In 1997, Puffy’s number one signee The Notorious B.I.G. was fatally shot while attending an after party in Los Angeles. After losing his Michael Jordan, Diddy leaned on Mase, the Scottie Pippen of Bad Boy, to step up to the plate. That resulted in the creation of Harlem World.
Puffy went with a balance formula for Mase’s debut. “Feel So Good,” the album’s lead single, was funky and up-beat. The Kool & The Gang sampled-track had us all dancing upon it’s release. Mase catered to the ladies with “I Need to Be” and “What You Want,” with vocal help from Monifah and Total, respectively.
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“24. Hrs to Live” and “Niggaz Wanna Act” was created with the streets in mind. One of my favorite joints was “Cheat On You” featuring Lil Cease, Jay-Z, and 112. My opinion, that’s one of the most underrated songs on the album.
People should also keep in mind that this album dropped during the beginning stages of the South dominance. So, it was a genius move for Puffy to reach out to South legends, 8Ball & MJG to assist with “The Player Way,” which was also one of my favorites.
[“Hip Hop Roundtable” by HHAD podcast coming SOON!]
With the album eventually becoming a multi-platinum seller and Rap Best Album Grammy nominee, I say the balanced formula was a proven winner. #TBT
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Mase’s ‘Harlem World’; Classic, Dope, Regular, or Garbage?
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