Talking hip-hop beefs with Diddy tell-all author Mark Curry, who's in Tampa Monday

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April

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As an artist signed to Bad Boy Records, Mark Curry rapped on songs with the Notorious B.I.G., appeared in big budget music videos and rubbed shoulders with hip hop’s elite.

His ultimate goal: A chance to write and debut his own album.

But when a combination of bad business agreements with label owner Sean “Diddy” Combs and personal choices got in the way of that, he turned to a different type of writing.

The result was Dancing with the Devil: How Puff Burned the Bad Boys of Hip Hop.

In the explosive cautionary tell-all, Curry, 39, delves into the hip hop beef that ultimately resulted in the deaths of rappers Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. and portrays Combs -- one of the most powerful people in hip hop -- as an economic opportunist with little interest in helping his artist get ahead.

Curry is in town Monday to talk about his book at the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus. He'll speak in Room 3709 of the Marshall Student Center at 8:30 p.m.

Last week, tbt* caught up with him for a short interview.

When you first signed to Bad Boy, where did you see your music career going?

All the way to the top as an entertainer and rapper. I saw me being able to feed my family, pay my bills on time and all kinds of good stuff. But that’s not what happened.

You make a lot of allegations against Puff in the book. Has there been much backlash against you from his camp?

One thing about the truth is that it can’t be denied. Nobody’s coming after me, but Puffy did draw a line between me and my friends like (producer) Dallas Austin. It’s like they’re afraid to speak to me now because it’s like speaking to me would ruin their relationship with Puff.

Where did the courage come from to stand up and write this book?

I saw a circle of individuals that were in control. I thought that good music spoke for itself, but then I realized it wasn’t the music that spoke, it was the business and the politics behind the music. Somebody has to stand up to that power.

Why didn’t you get your own lawyer before signing the contract with him?

When we first started working you would have no feeling that Puff was trying to take anything from you. You trusted him.

What’s the ultimate lesson you’d like people to learn from this book?

The music industry is not designed for you to have the power to pick up the microphone and say what you want to say and become successful. The industry is not meant for you as a artist to get ahead, to have power and happiness. So, you may have a lot of money, but not be happy with the things you had to do to get the money.

-- Nicole Hutcheson, tbt*

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:18pm]

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