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What year is it again?

The September issue of Vanity Fair has an unusual cover subject: Sean “Puffy” Combs, 90s record mogul, who is a nice guy but as not part of 2021 as possible.

The cover line for the issue: Party Like It’s 1999. Why? Who knows? (The September issue usually kicks off the fall season. Is VF telling us there is no fall season? I think so. )

Combs has made a fortune, mostly from his association with Ciroc Vodka. He hasn’t had any kind of hit record in more than a decade, or longer. His celebrity heyday is long over. (No offense, that’s almost a good thing.)

The piece is so in depth that it lacks mention of his music mentor, Clive Davis, who put Combs’s Bad Boy Records on the map 20 plus years ago; or Ron Burkle, who staked him in his Sean John clothing line. Also omitted is Shyne, the rapper who went to jail for Combs after his famous trial. You may recall when Jennifer Lopez, aka JLo, dated Puffy. They were involved in a shoot out in a Times Square nightclub before going on the lam. Also brushed from this story is Puffy’s famous Champagne bottle attack on rap exec Steve Stoute.

And where is the outrage? Puffy gave a speech at Davis’s 2020 pre-Grammy dinner putting the Grammys on notice, giving them one year to change or else. That might have been a hook here. Alas not.

Yes, Vanity Fair is really doubling down on investigation journalism. The big news is Puffy is changing his name to Sean “Love” Combs and is starting an R&B label, whatever that means.

Meantime, Vanity Fair’s circulation is in the dumps, both on the newsstand and digitally. I’m sure this cover story should fix things.

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