I got into hip-hop around 1997. At the time, Jordan was in the middle of winning his fifth ring, the internet just started booming, and hip-hop, unfortunately, was at an all-time low morale-wise. We just lost Pac a few months prior, we would lose Big in that year, and there was so much tension going on between both the east and west coast. At the time, gangsta rap was what was cool; hell, Wu-Tang, a group that looked like 10 gangsta-ass kidnappers, were huge. Eventually, along came an artist that would change hip-hop’s landscape forever: Murda Mase!
Mase felt like the coolest kid on the block. Mase also felt like he was created by executives that wanted to sell toys off of his likeness. Mase would slap the hell out of you, but he was more concerned with getting girls. Mase was flashy. Mase was flashy. MASE WAS FLASHY! Matter of fact, I’m going to break down a verse by him from one of my favorite songs of all-time — “Feel So Good!”
Yo, what you know about goin’ out
Head west, red Lex, TV’s all up in the headrest
Try and live it up
Ride true, a bigger truck
Peeps all glittered up
Stick up can, they go what?
Jig wit it cuz ship crisp, split it all
Ho’s ride, get your nut ’till I can’t get it up
I’m a big man, give this man room
I’d a hit everything, from Cancun to Grant’s tomb
Why you standin’ on the wall?
Hand on your balls
Lighting up drugs always fightin’ in the club
I’m the reason they made the dress code
They figure I wouldn’t wild when I’m in my french clothes
Dress as I suppose, from my neck to my toes
Neck full of gold, baguettes in my Rolls
Wreck shows, collect those, extra O’s
Buy the E, get a key, to the Lex to hold
East, West, every state, come on, bury the hate
Millions, the only thing we in a hurry to make
Are the friend that act’s friend in a Lex or a Benz
Let’s begin, bring this BS to an end
Bruh, at the age of 9, I heard of a Lexus before but never phrased as Lex. TVs all up in the headrest? Sippin Cris? Lighting up drugs? Hell, I didn’t even know what hoes meant at the time. (I swear, when he said, “Ho’s ride, get your nut ’till I can’t get it up,” I thought he meant he was riding with holes in his car and somehow that was cool) Mase also told all rappers to bury the hate and get to the money; a sentiment tons of rappers use to end beef.
At the time, such luxurious rhetoric was frowned upon. These days, every single rapper talks about how they are balling and they get just as specific as Mase. Hell, even Casanova, one of the toughest rappers in the game, talks about luxurious s**t in his music. Here are a couple more tidbits about Mase:
- He was one of the few rappers that embraced sounding like someone who was out of his league singing-wise. Matter of fact, Mase was the first rapper I’ve ever heard appear on another rapper’s song singing a hook (“Horse & Carriage”)
- Mase was the first person that I heard feature Pharrell singing on a song.
- Mase was the first person I knew who wasn’t really bout that life but acted like he was from time to time.
- Mase developed crews with his brothers and sisters.
- Mase sounds like all the lazy ass rappers of today.
I know, I know, you guys are going to say KRS did this first or such and such did this first; but let’s be real, no one was doing what I said like Mason Betha. Unfortunately, Mase had a very brief rap career, but please don’t sleep on the impact he had on the game. Y’all might not think so, but I think Mase deserves a spot in hip-hop’s hall of fame.