NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - May 25, 2011) - ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) will honor hip-hop impresario Sean "Diddy" Combs with the prestigious ASCAP Founders Award during its 24th Annual Rhythm & Soul Music Awards. The invitation-only event will take place on Friday, June 24, 2011 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, California, and will also honor the songwriters and publishers of the most performed ASCAP songs on the 2010 R&B/Hip-Hop, Rap and Gospel charts.

The ASCAP Founders Award is among the most prestigious honors that ASCAP gives to songwriters and composers who have made pioneering contributions to music by inspiring and influencing their fellow music creators. Each recipient is a musical innovator who possesses a unique style of creative genius that will enrich generations to come. Past recipients include Garth Brooks, Dr. Dre, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Smokey Robinson, Paul McCartney, Ashford & Simpson, Patti Smith, and Berry Gordy Jr. & Motown Industries to name a few.

"To be recognized for my contributions to music by ASCAP, an organization that represents music creators, is a true honor," said Diddy. "All I wanted to do was make people dance and hopefully inspire others to never settle for anything but their best."

"Diddy is a world-renowned producer, performer, top-notch developer of talent, fashion designer, an actor and astute businessman," said ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams. "His success is a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit, hard work and ingenious ability to add his personal touch to contemporary culture. He continues to be a major force in hip-hop music, and we are very proud to honor him with ASCAP's Founders Award."

Born in Harlem and raised in Mount Vernon, NY, the young Combs appeared as a dancer in several videos while interning at Uptown Records. He quickly worked his way up to A&R executive and helmed hits by Father MC, Heavy D, Jodeci and, most significantly, Mary J. Blige, which played a large role in formulating the sound of R&B in the 1990s. After leaving Uptown in 1993, he started Bad Boy Entertainment in his apartment. Craig Mack's Flava In Ya Ear became the label's first platinum release, but Bad Boy exploded late in 1994 with Notorious B.I.G.'s groundbreaking debut, Ready To Die. The ensuing years found Combs' star rising into the stratosphere. He began signing more acts to Bad Boy, including Faith Evans, 112, Total, Mase and the LOX, as well as producing for Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, TLC, SWV, and Lil' Kim among others. As a solo artist, Combs has released six studio albums, including No Way Out, Forever, The Saga Continues, We Invented the Remix, Press Play and most recently, Last Train to Paris featuring his new group Diddy-Dirty Money. Among his plethora of hits are "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down," "I'll Be Missing You," "Satisfy You," "Bad Boy For Life," "I Need A Girl (Part One and Part Two)," "Last Night" and "Coming Home" among many others. He has received nine Grammy Award nominations, winning three for Best Rap Album (No Way Out), Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group ("I'll Be Missing You") and Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group ("Shake Ya Tailfeather"). He is a four-time recipient of ASCAP's Rhythm & Soul Songwriter of the Year Award and was presented with ASCAP's Golden Note Award in 1998 in recognition of his extraordinary career milestones.

In addition to the Founders Award, the songwriters and publishers of the most performed ASCAP songs on the 2010 R&B/Hip-Hop, Rap and Gospel charts will be honored at the awards ceremony. Top awards will be given to the Songwriter of the Year, Publisher of the Year, Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song, Top Rap Song and Top Gospel Song. The evening will also feature performances by several award-winning songwriters/performers.

Members of the press may apply for credentials at

Established in 1914, ASCAP is the first and leading U.S. Performing Rights Organization (PRO) representing the world's largest repertory totaling over 8.5 million copyrighted musical works of every style and genre from more than 410,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members. ASCAP has representation arrangements with similar foreign organizations so that the ASCAP repertory is represented in nearly every country around the world where copyright law exists. ASCAP protects the rights of its members and foreign affiliates by licensing the public performances of their copyrighted works and distributing royalties based upon surveyed performances. ASCAP is the only American PRO owned and governed by its writer and publisher members.