50 Cent is not exactly hip-hop's version of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner (at least not yet), but he certainly has been bolstering the lineup at his G-Unit Records over the past few weeks with some high-profile signings, namely Mobb Deep and M.O.P. And now, apparently, he has one more player throwing his team's jersey on: onetime Bad Boy Records flag-waver Mase.
If a rapping minister running with a new-school version of N.W.A sounds outlandish, well, think again. Last week Mase came out onstage with Young Buck during a New York stop of the Anger Management Tour, and later in the week during an interview with Whoo Kid on Sirius' G-Unit Radio program, Mase himself explained the alliance as more than a one-off. He told 50's DJ that he was in fact working on new music and shopping for a new record deal.
"It seems at this point it's gonna be on G-Unit," Mase said. Mase also divulged that since he's been back to the music game, the only two people who have contacted him about a deal have been Jay-Z and 50 Cent.
"When I came back to Bad Boy, they didn't want me to go where I wanted to go [with the music]," he said about the content of his comeback LP, last year's Welcome Back. "They wanted me to do what was safe for them. I had to pretty much sabotage myself. Everybody knows who I am.
"I ain't going to be 50," the Harlem native continued about what his new material is going to sound like. "I ain't gonna be Usher, but right in between."
During the interview with Whoo Kid, Mase also said he would be appearing on the soundtrack to 50 Cent's upcoming movie, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," and would probably put out a mixtape with Whoo Kid because he has a lot on his mind.
As for his relationship with the man with whom he used to wear shiny suits, Mase said he's expressed to the former Puff Daddy that he wants to leave Bad Boy.
"He pretty much knows I don't want to be there," Mase said. "It's nothing personal, but I don't want to be there."
Diddy has publicly stated that he and Mase discussed a contract buyout a couple of months ago. On Tuesday, Diddy said he thought that if the leader of the G-Unit did decide to buy Mase out, it should not be a problem.
"He's definitely got enough money to set everything right," Diddy said of 50 with a smile. "50 hasn't called me about signing Mase. If he's interested in signing him, we could always have a discussion. At the end of the day, I want everybody to be happy and where they want to be. But I'm available, I'm free, he's got my number."
So will Mase be coming out with 50 during his performance at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 28 (see "50 Cent, Coldplay Added To Jam-Packed VMA Performers Bill")?
"I don't know," Diddy said Tuesday in New York while promoting the VMAs (see " 'Five Letters, One Word': Diddy Drops The 'P' "). "I don't want to let anything out of the bag for my fellow artist. That's something y'all gotta tune in to see if he brings out Mase."
Neither 50 Cent nor his representatives would comment on Mase.
For a feature on Mase, check out last year's "Mase: The Fine Line Between Prayer And Playa."