March 09, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

Music mogul-marathoner-restaurateur-fashionista Sean ”P. Diddy” Combs is calling it quits. Actually, he’s hanging up only one of his many hats. He told MTV News that, after he releases his album ”PD5” this fall, he’s retiring as a rapper. That may actually come as good news to Diddy detractors who’ve dissed his rhyme skills and his heavy reliance on samples of other musicians’ hits. Even Combs himself noted that hip-hop will not miss him as a performer as much as, say, the recently retired Jay-Z. ”I don’t want nobody to just go crazy or nothing,” Diddy said of his announcement. ”It’s not going to be as dramatic or traumatic as Jay-Z retiring.”

Explaining his decision, the Bad Boy CEO said, ”I got a chance to have my dream come true, and I wanted to make sure I made the decision as to when I dropped my last album. If I don’t feel like this album is an incredible piece of work, then I’m cool with the albums I’ve done. I don’t have to put out another album.”

Combs made the announcement in conjunction with the release this week of his label’s new compilation CD, ”Bad Boy’s 10th Anniversary: The Hits.” Next up is his Broadway debut in ”Raisin in the Sun,” which opens April 26. A new season of ”Making the Band,” featuring the erstwhile Puff Daddy as a mentor to aspiring hip-hop stars, started last week on MTV. And he’s opening a boutique for his Sean John clothing line in New York in June, followed by stores in Los Angeles and New Jersey. With all that activity, his hanging up the mic sounds less like a retirement than the crossing off of an item on his to-do list.

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