Coming Home (Diddy – Dirty Money song)
Skylar Grey singles chronology
“Coming Home” is a song by American rapper and producer Diddy and his group Dirty Money, from their debut album Last Train to Paris (2010). It was released on November 21, 2010, as the album’s fourth single. The contemporary hip-hop pop song was written by Jermaine Cole, Diddy, Jay-Z, Alex da Kid, and Skylar Grey. Kid and Jay-Z produced the song while Grey featured vocals on the song’s chorus. Jay-Z and Kid gifted the song to Diddy for Last Train to Paris. Autobiographically written, “Coming Home” is inspired by moments in Diddy’s life, the loss of his close friend The Notorious B.I.G., and references to classic songs by Dionne Warwick, McFadden & Whitehead, and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles.
Critics praised the redemptive ballad for the personal themes and lyrics which were a snapshot of Diddy’s life. Praise was also given for Grey’s soft vocals which complemented the warmth of the song. An accompanying music video, directed by Rich Lee, follows the trio wandering through the desert in search of home only to find burned belongings and the shell of a home. Singled out as one of the album’s highlights, “Coming Home” was promoted with live TV performances including at the American Music Awards on November 21, 2010, the WWE Tribute to the Troops concert, and the March 10, 2011 episode of American Idol which marked the first live performance of the song featuring Skylar Grey. The song is also one of the theme songs for WWE WrestleMania 29.
To date, “Coming Home” is Diddy-Dirty Money’s most successful single and the highest charting single from Last Train to Paris. Aside from amassing one million digital sales, it peaked at number eleven on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number nine in Canada. Internationally, the single topped both Belgium Ultratip charts and the Swiss Singles Chart, as well as reaching top five in the UK. This comes in addition to breaking onto the A-playlists on British urban music radio and mainstream radio, and topping the UK R&B Singles chart for three consecutive weeks.
- 1 Inspiration and composition
- 2 Critical reception
- 3 Chart performance
- 4 Music video
- 4.1 Background
- 4.2 Synopsis
- 4.3 Reception
- 5 Live performances and usage in media
- 6 Track listing
- 7 Credits and personnel
- 8 Charts and certifications
- 8.1 Weekly charts
- 8.2 Year-end charts
- 8.3 Certifications
- 9 Radio and release history
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Inspiration and composition
“Coming Home” is a downtempo hip-hop and pop song, that opens with a “simple piano intro” and a “delicate vocal verse from Skylar Grey”. It was written by Diddy, Skylar Grey, Jay-Z, J. Cole, and Alex “da Kid” Grant, and produced by Jay-Z and Grant. When speaking to Kid about what he wanted, Diddy said, “I want a beat that makes me feel like a white man in a basement in Atlanta”. Diddy later called “Coming Home” a gift from Jay-Z and Kid. According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com, by EMI Music Publishing, the song was written in the key of D major with a time signature of common time and a tempo of 69 beats per minute. It follows the basic chord progression of G–D–Bm–F♯m. Jayson Rodriguez of MTV noted that the concept and theme of the song were similar to events in Diddy’s life, “referencing mistakes he has made in the past and that he wants to put behind him.” Rodriguez also noted the song’s tribute to The Notorious B.I.G., in the line “I miss you, B.I.G.” The chorus features vocals from the group’s female members, Kalenna Harper and Dawn Richard, as well as background vocals from fellow Bad Boy Records recording artist Cassie. The trio use a vocal range of A3–A4. Grey also sings some of the vocals, predominately during the song’s opening chorus.
Rap-Up magazine reflected on the lyrics of the song, calling them a personal reflection of Diddy’s life and career thanks to lines like “What am I ‘posed to do when the club lights come on/ It’s easy to be Puff, but it’s harder to be Sean/ What if my twins ask why I ain’t married their mom?” Scott Schetler from AOL Radio Blog noted how Diddy referenced a different popular song in each verse. Lamb particularly noted the strong autobiographical lyrics, and the references to the 1979 hit song “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” by McFadden & Whitehead. Other songs referenced include Dionne Warwick’s “A House Is Not a Home” (1964) and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles’ “The Tears of a Clown” (1970). Rodriguez said “Diddy do[es] some soul-searching in his rhymes as the chorus echoes his need for salvation.”
Lamb compared the song to Diddy’s early releases, saying that “‘Coming Home’ [welcomes] Diddy back to the upper ranks of pop-oriented hip hop artists”. Additionally, Diddy told MTV that although the track had autobiographical elements, it was part of the album’s “conceptual love story narrated by his character”. When asked by Live Lounge’s Trevor Nelson what “Coming Home” was based on, Diddy said:
“Coming Home” goes to everybody out there who’s going through a struggle or obstacle. I’ve been lost in life, I’m still lost in life in these sense of trying to find your way back to that person who your grandmother or father wanted you to be. Sometimes you get lost through drug addiction or you break up with up your partner or remission from cancer etc. you struggle to find your way back to yourself. That’s what “Coming Home” is about.
