August 05, 2014

An Open Letter From Sean "Puffy" Combs to Vibe (1996)

In August, 1996, Puff Daddy took out a full page ad in VIBE. The ad pictured above was an open letter addressing the rivalry between Bad Boy and Death Row Records. It was ultimately an attempt to quell tensions and dismiss the (false) narrative that there was a war between the East and the West Coast. The letter says, "While it may be true that there exists a creative battle between East Coast and West Coast music culture, in my mind, anyone promoting an angry war between the coasts or promoting wrong information is simply not for the cause of hip-hop." Feeling that his label had been victim to such misinformation, he adds, "This negative perception that has been perpetuated for the masses will not get in the way of my vision. Any animosity that has occurred between Bad Boy and Death Row should not be a catalyst for East Coast-West Coast rivalry... It is no secret that we compete musically. We are both struggling to be power brokers in an industry where black men do not comprise the majority of decision makers. But it is also true that no coast should have a monopoly on hip-hop music ... My dream will not be deferred by deadly rumors and falsified information. I cannot stand by and watch hip-hop culture disintegrate or be deemed as "dangerous" or "temporary." Bad Boy, a musical operation founded on merit, diligence, and integrity will not be misrepresented or fictionalized." In closing, Puff adds "...the music will speak for itself and will always be based on artistic merit. A loose tongue ultimately has an empty mouth." We could estimate this letter was written roughly 2 months before 2Pac was shot and killed (9/13/96). The September 1996 cover of Vibe Mag featured B.I.G. and Puff with the words East vs. West! R.I.P.