Good hip-hop producers create hot beats, beats you can dance to, rhyme over, remember. Great hip-hop producers, however, create a sound. They have a point of view. If you didn't know that before, you will definitely know that now, once you catch any of the fourteen tracks that make up Press Play, Diddy's dazzling new Bad Boy/Atlantic Records release.
Guest stars include Ciara and Big Boi who intone on "Wanna Move", also "Makin' It Hard," featuring Mary J. Blige, which is nothing less than a beautifully percussive hip-hop version of the Blues There a clutch of straight-up party records, like the sensuous single "Come to Me" and "I Am", "Diddy Rock," featuring Timbaland, mixes deep house cheekiness with a hip-hop sensibility, creating a vibe that transcends both, sounding like it's of the 80s yet not from the 80s. "The Future" is almost a political statement, detailing aspects of what Diddy calls the "Afro-American dream" that's as uplifting and powerful as it is dazzlingly danceable. "Special Feeling" is the best Prince track Prince hasn't made in years, a horny, corny slice of wry the percolates with jazzy freshness. "Thought You Said," featuring a guest vocal by Brandy, plays like Coldplay or David Gray lost in a hip-hop funhouse of sorts.