Watch rare footage of a 1998 Mase freestyle
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Watch rare footage of a 1998 Mase freestyle

Harlem-born rapper Mase was the new kid on the lock in the late-1990s and, as a member of Bad Boy Entertainment, was held in high regard by New Yorkers. Scouted by Diddy to join his super crew in 1996, aged 21, Mase quickly achieved commercial success. Prior to joining forces with the Revolt TV mogul, the emcee was an affiliate of Big L and was a member of the Harlem-based crew Children of the Corn alongside Cam’Ron Herb McGruff and Bloodshed. 

In the ’90s, Mase wasn’t an international name like his mentor Diddy and was still searching for global fame. To market himself and his upcoming alum nationwide in the US, he accompanied Diddy on the Rosie O’Donnell Show, a popular daytime talk show in 1997. Following this, in 1998, he joined the late Gang Starr lyricist Guru on his trip to the UK to promote his project internationally. While in London, Mase visited BBC Radio One to appear on the Tim Westwood Show. The country’s only nationwide hip-hop radio show.

After an interview to promote his alum Harlem World, both Mase and Guru performed a freestyle. The pair rapped over several instrumentals, including Diddy’s ‘Been Around the World (Remix)’ and ‘If You Think I’m Jiggy (Remix)’ produced by the Neptunes. 

Following this freestyle, Mase did obtain international fame, and in the early-2000s, the musician (real name Mason Betha) released his third studio album, Welcome Back which debuted at number four on the Billboard 200. Following his break away from Diddy, Betha labelled his new self as a “bad boy gone clean.” The Harlem act spent the vast majority of his time during the 2000s fraternising with G-unit, and although he was never officially part of the crew, he appeared on a lot of their material. You can hear his legendary 1998 Westwood freestyle in the video below.