Missed Stop: Last Train to Paris

A couple of weeks ago I was inspired by Diddy’s IG to revisit his 2010 album Last Train to Paris. Having only been six years ago, this project was way ahead of its time.

 

I first genuinely got into Diddy-Dirty money from the mixtape Love Love vs. Hate Love released in 2011, a few months removed from their debut album. The group consists of Diddy, Dawn Richards (from Danity Kane) and Kalenna Harper. Their sound resided with me and stood out amongst most of the content form that era. Songs like “Ass on the Floor,” (my jam) were often triumphant and surprisingly therapeutic. Last Train to Paris was one of the first products of the paradigm shift that was 808s & Heartbreak. They borrowed from the Yeezy archetype and mixed it with EDM grooves to push the sonic adventure forward.

This project has been deemed a concept album on multiple occasions. The idea behind that being a journey to find love lost. The title provides more indication of where that love is and the urgency to get it back. Here we find Diddy more vulnerable than he has ever been on record. That level of exposure keeps the content raw and unapologetically honest. Diddy is still very-much-so Diddy, but I have never felt more of a connection to anything else in his discography except “Last Night,” featuring Keyshia Cole (with Part 2 ironically featured on the deluxe version). All the feels are packed into a tour throughout different stages of the protagonist’s relationship, with Dawn and Kalenna giving their takes from various perspectives.

There are so many features on this album but there is no point where any of them feel invasive or interrupt the flow of the record. The variety of producers come together well without stepping on each other’s toes. They work similarly to an ensemble cast and contribute diversity to the sound. I enjoyed what each of them brought to the table, notably Chris Brown and Usher. There doesn’t seem to be too much of a dependency on these other artists because of how well Diddy-Dirty Money remains in the foreground. Diddy uses rapping as a mode much more than a skill here to deliver his side of things until Dirty money comes in and interweaves their vocals into the lining of the track.

This album had six singles, with “Coming Home” raking in the most success. Appropriately referred to as a “cult classic,” the album seems to have a polarizing effect on its audience. When I listen through today, I don’t approach it with a genre in mind. Genres in the hip-hop and R&B world were just starting to really blur their lines back then and the EDM realm door was barely cracked for collaboration. Furthermore, everything always goes back to the sound, which was extremely experimental. So depending on your music exposure you either loved it or shrugged it off as nothing special. The world is even smaller musically than it was six years ago and I believe Last Train to Paris will resonate a lot better than it would have back then.

So don’t miss that train:

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