Diddy-Dirty Money – Last Train To Paris

Diddy-Dirty Money – Last Train To Paris
Bad Boy: 2010

I’d like to start this off with a disclaimer: I do not now, nor have I ever liked Sean Combs as a person, hip hop artist, producer, media mogul, or music video prop. He has always been something of a joke to me, always lurking in the background somewhere, scattering obnoxious ad-libs all over the Notorious BIG catalog, and, in the wake of BIG’s passing, trotting out a veritable army of marginally talented street rap sensations, loverman MCs, Biggie clones, and ill-fated singing groups. I never made it all the way through any of his albums, not even No Way Out, the one EVERYBODY has lying around somewhere as testament to the poor taste of confused youth. The only role I have ever enjoyed seeing Combs play is the asshole, the stern super-serious business man who broke hearts year after year shadily dismantling bands and making post-Bad Boy careers into rocky rides. That, I felt, was truer to what I understand of the man. In short, I fucking hate him, and I certainly wanted to hate his new album. But a funny thing happened after I pressed play. I liked it. A lot. I’m not gonna mince words: Last Train To Paris is good. It’s a beast, blessed by a talented coalition of the biggest and most expensive producers, guests, and writers that money can buy.

Last Train To Paris is Diddy’s 808s & Heartbreak, a concept album teeming with hurt and anguish over lost love. Last Train differs from its obvious predecessor in that it is much more interested in making you dance than turning a magnifying glass to a broken heart. All the crestfallen woe-is-me-isms are still present, but the instrumentals underneath rarely match the wounded cynicism of their lyrical counterparts. The beats on Last Train To Paris are compelling almost unto the point of showing up the rest of the music. While Chris Brown is busy whining about love being his funeral on “Yesterday”, Mario Winans fits an echoing, descending synth sequence over cavernous bass drums and strings. “Yesterday” is one banging ass funeral. Elsewhere wonky, flatulent synths and busy hi hats adorn “Looking for Love”, and on “Strobe Lights”, a symphony of ping ponging synth sounds do all the heavy lifting while Diddy coasts over the instrumental, dropping gems like “Bitch, you don’t love me no more.” It’s his record, but he is famously good for taking a backseat to his more talented compatriots where necessary.

The man himself only maintains a spectral presence throughout the album (thankfully), popping up for the odd couplet or verse here and there. While his lyrics, as usual, range from passable to laughable, at the very least, they are always entertaining. All of this is thanks to his stable of cowriters, which, glancing at Last Train To Paris’s writing credits, includes Drake, Rick Ross, J. Cole, etc. They have pumped this record full of hilarious, self-aware zingers like “Bitch you know I’m Diddy, ho!” in “Your Love” and “I feel disgusted/ People say I’m not to be trusted.” in “Someone to Love Me.” This is a party record, and with melodies as syrupy and beats as banging as these, your enjoyment of this thing will largely depend on your ability to tune out or laugh at Diddy’s antics.

At the end of the day, this is a fun ass record, and it’s really on you as to whether you enjoy it or not. Diddy lined up all the chips, called in all the best producers, the best writers, and the most in demand guests. Yeah, the lyricism here is a joke (“Let your tongue walk on this pussy!”), barring a few choice guest spots from the likes of T.I., Lil Wayne, Biggie, etc. But really, listening to a Diddy record for the lyrics is kinda like going to Denny’s for the steak. Where they do that at? This is dance music. It is not meant to be taken seriously or held up under a microscope. It’s about grooves and vibes and tunes. Last Train To Paris has all of those in spades. Shit is state of the art. Firing on all cylinders. Take off the thinking cap and enjoy some pure, surface pop.

★★★½☆
3.5 out of 5

28 thoughts on “Diddy-Dirty Money – Last Train To Paris

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  1. Brandon Rae|

    This album needs more Da Band.

  2. lol. u funny. lil wayne can hold his own….

  3. Lil Wayne is not wack. haha. He ain’t no G.O.A.T. material, but he can hold his own when he needs to.

  4. i just think jeezy is one of the worst emcees i have ever heard.
    honestly he can’t rap.
    he’s like lil wayne. he’s wack.
    he’s an artist back in the day that would have been dissed heavily. problem is too many rappers are on his dick because he’s connected.
    worsed of all he makes shit music.

    no wonder lil wayne calls himself the greatest because the only artist he listens to is young jeezy, nicki minaj and drake.

