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With everything that Diddy's done, it can be easy to forget that he has an incredible production pedigree - one that very few people can touch. Production was the first thing that really brought him acclaim and, along with his handpicked team of producers, he created a sound that led to impressive sales and that I've always enjoyed. One of the marks of a Bad Boy album was always the in house production - something that was true from the very beginning all the way into the mid 2000s, where Bad Boy production would dominate most albums that were released.

But, something happened in 2004. It's hard to know what, but the production of albums changed. Mase came back and, instead of embracing what had made him known, decided to hand Bad Boy an album produced by a group of people that hadn't worked on any Bad Boy album ever released - and haven't worked on any since.

Since then, we've had "One Love", "Bad Boy's R&B Hits", "Boyz N Da Hood", "B5", "The Black Rob Report", "Duets: The Final Chapter", "New Joc City", "Cassie", "Danity Kane", "Christian Daniel", "Press Play", "Greatest Hits", "Ridin High", "Hustlenomics", "Don't Talk, Just Listen", "Welcome to the Zoo" and "Back Up N Da Chevy". The result? Much, much too little in the way of new material produced by Diddy and The Hitmen.

The albums from Boyz N Da Hood, Yung Joc, Christian Daniel and Gorilla Zoe featured no Bad Boy production at all while most others featured no more than a track or two. And, coincidentally, most of the albums I liked, as a whole, were the ones that featured more in house production - not less.

Even beyond producing Bad Boy albums, Combs used to frequently produce for other people. Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Usher, Jay-Z, Lil' Kim, SWV, Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J, MC Lyte and many, many others. And let's not forget about the remixes - there are so many awesome Bad Boy remixes out there.

Somehow, they got away from this. Somehow, Diddy got away from production. Why? A decision to focus on other ventures seems a likely cause. Perhaps he simply became burnt out and needed a break. Whatever it was, I've noticed that my personal liking of the music that is being created has gone down as the level of Bad Boy production has, generally speaking. (Of the albums listed above, excluding the compilations of mostly already released material, I liked "One Love", "Duets: The Final Chapter", "Danity Kane" and "Press Play" as complete albums).

Are these days simply over? Though I've held out hope, it seems like it could very well be going that way. However, the recent news of Diddy getting back into the booth for Jay-Z and Nas have made me think that maybe, just maybe, he might be shifting back. Is it just him helping out a couple legendary buddies? Or, is there something more? Could we see a return to Bad Boy's roots?

A strong start to this could be the upcoming "We Invented the Remix II" and Mario Winans' projects that almost certainly guarantee to be produced in majority by Diddy and The Hitmen (past and present). Likewise, Cheri Dennis' album seems to be one that may fall into that category, reportedly having tracks produced by Diddy and Buckwild. It also seems like the type of album that Mario Winans would be producing on.

It would be great to see Diddy get back in the booth for Aasim and LOS and churn out albums produced in house with an eye on the formulas that created The Hitmen produced albums of the past. Who knows what will happen, but Diddy getting into the booth can only mean good things and his work on the upcoming Jay-Z and Nas albums lends some hope to the belief that it could happen.