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Before he was Diddy or P. Diddy, Sean Combs was “Puff Daddy,” an ambitious rap promoter who left a trail of rage and blood from the start.
Way before the bombshell lawsuit filed last week by his ex-girlfriend accusing him of trafficking, rape and physical abuse multiple times through the years, Combs’ life and career was marked by high-profile beefs, arrests, court dates, and accusations from women and business associates.
But he’s never seemed to pay a big price – until now, as he settled the lawsuit from singer Cassie for an undisclosed sum a day after it was filed.
The hashtag #SurvivingDiddy was trending on X Saturday, with a number of people predicting that more women will come forward with accusations against Combs, who now goes by “Love,” in the days ahead.
Past acquaintances such as Kimora Lee Simmons and Diddy’s ex-girlfriend Gina Huynh have accused Combs of assaulting them.
Singer Aubrey O’Day has said she was fired from the group Danity Kane because she “wasn’t willing to do what was expected of [her] — not talent-wise, but in other areas.”
“He’s always seemed to be made of Teflon, he’s usually emerged unscathed from all sorts of situations,” Zack O’Malley Greenburg, author of “3 Kings: Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z and Hip Hop’s Multi-Billion Rise,” told The Post Saturday.
“He’s always been extremely charismatic and that’s helped him get himself out of scrapes. He’s always walked a fine line. He grew up in Mount Vernon but his dad was a gangster from Harlem.”
In Dec. 1991, when Combs was only 22 and an intern at Uptown Records, the tone was set for some of the violence that would follow him throughout his career when a charity basketball game he was overseeing with Heavy D at a City University of New York gym in Harlem turned into a stampede that killed nine people.
A judge later ruled that Combs and Heavy D, whose real name is Dwight Myers, were responsible for the tragedy.
In the mid-1990s, Combs, then head of Bad Boy Records, was at the center of a deadly feud with West Coast rappers, primarily Suge Knight and Death Row Records.
The beef began with a rivalry between Biggie Smalls, who was signed to Combs’ label, and Tupac Shakur, who was signed to Death Row. Both men wound up murdered – Shakur in Sept. 1996 and Smalls in March 1997.
In April 1999, when Combs had become a full-fledged hip hop mogul, he was busted for allegedly bashing record executive Steve Stoute with a champagne bottle because Stoute used unauthorized footage of Combs in a music video.
The two reconciled after Combs paid Stoute $500,000. Combs, who had faced seven years behind bars, was sentenced to only a day of anger management.
Later that same year, Combs, his then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez and his and his protégé rapper Shyne got into an argument with another patron at Club New York in Times Square and gunfire broke out.
Both Shyne and Combs were arrested and charged in connection with the incident. Combs, whose legal team included O.J. Simpson’s future attorney Johnnie Cochran, skated. Shyne was sentenced to ten years in prison.
Combs’ driver at the time, Wardel Fenderson, testified at the time that he’d been warned not to take the job because Combs was “very arrogant, very demanding, has a very, very hot temper and some acquaintances of a bad nature.”
Cassie, whose real name is Casandra Ventura, and Combs had an on-and-off relationship for more than a decade before their split in 2018.
In the federal suit, she claimed Diddy also forced her to have sex with sex workers while he filmed, directed and masturbated. He denied the claims.
Both sides “resolved the claims … to their mutual satisfaction,” Cassie’s lawyer announced Friday without disclosing the terms of the settlement.
Diddy’s longtime attorney, Ben Brafman, denied all the allegations against his client, and insisted the recent settlement doesn’t mean Combs is guilty of the accusations.
“One of the concerns we often need to deal with whenever a celebrity has been unfairly targeted in a very public manner are additional claims that seem to materialize out of nowhere; claims that are relatively easy to make but may have no basis in fact whatsoever,” Brafman told The Post.
“Just so we’re clear, a decision to settle a lawsuit, especially in 2023, is in no way an admission of wrongdoing. Mr. Combs‘ decision to settle the lawsuit does not in any way undermine his flat-out denial of the claims. He is happy they got to a mutual settlement and wishes Ms. Ventura the best.”