  5. How you can like Mase and Loon but not Jeezy will remain a mystery to me.

  6. you probably won’t respond but i ain’t disagreeing with you on what a dick puffy is – and how he ruined nearly every career of every artist ever signed on bad boy.

    i just took offense to when you said after Biggies death he only signed marginally talented artists.

    now if your talking about

    Yung Joc, Boyz in da Hood(Jeezy included) , Dream, Da Band, B5, Danity Kane, Donnie Klang, and Day26

    they all sucked. 100 percent.

    but rob, dep, loon, mase, lox etc were sick emcees.

    that’s all im saying.

    the fact is im not defending diddy because i like the bloke. im defending what he had done for the game.

    i haven’t like anything diddy has done in the past 8-10 years.

    including changing his name to diddy. lol.

    and all he seems to do is jump on whats hot. and most of the times he has failed recently. with the exception of rick ross.

    the bloke’s hip hop’s biggest douche bag but i still can’t help but respect and love the puffy of the early – mid 90s who brought bad boy records to the industry.

    peace

    afan

  7. Kara-Lis Coverdale|

    Well put, Craig.

  8. I really really didn’t want to engage y’all on the entire history of Bad Boy records, but now I have to. For the record, nowhere in this review or in the comments have I mentioned the LOX, Black Rob, Shyne, or G-Dep. How can I have clowned myself for a statement I never made?

    Puff has done reputable things, and I do not knock him for them. He gets props for Faith, Mary, BIG, Craig Mack, and the LOX (even if Puff tried to DESTROY their career when they wanted to leave and even though they were, honestly, better in the Ruff Ryders camp), and for being a somewhat dominant force in East Coast rap for a couple years. He’s always had a brilliant stable of producers, and he knows what floats on the radio. His pop sensibilities are through the roof. But for every success, there’s a failure.

    The Bad Boy roster, lest we forget, also included Loon, Yung Joc, Mase, those Boyz in da Hood cats (No, I’m not knocking Jeezy.), Dream, Da Band (OK, minus Ness. He’s OK on the mic, even if .), B5, Danity Kane, Donnie Klang, and Day26. That’s a lot of washed up artists. I don’t need a history lesson on who was on Bad Boy. I remember everything.

    When you talk about a Bad Boy artist, you’re usually talking past tense. You’re usually talking about an artist who had two albums ever, tops, and really only one that anyone still checks for, if any at all. When you consider the fact that most artists that ever signed to Bad Boy either no longer have careers or left the label or were dropped, you get a picture of a record label that does more harm than good to the artists who keep the imprint in the press. That’s not a good look. Can we agree on that?

    Really doe, let’s remember that this is a review of the Dirty Money album, not a review of Diddy’s career as a label boss. Why are people so fixated on that first sentence? The point is I don’t like the guy, but I liked the album. That the album thrives off his reputation, almost. I am totally through nitpicking about Bad Boy history. I don’t care about all that stuff. From here on out, I’m not even responding unless we’re talking about the album.

    PS. If this man is such a hero and savior, how come none of y’all have heard this album a month after it dropped?

  9. But Craig I do gotta disagree man:

    The Lox are hot, always have been. You can miss me with Jada’s solo albums, but if you tell me you got Jada on the track, I’m checking for it. Styles P’s Gangster and a Gentleman is damn good too.

    I’m the only person I know who doesn’t like Mase. Can’t stand his voice. 24 Hours to Live, Lookin At Me, couple others are cool but he’s not for me.

    Black Rob, Shyne, and G-Dep have certfiable bangers in “Whoa”, “Bad Boys”, and “Let’s Get It” respectively. Those plus “Everyday” off Child of the Ghetto stay in the rotation.

  10. Yeah he saved East Coast music… BY SETTING UP TUPAC!! I SAID IT.

  11. @ Craig Jay
    back in 96, 97 yes he would have.

    and i aint talking about his lovey dovey shit. im talking about mase who had those freestyles with biggie and matched him lyrically. im talking about when mase really went lyrical he was as good if not better then jay-z — at the time.

    im sorry but you clowned yourself with that whole Mase, The Lox, G-Dep, Black Rob, Shyne, Loon are only marginally talented remark.
    and too say that you never liked anything puff has done is unbelievable.
    he had a hand in saving east coast music in the mid 90s. he’s the one that starved off death row records and west coasts dominance.

