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Dr. Mason Durrell Betha Th.D (born August 27 1977 in Jacksonville, Florida), better known by stage name Mase, is an American rapper, songwriter, television personality and inspirational speaker. He was an artist on Sean "Diddy" Combs' hip hop label Bad Boy Records during the late 1990s.
Raised in Harlem, New York, he began his music career as a rapper. He went to Manhattan Center High School where he met Cam'ron. Originally a member of Children of the Corn, he called himself "Murder Mase," rapping alongside Big L, Cam'ron, McGruff and Bloodshed when they released "Collector's Edition" in 1992. In 1996, he traveled to Atlanta for a music conference, hoping to hook up with Jermaine Dupri; instead, he met Sean Combs, who signed him to Bad Boy after hearing him rap.
That same year, Mase was featured on a single of 112's "Only You (remix)," which instantly showcased the young rapper's talent. In 1997, he recorded and released his first album, Harlem World, which became a multi-platinum success, and featured the hit single "Feel So Good," which included a prominent sample of Kool & the Gang's "Hollywood Swinging" and the chorus from Miami Sound Machine's "Bad Boy". Other successful Harlem World singles included "What You Want," "Lookin' at Me," and "24 Hours to Live." Notably popular among mainstream audiences, Mase became one of the label's premiere acts.
On April 20 1999, during an interview with Funkmaster Flex of New York radio station Hot 97, Mase announced his retirement from music. This was during the promotional period for his second album, Double Up, and its lead single, "Get Ready". The rapper declared himself a born-again Christian and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he would study at Clark Atlanta University. Mase received an honorary Th.D from St. Paul's Bible Institute in New York and addresses himself as Dr. Mason Betha. He is the founder and pastor of both S.A.N.E. (Saving a Nation Endangered) Church International and Mason Betha Ministries in Atlanta. John Ingraham, Mase's cousin influenced him to focus on pursuing the Christian lifestyle. After John's altercation with Diddy, the relationship became strained and forced both parties to go their separate ways.
After a five-year absence, Mase returned to music and Bad Boy Records with Welcome Back, and the like-titled single, which contained a sample from the television series Welcome Back, Kotter. Despite returning to secular entertainment, the rapper still claimed the status of a pastor. Thus, the album contained no curse words and refrained from derogatory messages toward women.
Since then, Mase has recorded tracks with major artists including 50 Cent, Kanye West, Fat Joe, Cardan, Claudette Ortiz, R.L., Amerie, Young Gunz, Rich Boy and Missy Elliot. He has also collaborated with many up-and-coming artists, who include Sterling Simms, Max B, Jeanna Ortega, Bugzy, Jarvis, Gravy, and many more.
About 3 year after his Welcome Back album was released he began a inspirational/religious television series with his wife Twyla. It is widely assumed that Betha has again left the music scene to pursue his television show. Today he lives in Georgia with his loved ones.
More specifically Jim Jones, Cam'ron and Juelz Santana, stemming from their past relationship in which they felt he abandoned Harlem, and more specifically them, becoming a man of the cloth out of fear after seeing a childhood friend, murdered. They also released a diss track insulting him, "Take 'Em To Church" (which appeared on Diplomatic Immunity 2). The song contains many references to their colorful history while also questioning his sincerity toward his new found faith.
According to Fabolous, Mase approached him in Philadelphia and commented on how he "appreciated" Fab as an artist. The two artists then shook hands and went their separate ways. But some time later, Mase quipped on his song "I Don’t Know Officer": "I don’t know why Loon and Fabby won’t just say I’m their daddy", implying that both Fabolous and rapper Loon stole their laid back style from him. He made a diss track "Murda (We Don’t Believe You)". Fabolous uses 50 Cent's hook from "Life’s on the Line" saying: "Murda, I don’t believe you / Murda, f*ck around and leave you / Murda, we don’t believe you / Murda Murda, your life’s on the line."
In the past, critics have compared Fabolous', Loon's and Mase’s rhyme styles, noting similarities in flow and vocal cadence. Fabolous acknowledged in an interview on the Black Entertainment Television program Rap City that he was aware, and even agreed that, the two emcees had similar voices. However, the emcees had never directly voiced animosity towards each other in the past.
The "beef" has however apparently been squashed. When asked about his next album, Mase stated that on his next release, there would be a track entitled "We Run It", which will also feature LL Cool J. Mase then apologized for his past comments in songs like "I Don't Know Officer".
Though Mase was the one who introduced Loon to Bad Boy CEO P. Diddy, Loon has voiced (in both interviews and songs) that he felt he owed Mase nothing. He has even gone as far as to state that he was the one that actually helped Mase get signed. This is widely discredited.
After badmouthing Wu-Tang at a concert, Bad Boy recording artist Mase had a run-in with Ghostface and his entourage at a club in New York City. There was some sort of physical altercation between Mase's and Ghostface's camps, and Mase left the incident with a broken jaw. Kanye West is among several rappers who have made reference to the incident, rapping "...if you could feel how my face felt/ You would know how Mase felt..." on his single "Through the Wire". Shyheim also referred to the incident in a freestyle, with the line "The Empire State, where Ghostface retired Mase". In the June 2007 issue of Hip Hop Connection magazine, Wu-Tang affiliate Cilvaringz stated that Ghostface had in fact done time in jail for "beating up" Mase.
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