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In 1993, after being fired from Uptown, Combs established Bad Boy Records, taking then-newcomer The Notorious B.I.G. with him. Both The Notorious B.I.G. and Craig Mack quickly released hit singles, followed by similarly successful LPs, particularly The Notorious B.I.G.'s Ready to Die. Combs began signing more acts to Bad Boy, including Carl Thomas, Faith Evans, Father MC, 112 and Total, as well as producing for Jodeci, Mary J. Blige, Usher, Lil' Kim, TLC, Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, SWV, Aretha Franklin, and others, and forming The Hitmen, an in-house production team.

Mase and D-Block (then known as "The L.O.X.") joined Bad Boy just as a widely publicized rivalry with the West Coast's Death Row Records was beginning. Combs and The Notorious B.I.G. were criticized and parodied by Tupac Shakur and Suge Knight in songs and interviews during the mid-1990s. During 1994–1995, he also helped produce songs for TLC's CrazySexyCool, which was the decade's best-selling R&B album. Songs he helped produced include "If I Was Your Girlfriend" and "Can I Get A Witness"

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