Mase went from Harlem World to on top of the world to his own world, and now he wants it all back. It was 13 years ago when the charismatic rap star with the boyish smile unexpectedly pulled the plug on his flourishing career so he could dedicate his life to God.
On April 20, 1999, Mase called New York radio DJ Funkmaster Flex to announce his retirement from rap months before his sophomore LP, Double Up, was scheduled to drop. "I gotta do what makes me happy. A lot of people gonna say I'm crazy, I'm leaving money behind and a lot of things, but it's just how I feel in my heart," he said on the radio 13 years ago. "Once God puts something in your heart, you know, God talks to everybody different."
He tried his hand at a comeback with his gold-selling Welcome Back album in 2004 and then again as a member of 50 Cent's G-Unit crew, but it was all short-lived.
Well, M-A-dollar sign-E is back at it. On Tuesday night, Wale dropped his "Slight Work" remix featuring French Montana, Diddy and Mase. Right after that, the former Bad Boy rapper called Flex on Hot 97 to catch up. "Nobody gets as many chances as I got," Mase said over the phone with a chuckle. "I think I'm meant to do it. That's the conclusion I came to."
Last week, after a picture of Rick Ross, Montana, Omarion, producer Rico Love and Mase in the studio was posted online, rumors began to swirl of a Maybach Music signing. Montana suggested to XXL magazine that a deal may be in the works, but Mase wouldn't confirm whether he was planning to sign with Rozay.
"[Rico Love] just called and asked me to take a ride with him — I didn't know who was gonna be in the studio," Mase explained. "I got there and everybody was there, and they just said, 'Take a flick.' The next thing I know I got a Maybach chain, I got 20 beats from Kanye. The stories just keep getting crazier."
If he does return to music full-time, Mase wants to do things on his terms. He feels that his strong religious association has restricted his musical output. "I can only do music if I can do it the way I can do it," he said. "That's what be making me stop. I don't want to do music in a box, like everybody say what I can't do, 'he can't say this.' "
While the slow-flowed MC says that he will always put God first, he is ready to take the gloves off while in the studio. "I'm taking all my limitations off," he promised. "They gonna have to pray for me."
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