  12. @Arika
    Thanks

    @Afan
    Mase would run circles around Jay-Z? Man, stop trolling. You cannot really believe this stuff!

  13. I’m morbidly curious about this album, though Charlamagne Tha God’s take had me weak: “Nobody on the last train to Brooklyn is checkin for Last Train to Paris”

  14. I’m glad I’m not the only one who really enjoyed this album. It still gets regular play from me, even with new albums coming down the pipeline. Like Craig, I didn’t expect what I heard.

  15. OK, I don’t want to respond to all of that.

    But free G-DEP?! Dude turned himself in.

  16. “and, in the wake of BIG’s passing, trotting out a veritable army of marginally talented street rap sensations, loverman MCs, Biggie clones, and ill-fated singing groups.”

    Mase, The Lox, G-Dep, Black Rob, Shyne, Loon?????

    none of these artists were marginally talented?????? are you mad?

    Black Rob would run rings around most emcees today.

    G-Dep’s Child of the ghetto album was a monster. and is better then any hip hop album ive heard in the last couple years.

    Mase in his prime would run rings around 90 percent of emcees.
    jay-z included.

    thats why jay-z, 50 cent, kanye west have all borrowed from his style.

    Shyne released a brilliant debut album better then all of kanye west’s albums. since kanye gets alot of praise on this website.

    Loon is a great emcee too. he was very underrated.

    any rappers that can hold there own with Biggie has my respect. So The Lox are great too.

    112 were a great r&b group.

    so what are your comments based on????

    Puffys no way out album was also a great album.
    with classic tracks like :

    It’s All About The Benjamins,
    Young G’s, Victory, Been Around the World, I Love You Baby, Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down and What You Gonna Do?.

    I can’t stand puffy aswell but i know in the 90s he was king. he created the whole mixtape scene he brought biggie and the whole bad boy era. he gave us mary j blige. he was responsible for bringing us jodeci. he was souly responsible for bringing back mariah carey’s career. but sadly gave j-lo a career in music.

    i haven’t listened to this album yet and i probably won’t but i will never forget the great music that came out of this guys camp.

    i will also never forgive the dude because i think he’s responsible for hip hop’s downfall especially after he let go of g-dep, black rob and loon and mase and the lox. and screwed them all out of money. and the fact that he stopped making new york music and decided to jump on the down south bandwagon.

    and the fact that he just jumps on any new bandwagon gives me the shits.
    but for you to say you have never liked him at all for anything he’s done or brought to the game is some bullshit.

    real talk.

    P.S

    free G-Dep.

    peace.

  17. Nah. The music and the message are divergent. The album is all about loneliness and loss, but it’s pretty upbeat sonically.

  18. Kara-Lis Coverdale|

    And, so, by the way you described it, being “alone” for P Didds–at least in the expression of Last Train To Paris– is more a bangin’ party than it is a regret?

  19. It’s not about European culture, really. It’s more about being rich enough to travel the world and having no one to do it with you.

  20. Kara-Lis Coverdale|

    I suspected it might just be a meaningless and surficial attempt to tap into a vague concept of European culture and romanticism. How chic of him.

  21. The title is just meant to be extravagant.

  22. Kara-Lis Coverdale|

    What does Paris have to do with anything?

  23. @Andrew
    As someone who hasn’t heard the album yet, is that a fair assessment?

    @Mallory
    I’d say start with “Shades”. That’s if you can’t bring yourself to play the thing from start to finish.

  24. LAWD. Nothing like the sweet taste of Haterade on Sunday mornin’. What’s the most bangin’ track on the album?

    I will point out that Diddy signed Janelle Monae *and* let her make a high production concept album on Bad Boys. Holdin’ these balloons.

  25. This actually wasn’t a bad album. I admit, I was hesitant with all the star studded collabs, because that ruins the music sometimes. I was wrong about this record though, it’s pretty tough actually.

  26. HA, oh come on. I can listen to fun stuff, Diddy’s ruined his music with his shit-tacular personality.

  27. If you let your principles dictate your tastes, you will miss out on roughly half of all the fun and amazing things the world has to offer.

  28. Probably never going to listen to this…though your review has me thinking I should. Bastid.

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