Last week, Sean “Diddy” Combs published a tweet that had the Internet abuzz. And it appears it was all a joke.
A 2018 interview with Sting on “The Breakfast Club” resurfaced and went viral with the rock star saying that Combs pays him $2,000 a day for using a song he wrote, “Every Breath You Take,” as a sample for the Biggie tribute song “I’ll Be Missing You.” As the video was re-shared on several social media platforms, Combs went on Twitter and posted that he actually was paying Sting $5,000 a day by saying “Nope. 5K a day. Love to my brother @OfficialSting.”
Combs’ tweet also went viral with over 5,000 retweets and 38,000 likes. In addition, several media outlets carried the tweet as online content.
Turns out, now Combs is saying his tweet was actually a joke.
“I want y’all to understand I was joking,” Combs tweeted a few days later. “It’s called being facetious! Me and @OfficialSting have been friends for a long time! He never charged me $3K or $5K a day for ‘Missing You.’ He probably makes more than $5K a day from one of the biggest songs in history.”
A Look At The Original and The Sample
Sting wrote and recorded “Every Breath You Take” as a member of The Police in 1983; it is considered the band’s signature song. In 1983, it was the number-one hit in both the United States and Canada, staying at the number 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks. The song won two Grammy Awards–Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
In 1997, Combs produced a tribute to the late rapper Notorious B.IG. Featuring the rapper’s then wife, Faith Evans, and the R&B group 112, “I’ll Be Missing You” heavily sampled Sting’s “Every Breath You Take.” The song reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained there for 11 weeks. In addition, the song won the Grammy Award for the Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
However, Diddy did not get legal permission to sample the song before its release. As a result, Sting sued and was awarded 100 percent of the song’s royalties. Sting earns an estimated $2,000 a day in royalties, according to Paper.
Sting heard about the sample after the fact.
“Elton John told me, ‘You gotta hear (“I’ll Be Missing You”), you’re gonna be a millionaire!’ ” Sting told Rolling Stone in 2003. “I put a couple of my kids through college with the proceeds, and me and P. Diddy are good pals still.”
Nevertheless, there’s no bad blood between Combs and Sting — and there hasn’t been for years. In 1997, Sting performed “I’ll Be Missing You” with Combs, Evans and 112 at the MTV Awards.