- This article is about the rapper. For the basketball player nicknamed 'Mase', see Anthony Mason. For the municipality in Switzerland, see Mase, Switzerland.
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, Fickle Fong, 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 had recently attended the annual Player Haters Ball in the area. Combs 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." Mase also featured on the Grammy-nominated Notorious B.I.G. single "Mo Money Mo Problems", earning him possibly his biggest success worldwide and making his name truly known outside the US. Notably popular among mainstream audiences, Mase became one of the label's premiere acts. But he gave up his friendships with early friends like Cam'ron when he gave up being a rapper and became a preacher. In 1997, Mase was named Source Magazine Rapper of the Year.
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
, where he would study at Clark Atlanta University
and meet a good friend, Jasper Littlejohn (aka Velvet Jones). Mase received an honorary Th.D
from St. Paul's Bible Institute in New York and addresses himself as Dr. Mason Betha.