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Mase Proclamation Ceremony

Source: Johnny Nunez / Getty



Ma$e dominated the hip-hop world in the ’90s when he popped on the scene with Bad Boy delivering timeless hits like “Feels So Good” and “Been Around the World.” Now, the New York-bred rapper is finally being recognized for his contributions to the industry.

On Jan. 24, fans and family gathered outside of Harlem’s Apollo Theater to watch Ma$e receive a framed proclamation from New York City Council Member Kevin C. Riley. The 47-year-old star was honored for his “outstanding achievements and enduring contributions” across entertainment, production and hip-hop culture, according to Vibe. During the ceremony, Riley declared Jan. 24 “Ma$e Day” in Harlem.

On Tuesday, Ma$e, whose real name is Mason Betha, gushed about the award in an emotional speech.

“I want to thank all of you for coming out here today, but most of all, I want to say this because this really matters in our community: a win only feels great when you win with family,” he said. “Today, I have my whole family here — my wife of 22 years and a bunch of people in the crowd, a bunch of great artists…Thank you, and thank you Harlem for making me great.”

Ma$e ditched rap and became a pastor in 1999

In 1996, Ma$e released his debut album Harlem World, which went certified quadruple platinum after its release. The album spawned hit singles such as “Feel So Good” and “Lookin’ at Me.”

Three years later, the vibrant rapper released his sophomore album Double Up, which went certified gold. Ma$e’s career appeared to be on fire, but in the spring of 1999, the star shocked fans when he announced his retirement from music during an interview with Funk Master Flex. Ma$e said he had a “calling from God” and that he wanted to fulfill his dreams of becoming a pastor.

The hip-hop titan parted ways with the industry for years, until 2004, when he returned to the music world with his third album Welcome Back.

During his speech Tuesday, the “Mo Money Mo Problems” hitmaker credited his spiritual advisor for helping him to transition from the booth to the pulpit.

“This is the guy that prayed for me when I left Hip Hop, so y’all all wanna know who changed me? This is the guy that changed me,” the rapper said as he pointed to his spiritual advisor, who attended the ceremony. Ma$e’s wife and children were also present during the event.

Fans will get to see Ma$e rock the stage at the Apollo Jan. 28, when he performs alongside Cam’ron and Jadakiss for a special one-night-only concert.


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