Upon release, “Coming Home” was generally met with a positive reception from music critics, who praised the autobiographical lyrics and composition of Skylar Grey’s vocals with the Alex da Kid and Jay-Z production. Becky Bain of Idolator wrote, “We have to give some credit to Diddy (or Jay-Z, if he did indeed write [the lyrics]) for dropping some truly introspective lyrics instead of the usual not-so-subtle Cîroc vodka promotions. Simon Vozick-Levinson from Entertainment Weekly agreed, and noted “Coming Home” as one of Last Train to Paris’ highlights, saying it was a “must download” as the album’s only “redemptive ballad”. Jim Farber of the New York Daily News also noted the song’s redemptive themes. He said ‘Coming Home’ is the “only song which breaks the flow” of Last Train to Paris, “Diddy confesses to everything from bad parenting to fear of commitment. It’s an interesting moment but an unnecessary one.”
Meanwhile, About.com’s Bill Lamb awarded the song four out of five stars, calling it the first “pop hit single” in a long time “[which] matches the size of his public persona”. He praised the “beautifully sung chorus by Skylar Grey” and Diddy’s deep “autobiographical lyrics”. Lamb noted that the song “didn’t have the same intensity of emotional impact” other Alex da Kid productions (Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie”) but it did “deliver a warmth and sense of hope that is a good match with the current holiday season.” A reviewer from Sound Savvy said “The latest single ‘Coming Home’ is another example of some of the great work found on the album. … it’s a heartfelt anthem of triumph and survival – somber but not depressing.”
“Coming Home” premiered on October 31, 2010, just prior to the fourth game of the Baseball World Series. It made its U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart debut at number sixty-one on December 11, 2010, three weeks after its release. In its third week on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, the single experienced a 92% increase in sales, which amounted to 65,000 copies. As a result, the song vaulted from number forty-four to number seventeen on the Digital Songs chart causing the single to move from number fifty-one to twenty-four on the Billboard Hot 100. The song peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot Digital Songs chart, number nine on the U.S. Pop Songs, number seven on the Canadian Hot 100 chart, and number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also peaked at number fifteen on the Radio Songs. Consequently, “Coming Home” outperformed all of the group’s previous singles on the Hot 100 and Digital Songs charts. Additionally, “Coming Home” also peaked higher than two of the three songs mentioned in the lyrics. “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” by McFadden & Whitehead reached number thirteen, while Dionne Warwick’s “A House Is Not a Home” only reached number seventy-nine. The song experience some crossover success, including on the Rap Songs chart where it reached number twenty-one. By the end of January 2011, “Coming Home” had sold one million digital copies in the United States. It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on April 19 and 2× platinum on May 17, 2011.
Internationally, the single got off to a strong start in Belgium, debuting on both the Flanders Tip and Wallonia Tip charts at number twenty-six. “Coming Home” would later top both Tip charts, before impacting on the main Ultratop charts. On the Flanders Ultratop Singles chart, the song peaked at number seventeen, while on the Wallonia chart it peaked at number twenty-seven. “Coming Home” debuted in Switzerland at number forty-eight, and dropped seven places to number fifty-five in its second week. In its third week, the single rose fifteen places to number forty, and then continued to rise, eventually reaching number one on the Swiss Singles Chart. As a result of reaching number one, “Coming Home” is Diddy’s highest charting single in Switzerland in fourteen years; his last number one in Switzerland was “I’ll Be Missing You” with Faith Evans and 112 in 1997. “Coming Home” made its Australian Singles Chart debut at number forty-nine and is thus the first single from Diddy-Dirty Money to chart within the top-fifty. It is since peaked at number four, and number two on the Australian Urban Singles Chart. The single had equal success in Germany, peaking at number four for two weeks.
“Coming Home” was also successful in other territories too, also peaking in the top-ten in Austria, France, Ireland, New Zealand and Poland. On December 15, 2010 the single was added to the playlists on British mainstream radio and a week later to the playlists on British urban music radio. Following its release, “Coming Home” debuted at number four on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Diddy’s most successful single in that country since 2006’s “Come to Me” with Nicole Scherzinger. Additionally the single topped the UK R&B Chart and as a consequence, “Coming Home” is Diddy-Dirty Money’s most successful single in the United Kingdom. In its second week, the single held on to its position of number four on the singles chart, which came in addition to maintaining its position at the top of the UK R&B Singles chart for three consecutive weeks. According to a press release by Interscope Records, as of March 25, 2011, “Coming Home” has sold 1.8 million digital downloads worldwide.
