Sean “Diddy” Combs’ road to triumph and transcendency began with tragedy.

His father, a street hustler named Melvin, was murdered in 1972 in New York City’s Central Park when Combs was just 3 years old. Combs’ mother, Janice, moved the family from Harlem to a suburb of New York City just north of the Bronx. As an adolescent, he soaked up the rising hip-hop scene in ’80s Harlem. At a party in Beverly Hills, Calif., a few years ago, Combs (who is now known by the sobriquet “Diddy”) tells of how many haters discounted his dreams of making it big time in the hip-hop game.

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