inspired the Off the Grid track named after the late model, co-written with Babyface and John Legend, who also feature on the song.
"I was thinking about before there was the internet and how long I would wait [after] she would break up with me, she would just go completely off the grid. There was no way to track your girlfriend or nothing. I was sitting by the phone and calling her mother. Her mother's like, 'I don't know what you're talking about, Sean. I don't know where she's at.' But she [was] probably right there," he fondly recalls.
"So, I got on [with] Babyface and John Legend. I told them this story and Babyface wrote, 'Six days seven nights waiting for your sound,' and that's the way I love," he adds.
When asked if he believes he'll ever find love again, Diddy admits that he asks himself that question every day. "I still believe that I will. I'm not looking at it in a negative way," he tells ET. "I just don't know what the future holds, you know? So I gotta be happy for the love that I felt. I can't chase the love that I had."
Along with the Babyface and Legend collaboration, Off the Grid features an incredible list of guest artists that rival the lineup of any music festival. The album's tracklist includes appearances by The-Dream, Busta Rhymes, Dawn Richard, Summer Walker, The Weeknd, 21 Savage, French Montana, Jazmine Sullivan, Coco Jones, Ty Dolla Sign, Kehlani, K-Ci, Mary J. Blige, Teyana Taylor, and more.
According to Diddy, he managed to score The Weeknd's final feature after the rapper declared he wouldn't do another guest feature unless Daft Punk reunites.
"The first person I asked was The Weeknd and we did that song eight years ago," Diddy said of the forthcoming song, "Another One of Me," featuring The Weeknd, 21 Savage and French Montana.
He went on, saying, "Everybody that's on the album is just like a dream come true for me... Everybody said yes, so it was great. But everybody that I worked with, I worked [with] because I love their voice. I didn't work with them because of how many followers they had. It was [because] I just love their voice."
The Love Album: Off the Grid debuts on Friday, Sept. 15.