On the song “Bad Boy For Life,” Diddy infamously rhymed “Don’t worry if I write rhymes / I write checks.” Since then, emcees such as Pharoahe Monch and Royce Da 5’9” have confirmed being contracted to pen verses for Diddy. However, in a recent interview with New York magazine, Diddy says some of the work for Last Train To Paris was so personal that he had to abandon his practice of being given rhymes verbatim.
“Before, mostly, I would sit in the room and I wouldn’t even do any writing,” he told New York magazine’s Amos Barshad. “But at the same time, I couldn’t just do that cop-out. I call Mos Def, he says, ‘I’m not writing for you, you write for yourself, ‘cause you can do it.’ And that’s what got me.”
Diddy said the personal nature of songs such as “Coming Home,” which openly touches on his family life, made it impossible to just have songs handed to him. He added that Dirty Money was modeled after British R&B outfit Loose Ends, and the “flavor and swagger” of Dawn Richard and Kalenna Harper also made it difficult to have them sing pre-written singles. As such, some of the songwriting on Last Train To Paris took a long time.
“This was like sculpting a work of art,” Diddy explained. [Jay-Z and I] worked on ‘Coming Home’ for a month. One month. One record. That man got other shit to do. That’s the way he is with records. It don’t matter what it’s for, he gonna make it be the best record that it can be.”
While Drake, Rick Ross and Jay-Z all helped with the lyrics, Diddy said this album contains the most lyrics he’s ever co-written in his life.
“I get the idea of the song, I go in the studio, I mumble the melody, I put down a couple of catchphrases, I work it as far as I can,” Diddy said. “And then I bring in a co-writer that’s good for the song. A Drake, or a Rick Ross, or even a Jay-Z. I guess I’m blessed with the opportunity, like a singer, that can work with other songwriters. In rap it hasn’t necessarily been cool, but I think that’s my own allegiance to the song. If somebody could help me make the song better, I don’t really care what other people think.”