On Saturday night, fans flocked to Long Island, New York, ready to embrace Mase at the Welcome Back concert that was supposed to celebrate his return. For weeks, ads on radio and TV bragged of a bill that would include Fat Joe and the Terror Squad, Elephant Man, Mobb Deep and Lil' Flip, with Mase as the headliner.
But those who came out to see Mase found out that the star of the show was not there. Signs in front of the Nassau Coliseum alerted fans that the blinging showstopper would not be performing and they had the option to get their money back.
"Bottom line, we got a signed contract from him for the show," promoter Naquan Busby said Monday (September 27). "Mase was the only act on the whole bill that was paid 100 percent of his money upfront. He got it, every dime. Homeboy was paid. He disappointed his fans. He disappointed everybody."
Busby said that in addition to wiring Mase's $45,000 performance fee to an account, he also sent the MC plane tickets to travel from Atlanta to New York. Mase never got on the plane. The promoter said he got word from Mase's camp on Friday that the rapper wouldn't appear and would be spending time with his wife and newborn son instead.
Mase was unavailable for comment Monday, and his managers were still preparing an official statement at press time. Representatives at Bad Boy Records had little to say about the matter, issuing a statement to MTV that said, "We don't coordinate our artists' paid appearances. They go through management."
As for the show itself, most of the complaints from those who attended had to do with poor organization, not the roster. There were long lapses between performances, and the crowd had to wait several hours from the 7 p.m. start of the show until the bigger acts like Mobb Deep, Elephant Man and the Diplomats — who served as last-minute replacements for Mase — got on the mic.
There was a special surprise that was well received, however. Ja Rule came out as a guest of Fat Joe's Terror Squad and the two performed their underground humdinger "New York." The show lasted until 1:30 a.m.
The backlash from the Welcome Back concert is not over, according to its promoter. Busby said he was able to recover only $26,000 of his money and will be suing Mase for the rest.