The accompanying music video made its worldwide premiere through E! Online on November 29, 2010. It was filmed entirely in the Mojave Desert, just outside Palm Springs, CA. The video was the first of three released in the three weeks counting down to the album’s release. Album cuts “Somebody to Love Me” and “Ass on the Floor” (featuring Swizz Beatz) received video releases on December 10 and December 13, respectively. “Coming Home” was directed by Rich Lee and according to Steven Gottlieb, of Video Static, the theme drew comparisons to some of Diddy’s earliest work. “‘Coming Home’ has Diddy choppering onto a dry lake bed which is dotted by the charred remains of a luxurious lifestyle.”
A scene from the middle of the video, where Diddy enters the burnt remains of a home, while singing about moments of his life. The two female members of the group, (Dawn and Kalenna) walk the landscape outside.
“Coming Home” starts with scenes of a black helicopter flying over the desert. In some of the shots, Diddy can be seen looking out on to the horizon. As the song progresses into its main verses, the camera follows Diddy walking through the desert. In the background and foreground, the fire-damaged remnants of a home such as a TV set, fur coats and a stereo system are scattered across the landscape. During the chorus Dawn Richard and Kalenna Harper take place in front of the camera, walking behind Diddy miming Grey’s words. Later in the clip, during the second verse, Diddy sits in a burned out building singing to himself. Outside, a burned out vehicle is parked. Then during the song’s bridge, red smoke surrounds Diddy as the helicopter, from the opening scene, comes to land. However, this time Richard and Harper are seated inside waiting for Diddy. As the song fades, the helicopter flies over the desert toward the horizon.
Staff from E! Online seemed impressed with the video’s concept and choice of background scenery. They said “what better place for some introspection than the desert, right? No sexy bikini-clad ladies or blue-haired Nicki Minajs to distract you, and when you’re done, just call up the helicopter to pick you up (Pro tip: Hang your leg outside of the chopper for extra cool points.)”. Stephen Gottlieb from Video Static said “It’s a nice bookend with Diddy’s – then Puff Daddy – first solo video, “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down,” which featured him and Mase introducing an era of big budget hip-hop while driving a Rolls convertible across the desert.” While Ed Easton Jr. from 92.3 Now FM drew comparisons to Diddy’s earlier video for his 1997 hit single “Been Around the World”, thus awarding the video six out of ten. However Easton was annoyed with the number of videos being released and said that fans were waiting for the actual album to be released.
Live performances and usage in media
Diddy-Dirty Money performed the song live for the first time at the 2010 American Music Awards on November 21, 2010. For the performance the group were joined on stage by a full orchestra, with Diddy dressed in all-black but the other half of the group dressed in white gowns. The group reprised this performance on the December 4, 2010 airing of Saturday Night Live along with the debut performance of the next scheduled single “Ass On the Floor”. On December 14, 2010 the group performed “Coming Home” on two separate occasions. First Diddy appeared on daytime chatshow, The View, for an interview and was then joined by Richard and Harper to perform “Coming Home” then later the trio performed on the Late Show with David Letterman. Four days later, the group performed the ballad at the WWE Tribute to the Troops concert. On January 20, 2011, the group performed the song live in the United Kingdom, on the Radio 1 Live Lounge. Diddy-Dirty Money then returned to the United States, where they performed “Coming Home” for the first time with Skylar Grey, on season ten of American Idol, on March 10, 2011.
The song was used as entrance music by UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Bones Jones before his successful title defense against Quinton Rampage Jackson. Also, during the pre-game introductions for the New York Knicks’ 2010-11 NBA game against the Milwaukee Bucks on February 23, 2011 (and home debut of newly acquired Syracuse Orange alumnus Carmelo Anthony), the song was used in a pre-game video, welcoming Melo “home” (he started his NBA career with the Denver Nuggets after leaving the Orange) to New York. There is also a friendly version of the song recorded by the cast of Nickelodeon’s popular TV show iCarly, which can be heard on the show’s second soundtrack, entitled iSoundtrack II. It was the official theme song to WWE’s WrestleMania 29, and at the event, Sean Combs and Skylar Grey performed it live in front of a sold out venue of 80,676 in MetLife Stadium. Though not used as the official theme song, “Coming Home” has been used in almost every advertisement for the ABC drama series Resurrection. On December 4, 2013, The Fast and the Furious team released a tribute video to Paul Walker after the actor’s untimely death, which contained excerpts from Coming Home. On December 30, 2014 newly hired Michigan Wolverines head football coach Jim Harbaugh was introduced to the public during a brief halftime ceremony with the song playing as he walked onto center court. On October 28, 2014, an instrumental was a part of the Cleveland Cavaliers pre-game introductions as it was the first game back in Cleveland for LeBron James since 2010. The song was used in a video by the Los Angeles Rams announcing their return to Los Angeles after more than two decades in St. Louis. As Dwyane Wade returned to his hometown of Chicago in 2016, a video using the song was created to mark the occasion.
Credits and personnel
“Coming Home” was recorded at Chalice Recording Studios and End of Era Studios in Los Angeles, California.
Charts and certifications
Radio and release history
- Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics