Rap Star Mase Nabbed For Patronizing A Prostitute

Rapper pleads guilty to lesser violation after solicitation charge was dismissed.

Puff Daddy protégé Mase was arrested early Thursday morning by New York

City police for patronizing a prostitute, according to police spokeswoman

Kathleen Kelly.

The charges, which Mase's lawyer said the rapper adamantly denies, were later

dropped for a lesser violation.

The 22-year-old Mase, a.k.a. Mason Betha -- who got his start with guest

appearances on such songs as Notorious B.I.G.'s "Mo Money Mo Problems"

and Puff Daddy's "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" -- was arrested at 12:30 a.m.

on 45th Street between 9th and 10th avenues, Kelly said.

Mase's attorney, Peter Frankel, who appeared with the rapper in Midtown

Community Court on Thursday, said that the misdemeanor solicitation charge

was dismissed and that his client pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly

conduct. Mase paid a $200 fine for that infraction and was released.

"He absolutely denied the solicitation charges," Frankel said, noting that

Mase has had no prior legal run-ins.

Mase's debut album, Harlem World, entered the Billboard 200

albums chart at #1 last November.