Clive Davis says working with a 23-year-old Diddy convinced him that hip hop could be a mainstream success. The legendary musical director is known for launching the careers of Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys and many more.

Davis discussed the rise of hip hop and how Diddy convinced him it would happen during an appearance on the High School Rock & Roll With Pete Ganbarg Podcast.

Clive Davis, Diddy
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“Puffy was 23 and I knew the artists I had — Aretha, Dionne, Whitney — were a genre of music,” Davis said in the interview. “LaFace ushered in blue-collar R&B in its heyday. But, sensing the Hip Hop revolution, Los Angeles and I agreed that we could use someone really street tuned. You have to know what you can do for yourself, and you have to know when to turn to other people.

He continued, “When I met Puffy, he explained that hip-hop should be in the Top 40 and the business would change in the future. And I said ‘What do you have to illustrate this point?’ and he played me ‘Flava in Your Ear’ by Craig Mack and he played me the then unknown artist he felt and believed so strongly. He played me four or five songs from Notorious BIG”

After being convinced, Davis says he helped introduce Diddy to the right leaders in music who could help usher in “the next Hip Hop revolution.”

Check out Davis’ interview with Pete Ganbarg below.