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As a young man Sean "Puffy" Combs majored in business administration at Howard University, producing weekly dance parties and running an airport shuttle service while attending classes. He dropped out to pursue an internship at Uptown Records, which led to a talent director position. Combs rapidly rose to the level of vice president and had success producing several key artists for Uptown, but left the company in the early 1990s.

In 1993, Combs started his own production company, Bad Boy Entertainment, working with such upcoming and established rap, hip-hop, and R&B recording artists as Mariah Carey, New Edition, Method Man, Babyface, TLC, Boyz II Men, Lil' Kim, SWV, Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans and Biggie Smalls. In 1996, Combs was named as ASCAP's "Songwriter of the Year." By 1997, Bad Boy Entertainment had sold nearly $100 million in recordings, and made a multimillion-dollar deal with Arista Records for management of the label.

After his friend, Biggie Smalls, was murdered in 1997, Combs recorded the tribute "I'll be Missing You," which topped the Billboard singles chart for eleven weeks and launched Combs's first album, No Way Out (1997), to platinum status. Nielsen SoundScan named No Way Out as the third best-selling LP of 1997, with more than 3.4 million copies sold in the United States. Combs released his second album, Forever, in 1999.

In 2002, Combs released We Invented the Remix followed by Bad Boy’s 10th Anniversary...The Hits in 2004. Though his Bad Boy music label was seriously slumping, it found new life with Combs's 2006 release Press Play, which featured Brandy, Mary J. Blige and Timbaland. artists in the world and in 2005 released his self-titled debut album which quickly found its way into the charts. Working with established producers and songwriters, he had a No. 1 hit with "Run It!,", the track featured a guest appearance by rapper Juelz Santana. While many of the songs have a hip-hop influence, Brown's voice has a classic R&B sound, people were quick to compare him to superstar Michael Jackson because of his dual talents as a singer and dancer.

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