Diddy-Dirty Money – Last Train To Paris
3 stars out of 5
Diddy’s greatest enemy, and at the same time greatest attribute, is himself.
This has never been exemplified so fully on any of his other albums than on Last Train To Paris, his latest album under the moniker of Diddy-Dirty Money, which he just released with the aid of ex-Danity Kane member Dawn Richards, and seemingly unknown singer/songwriter Kalenna. Dirty Money’s name I’m sure has some long drawn out explanation which we don’t care about; however, it’s been more interesting seeing all the puns derived from their name than it has been to actually hear all their singles.
However, I like many of my fellow bloggers, music critics, and the public at large may have given Diddy the short end of the ticket stub prematurely. And it’s not because the album is great – it’s not. However, Diddy, king of the ego and better at crafting the marketing plans and promotion deals behind the records than he is at actually making the music for said albums, has struck again. Diddy has an ear for talent, and for producing in the traditional sense, an album. Last Train To Paris is a surprisingly cohesive body of work, and would be even more so enjoyable if it came in two different editions:
Sans Diddy, and an instrumental album alone.
Diddy’s raps border on asinine, inconsequential, nonsensical, and downright embarrassing at points. He attempts to sing, rap, dance, and executive produce all over this album, and you can guess which one from that list he should have stuck with. His shadow over the majority of the album is often a bone of contention, but he wisely balances this out with a superstar cast of guest appearances. Dawn & Kalenna drive the album wholly, yet somehow manage to play the background, which is some form of mastery in and of itself. Dawn’s presence is largely more noticeable then Kalenna’s, but I’m sure each had their hand in the process behind the scenes.
Overall, the album is enjoyable musically. Diddy puts a great team together that merges effortlessly 90% of the time a blending of genres who sample, twang, pluck, and synthesize a bevy of house/electro/hip-hop/R&B/pop sounds. The beds themselves are great, it’s just the raps and other miscellaneous content laid down on them by Diddy that muddy their purity, so to speak.
Standout tracks include the “Yeah Yeah You Would”, which features the iconic Grace Jones and starts the album off right, “Someone To Love Me”, “Yesterday”, which features Chris Brown, “Shades” which features soulful singer Bilal in a great fit for him and also Justin Timberlake, who “gets his Drake on”, “Strobe Lights”, and of course, “Loving You No More” which features Drake.
In its entirety, the Last Train To Paris album is a complete body of work that has a storyline that it is loosely based around. Broken into singles, it seemed a bit overreaching, but sequentially, it makes much more sense. Diddy’s attempt at an opus sadly would have been more successful if he wasn’t so interested in being at the forefront of it as a performer.