Have you ever wondered what happened to Ma$e, the nineties hip-hop legend? After all, in the mid-to-late 1990s, Bad Boy Records ruled the music charts with artists like the late, great Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige, Lil' Kim, Faith Evans, and - of course - Ma$e. In particular, Ma$e's style of pop-rap - led by his solo hits "Feel So Good" and "What You Want," along with features on smashes like Brandy's "Top of the World" and Mya and Blackstreet's "Take You There" - made the Harlem-born artist a household name. That is, before he retired in 1999 after only two albums. So, where is Ma$e now?
The past 18 years have given rise to plenty of fascinating stories about Ma$e. After "retiring," he went on to become a pastor; however, his life was far from pastoral as he and his wife split up and his flock wasn't crazy about him. Ma$e also un-retired a handful of times, hip-hopping back and forth between the church and the recording studio. Ever wondered: Is Ma$e still rapping? Yes, and he's been doing so on-and-off for years. Recently, he even reunited with his Bad Boy family for a reunion concert.
Technically, Ma$e never officially signed onto G-Unit and was still under contract at Bad Boy, although he didn't release any new music under that imprint after 2004. By 2009, Ma$e was asking Diddy to release him (Bad Boy has a notorious reputation when it comes to dealing with artists' contracts), but this wasn't made official until 2012.
In the late '90s, former basketball great Magic Johnson turned to music management. He signed a bunch of prominent R&B and hip-hop artists including Ma$e, Kelly Price, and Boyz II Men. At the time, Johnson said,
"We play ball, we work out, we talk about different things. What Ma$e needed in his life was a man who could understand his goals, his dreams, and also what he's going through as an artist, and I know all of those things."
As childhood friends, Ma$e and Cam'Ron (born Cameron Giles) grew up together in Harlem rapping and playing basketball. The two, along with Herb McGruff, the late Bloodshed, and Big L, formed the hip-hop group Children of the Corn, but split after Bloodshed's passing in 1997. Each went on to solo-stardom (Cam with Roc-A-Fella and Dipset), but the two became fiercely competitive.
Rumor has it that Ma$e tried to get Cam to pay him $40,000 to appear in Cam'Ron's 1998 music video "Horse and Carriage." Their relationship reportedly deteriorated quickly after that. Cam has since claimed that Ma$e only started going to church to avoid becoming a target of violence, then took the ruse too far by becoming a pastor.
After releasing Welcome Back, Ma$e didn't keep up his Bad Boy affiliation for long, turning instead to up-and-coming superstar 50 Cent's G-Unit to raise his profile. Reassuming his original moniker, "Murda Ma$e," the rapper took a more aggressive approach to his music.
Understandably, that shocked the reverend's fans, but luckily for them, Ma$e didn't stick around with G-Unit for that long.