December 27, 2012 - 7:25 pm
William E. Ketchum III
Find a strong entertainment lawyer
Ma$e’s career has been in limbo for so long because he has been in contract with Diddy, a label head whose resume includes the “Free The L.O.X.” campaign, signee Mark Curry’s book “Dealing With The Devil,” and Jay Electronica signing to another mogul’s label after years of friendship and collaboration. In a recent MTV interview with Sway Calloway, Ma$e even admitted that he performed on much of the Diddy-lead “No Way Out” tour for free. From here on out, Ma$e needs to have all of his paperwork handled tightly enough to put his best interests first.
Release free music
Appearances on Wale’s “Slight Work” remix and G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer show that Ma$e still has the flow to pay the bills, and a Summer Jam cameo showed that people are happy to see him again. But the real foundation to Betha’s legacy was Harlem World, one of the strongest debuts from rap’s commercialized shiny suit era. To even attempt to get his spot back, Ma$e needs to prove that he can still make a full project that fans can enjoy from top to bottom; before that, dropping an EP with only a few songs may be a good idea to ease fans back in. He also needs to make it free, until listeners can trust him again.
Address the church issue
When Ma$e first retired from rap, he said he was doing so because he wanted to follow God and inspire others to do the same. He founded a church and became a pastor, and returned from retirement with a squeaky clean image.
Once he teamed up with 50 Cent, he released a mixtape, G-Unit Radio Part 16: Crucified 4 The Hood, with himself wearing a Jesus-inspired crown of thorns. This was the first of a series of steps that made fans believe that his exit from rap, and his sudden religious conviction wasn’t that genuine in the first place. Pastor Betha needs to give a definitive statement on his religious views and the status of his church, and to deliver that message musically (see Jay-Z’s verse on Rick Ross’ “Free Masons”) and in interviews.
Find a crew
Ma$e’s career blossomed early when he was with Bad Boy Records, one of the strongest crews around with acts like The Notorious B.I.G., 112, Black Rob and more. To regain his footing, it might be in his best interest to find another group that can highlight his strengths without making him lose his identity. In his recent MTV interview with Sway, he pondered teaming up with G.O.O.D. Music or Drake’s freshly-inked October’s Very Own imprint with Warner Bros. Rumors earlier this year placed him with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group. All of them could work, as long as he is given playing time and offered a push and a release schedule once he gets a hit song.
Team with a superproducer
Another one of Ma$e’s strong suits with Bad Boy was working with The Hitmen, Bad Boy’s multi-platinum group of producers that included Deric D-Dot Angelletie, Stevie J, Chucky Thompson and Rich “Young Lord” Frierson. To find his spot back, Ma$e will likely need one producer, or a close-knit group of beatmakers, to give him a unified hit-making sound that will make his records stable and digestible. Kanye West has mastered the pop formula and has said that Ma$e is his favorite rapper, along with shouting out the Harlem native in several of his songs, so he may be an ideal candidate for executive producing an album. Drake’s OVO team of Noah “40” Shebib, T-Minus and Boi1da may be able to cook up a new formula for him.