Before his days with Bad Boy Records, Mase was a gangsta rapper from Harlem. He was a fixture on the mixtape scene and his rhymes dealt with money, drugs, and murder. Looking for a way to get away from the rough life in Harlem, Mase went to Atlanta. His search was for fledgling label executive, Jermaine Dupri, but he found Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. Mase, at the time called Murda Mase, hoped to sign with So So Def.
Murda Mase’s hopes did not come true. The trip that he took to Atlanta gained him connections with the Bad Boy family. In a short period of time, Mase became associates with Jadakiss and other members of The L.O.X., along with Craig Mack, and The Notorious B.I.G. He did not actually sign with Bad Boy until early 1996. Once he was signed, Combs spent most of the year transforming him into a pop rapper.
By the fall of 1996, the transformation was complete and Mase was providing rap bridges and hooks for many remixes of popular R&B songs. The next year was more of the same from the former gangsta rapper until his own time came. Late in 1997, Mase’ debut album, Harlem World, was released and it was a favorite among fans. Since the album came after the tragic death of The Notorious B.I.G., Mase became the new flagship artist of Bad Boy.
The sales of Harlem World exceeded 4 million in the United States, alone, and Mase was the most-notable name in rap. Even outside of album sales, he had become friends with many of hip hop’s big figures. It was not uncommon to see Mase hanging around with Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, or DMX. While he had a lot of friends in the game, he did make some enemies. Despite their strong relationship with B.I.G., the Wu-Tang Clan was not very fond of Sean Combs.
Their dislike of Combs ended up becoming a dislike towards Mase. A bitter feud would soon be created between Wu-Tang member, Ghostface Killah and Mase. It was said that he threatened the Bad Boy rapper if he did not leave New York. The rumors seemed to be false as Mase went about his business. But, when he began promoting his sophomore album, Double Up, Mase made an announcement that shook up the entire hip hop world. He was retiring to become a minister.
Mase told the hip hop world that he had found God and that he was no longer going to rap about money, selling drugs, and seducing women. For five years, Mase did just that, he kept to himself, but he returned in 2004. Upon his return, Mase recorded a clean rap album. He was making music for the mainstream, but he did not curse in a single rhyme. While he appeared to be happy to be back in the game, Mase appeared to be unhappy with Sean Combs.
These appearances became true when he returned to his hardcore roots and began associating himself with 50 Cent. He had tried to sign with G-Unit Records, but the move was blocked by the Bad Boy honcho. This ended up sparking a feud between 50 Cent and Combs, but in the end the situation left Mase on Bad Boy Records. Despite being a Bad Boy artist, he and Combs feuded from 2004 until September of 2009, when they finally reached a truce.
The result of this truce will be a new album from Mase coming later this year. Despite his return to creating music with strong language, he has remained as a pastor. But, his last album that he released was a clean album. When Mase returns with his next album, which version of Mase will show up for the album?