Mason Durrell Betha, 27 August 1978, Jacksonville, Florida, USA. By the time rapper Ma$e launched his solo career, he was already an A-list celebrity among hip-hop fans by dint of appearances on gold and platinum singles by Puff Daddy (Cant Nobody Hold Me Down), Brian McKnight (You Should Hold Me), 112 (Only You) and Notorious B.I.G. (Mo Money Mo Problems). He had also performed live at the MTV Video Music Awards alongside Sting and Puff Daddy in consort with the latters extended musical family (the Bad Boy posse). Ma$es solo debut, Harlem World, eventually emerged in 1998 via a contract with Arista Records. The US number 1 album was produced by Deric Angelettie, Stevie J., Ron Lawrence and Carlos Thompson and others, collectively known as the Hitmen. Among the guests were Jermaine Dupri, Busta Rhymes, Lil Kim, Lil Caesar, Black Rob and Puff Daddy. The highlights included Feel So Good, a typically jocular effort married to a sample of Kool And The Gangs Hollywood Swinging, and I Need To Be, an attempt to write from a female perspective. Feel So Good was used as the first single, climbing to number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January, and was also included on the soundtrack to the movie Money Talks. To support it, Ma$e set out on a major world tour in tandem with his mentor, Puff Daddy. The two men also enjoyed a US number 8 hit single in September with Lookin At Me. Two further transatlantic hit singles followed with the Brandy duet Top Of The World and Take Me There, a collaboration with BLACKstreet, Mya and Blinky Blink taken from the Rugrats movie soundtrack. The Movement showcased a new generation of east coast talent, with Ma$e assuming the Puff Daddy mentor role.
A second solo album was accompanied by the revelation that the rapper had decided to retire from the music business and concentrate on religious work. He stayed true to his word and in 2001 published a memoir, Revelations: Theres A Light After The Lime, in addition to establishing S.A.N.E. Ministries in Atlanta. Ma$e announced he was returning to the music business in summer 2004, and released a new studio album later in the year.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.