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It isn’t easy for MCs to smoothly leave the music industry once fully engrained in it. One hit song is life-changing, propelling an artist from often impoverished circumstances to the top of the world. Even a “one-hit wonder” can change their family’s life off of the track’s notoriety. As a result, plenty of creatives hang onto the music industry far after their relevancy has passed, praying that they can re-create that musical magic. Their home, social circle, and way of life become engrained in grandiosity.

However, rapper Mase is a rare exception to this standard. Merely two years after his hit studio album Harlem World, he famously retired from hip-hop to pursue a calling from God. Even if the world was screaming out the hook to “Feel So Good,” the New York-raised personality wasn’t feeling it. He dropped it all to become an ordained minister while continuing his studies at Clark Atlanta University. During an interview with Funkmaster Flex, he announced his retirement, stating, “I told everyone that I don’t plan to be here for long. I planned to use rap as a stepping stone.” He continued, “It takes a great person to walk away from money. When my whole heart isn’t in it, I can’t do it.”

Rapper Mase’s Harlem World Put Him On The Map

However, Mase’s departure from hip-hop had been in the works for a long time. He spent his adolescent years in The Bronx after being born in Jacksonville. However, his mother sent him back to Jacksonville after he began getting in trouble in the streets. While living in Jacksonville as a teenager, he began attending church. He wouldn’t spend much time back in Florida, returning to New York by the time he was 15. However, it was enough time for Mase to be influenced by the Christian lifestyle he was entrenched into.

Like many other MCs, Mase’s teenage aspirations revolved around the world of sports. After returning to New York, he pursued a career as a basketball player. He was the star point guard at Manhattan Center High School in the early 1990s. However, Mase would eventually pivot into a rapper career when he realized he wouldn’t make it to the NBA. His big break in the industry came in 1996 when he began rapping for Diddy (Puff Daddy at the time) at the Hard Rock Cafe. Shortly after, he would sign a $250,000 deal with Bad Boy Records.

Mase & Diddy Have Had An Extended Beef

rapper mase
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – MAY 12: Mase attends DJ Cassidy’s Pass The Mic Live! at Prudential Center on May 12, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images)

By the time he was ready to retire, Mase’s inscribed deal for Bad Boy Records would be the source of beef between the two MCs. Mase felt that his contractual obligations to the label still existed after his retirement, which caused him to construct a series of subtle disses at Diddy. However, the two would eventually reconcile their differences, that is, until the 2020 Grammys. After receiving the Icon Award, he blasted the Grammys. He boldly stated, “Truth be told, hip-hop has never been respected by the Grammys. Black music has never been respected by the Grammys to the point that it should be.”

After his speech, Mase would re-ignite his opinions on Diddy’s treatment of his artists under Bad Boy Records. He told Vibe, “Your past business practices knowingly has continued purposely starved your artist and been extremely unfair to the very same artist that helped u obtain that Icon Award on the iconic Badboy label.” While Diddy remained silent for a long time regarding the beef, he eventually came out in 2022 to defend his name on The Breakfast Club. He accused Mase of being a “fake pastor” who “went and conned people.” Lastly, he claimed that Mase owed him $3 million.

He Quit Hip-Hop To Focus On Ministry

Even after Mase retired from the hip-hop industry to pursue a religious career in ministry, he straddled between being a rapper and a pastor. Five years after his supposed retirement, he returned with the 2005’s self-explanatory Welcome Back. However, he hasn’t released a solo project since then. Outside the occasional release of a new single or a feature, Mase’s recent life has been focused on moving forward with his religious relationship. In 2021, he became the head of the Gathering Oasis Church. In addition, Cam’ron and Mase recently re-kindled their relationship as co-hosts on the It Is What It Is sports talk show.

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