Diddy has always had an interest in dance music. His Diddy Dirty Money project paired super-sleek Europhile production with American R&B vocals and a light dusting of rap that stood up surprisingly well in hindsight.
But 11 11, his new project with the Israeli-born producer Guy Gerber, is a purebred techno record.
It's also a lot more subtle than one might expect from one of rap's flashiest impresarios. "My Heart," the debut single from the four-years-in-the-making project, is a slow-cooking, ethereal track more befitting the 5 a.m. shift in one of the upstairs bedrooms at Diddy's white party than any Miami club rager. You can hear it online.
On the track, Gerber's cloudy snyth chords roll over a diced-up disco bass line, while Diddy's un-showy verse raps anchor the song. There's a surprising air of late-night melancholy here, and the whole thing fits more obviously into Gerber's catalog than that of his celebrity collaborator.
If you didn't know this was half a Diddy record, there'd be no reason to suspect such -- and that's probably the point.
Will the after-hours reinvention of one of rap's most outsized personalities finally stick? Will this vault Gerber into the upper tiers of pop-crossover producers, and get a deep-house sound on mainstream rap radio?
Who knows. But for now 11 11 has a very accomplished debut single, and fans of each have every reason to suspend disbelief and give it a serious shot. Moguls can cut checks, but no one can buy a truly good single of their own. This is one of them.