Since his auspicious arrival, attached to 112's certified gold single "Only You," Bad Boy Entertainment's Mase has been an attention-grabbing rapper --reflecting both the simplicity of true hip-hop and the grabby savvy of chart-topping pop. In just a few short months the mellow-voiced MC has easily leap-frogged from relative obscurity to become a poetic powerhouse attached to more hits than a little bit.
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In addition to the 112 joint, Mase has laced such hits as Sean "Puffy" Combs' double platinum "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down;" Notorious B.I.G.'s platinum "Mo Money, Mo Problems;" Mariah Carey's platinum "Honey," Puff Daddy's "It's All About The Benjamins;" and "You Should Be Mine (Don't Waste My Time)" by Brian McKnight. Mase has also adds his signature flow to Mario Winans' "Don't Know"; Keith Sweat's "Just A Touch" remix; Busta Rhymes' "The Body Rock" and Junior MAFIA's "Young Casanova." Each successive track has succeeded commercially. No verse has passed a listener's ear unnoticed.
Before dropping a single of his own, Mase was already a familiar face--having been a featured artist in more than six high-rotation, chart-topping music videos. And on the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, Mase joined the entire Bad Boy family in a stellar live performance of the night's winning single "I'll Be Missing You" along side rock legend Sting.
"The way I look at it," Mase says, "everything that has happened to me so far is a blessing from God. I can't take credit for any of it. I've always just kept my head straight, doing what was right, and it's like God's finally telling me, 'Yo, I appreciate how you've been livin'."
So far at this point in his career, Mase has been a featured performer on some of the hottest records of the past 18 months. Now with his eagerly-awaited full-length debut album, Harlem World, he is offering listeners a chance to fully experience his life and growth. "With my album I'm just telling you how I feel," insists the young rap star. "I don't write rhymes 'cause they sound good. Any song from Mase is gonna be the truth. Honest."
Harlem World is an infectious, often humorous, intricately-woven continuation of Bad Boy's way of moving crowds right. As such it enthusiastically plays to win. Mase wants to follow in the Bad Boy multi-platinum footprints of Notorious B.I.G. and Puff Daddy, but he also seeks to forge his own musical path and create his own signature sound. "Growing up," he says, "I was always the guy who went left when everybody else went right. I'm my own person and I like things my way."
So even though he recorded most of Harlem World at the Manhattan Bad Boy-owned Daddy's House Studios, Mase ventured outside of the company for some of his tracks. "I love how Puffy and [his studio squad] The Hitmen produce, but I wanted to try working with some new cats too. My main concern when picking beats was, 'Are they hot!' I've got to love everything, 'cause if I don't the public won't either and I don't ever want to be predictable."
Besides hiring The Hitmen Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie, Stevie J, Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence and Carlos "Chucky" Thompson, to name a few, Mase also commandeered producers Jermaine Dupri, The Neptunes, Chad Hugo, Pharrell Williams, Grease and Mo Suave-A. The resulting jams roam through a wide range of soundscapes, including frothy funk, hot-buttered soul and earth-shaking bump and thump.
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