Mase Honored with His Own Day in Harlem: 'Thank You For Making Me Great'
Johnny Nunez/WireImage Mase
Mase is getting the hometown hero treatment!
The legendary MC, 47, gave the neighborhood its flowers with his breakout LP Harlem World in 1997, but this week, he saw his own outpouring of love when City Council Member Kevin C. Riley presented the rapper with a proclamation and plaque commemorating Jan. 24 as "Ma$e Day" in Harlem.
Several of Mase's collaborators were in attendance on Tuesday, as well as family members, as the rap great earned his latest recognition in front of the neighborhood's iconic Apollo Theater.
Johnny Nunez/WireImage Mase
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"I wanna thank all of you for coming out here today," Mase, born Mason Betha, said during a speech surrounded by his loved ones. "But most of all, I want to say this, because this really matters in our community — that a win only feels great when you win with family. And 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, DKING and Chi Chi and Just Listen and everybody from the Rich Fish family. Thank you. And Harlem, thank you for making me great," he continued. "Blessings. And most of all, my pastor is here. This is the guy that prayed for me and I left hip hop. So y'all all wanna know who changed me? This is the guy that changed me."
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After a triumphant '90s run as part of Bad Boy Entertainment with hits like "Feels So Good" and his unforgettable feature on "Mo Money Mo Problems," Mase released his debut Harlem World in 1997. He's released two additional LPs, 1999's Double Up and 2004's Welcome Back, and famously departed from the music industry to become an ordained minister in 1999. With a few comebacks in music and after being named the pastor of Gathering Oasis Church, a non-denominational Christian church in Atlanta, in 2021, Mase has since teased a signing with Death Row Records under Snoop Dogg.
Mase's recognition comes just before the 50th anniversary of hip-hop and as he and hip-hop titans Jadakiss and Cam'Ron hit the Apollo stage on Saturday for a special performance — following the cancellation of the New York trio's 3 Headed Monster Tour in 2022.
This year, we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop!
Together with the #HoodCaucus and @Powerandmusic, we are honoring legends of the Hip Hop culture right here in NYC.
We had the opportunity to celebrate a pioneer in Hip Hop, Mase, at the Apollo Theater. pic.twitter.com/WDwbQOUjbr
— Council Member Kevin C. Riley (@CMKevinCRiley) January 26, 2023
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Cam is no stranger to the Apollo stage, and even appeared on it just last weekend as part of Drake's two-night SiriusXM run at the venue.
Appearing alongside fellow Dipset members, Cam ran through a few of his own hits including "Oh Boy" and "Hey Ma" — all while rapping in front of an on-stage Harlem deli featuring a Big L mural. During the Sunday show, Drake wore a Dipset jacket that he borrowed straight from the rapper's closet.
"This group of people in this type of building, it's almost impossible to get the two," Drake said at the show. "This crowd is an absolute f---ing 10 out of 10... We apologize for the delays and all that s--- but thank you. You gave me so much confidence and joy to get back to performing."