NEW YORK — Mase has hit the radio with a new song, declared his comeback over the airwaves with a brief call-in to New York radio station Hot 97, and now the shiny-suit-man-turned-pastor has a timetable for his album. It is official like a referee with a whistle: If all goes according to plan, we'll get a new album from Mase — his first in five years — before the hot weather wears out.
According to a rep for Bad Boy, Mase's LP is slated to be released in late August. Further details regarding the album will be coming down the pike soon.
"The music is going to be good, and I'm happy that he's coming back because I haven't seen him in years," fellow Bad Boy Mario Winans said last week during a charity event for LifeBeat. "I'm excited to see my friend again."
"That's my man," Loon said. "We worked together on the Harlem World project, we go back, we're both Harlemites. I'm honored to see him back. It adds more energy, he's a different charismatic type of artist. A lot of rappers have been trying to mimic his style, but dude is back to take his piece."
Loon and Winans rolled as one with Carl Thomas and 8Ball and MJG, as all performed at club Babalu as part of the LifeBeat event. After that function, it was off to another club, Lobby, for the afterparty. Before jumping onstage for the concert, Diddy's folks were all smiles. They said they felt a new energy at the label with the aforementioned return of Mason Betha, the addition of some legends and other members of the team holding their weight.
"We're back," Loon declared in the chaotic VIP area of Babalu while the music blasted and photographers snapped pics. "A couple of years ago we were grinding, coming through a couple of rough periods, transitions and things of that nature. But we got a young team right now. We're making hot records, we're on the radio again."
Loon himself is back in the lab working on his own comeback. He's putting together a follow-up to his 2003 self-titled debut. "I'm taking a very personal approach," said Loon, huddled up between Carl Thomas and Rio Winans. "On the first album I established myself as an artist. Loon has a presence in the game now. I established myself as a ladies man. Fellas felt kinda left out, but I got something for them. But ladies, I'm never gonna forget you."
The ladies will definitely not be overlooked by the Bad Boys in the coming months. Both Winans and Thomas have new singles on tap, as do New Edition and Heavy D.
"I'mma try a dual single, two at one time," Thomas divulged. "I'm a supply-and-demand type of fella."
Thomas is rolling with "My First Love" and "Anything," while Winans has opted to remix "Never Really Was" with a verse from Lil' Flip.
"Half the time I'm on the grind," Flip raps over the song's heavy violin strings. "Now you wanna play with my mind/ You wonder why we never spending time/ Don't you know I get paid to rhyme .../ When I'm not with you I'm clocking dough."
New Edition — without Bobby Brown — are clocking the ladies on "Hot 2 Night," a cut off of their 20th anniversary LP, due to hit sometime in late summer or fall.
"Girl, give me your number/ Forget it, here goes my number/ Forget it, you don't need my number/ 'Cause we're gonna get it hot tonight," they sing on the chorus. Ronnie, Johnny, Ralph and Ricky all go back and forth in the verses, while Michael Bivins chimes in with ad-libs.
Bad Boy's newest signee, Heavy D, is working on his Bad Boy debut with producers like Stevie J and Tony Dofat. His album is also slated to be released sometime this year.
"We've been talking about it for quite sometime," Hev, also at the LifeBeat event, said about his talks with Diddy to come to Bad Boy. "Puff was always in my corner. It was just a matter of me being ready. I got a 4-year-old daughter, I lost 160 pounds. All these things I was taking care of first. I took some selfish time. In the meantime, I had been recording, producing Jay-Z, Carl Thomas, a lot of artists. Then I produced some stuff on my album."
Hev says that being slimmer and older has given him more material to wax about on the forthcoming disc, which still has no title. He's also drawn on some of his influences — Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Run-DMC, reggae artist Daddy Roy — for this album.
"I can't talk about the same stuff," he said. "My life experience is different, the records need to be different. The album is so eclectic. I'm trying to find a title that embodies everything that I'm about right now, where I am in my life."
Guests on Hev's LP include Anthony Hamilton, LaToiya Williams and Carl Thomas. The Hevster is currently in talks to collaborate with Andre 3000 and Snoop Dogg as well. "It's Your Birthday" will be the album's first single.
With the former overweight lover's weight loss ("Every time Puff sees me, I get smaller and smaller," D says. "He's like, 'I don't even know If I can call you Heavy D anymore.' It's an ongoing joke."), the title of most rotund member of Bad Boy easily goes to 8Ball. Ball and MJG recently had a strong debut on the albums chart with their Living Legends LP, and now they have a new single and video coming, "Straight Cadillac Pimpin.' " Meanwhile, another perennial overweight lover will be back in effect on July 13.
Bad Boy is launching a reissue from the president of the playa's club, the Notorious B.I.G. The retooled Ready to Die will feature two Biggie classics that were not originally on the LP as well as the long-form video for "Warning."