Before Ma$e became the diddy-bopping Bad Boy with super slick punchlines, he had dreams of singing his heart out.
Performing at ESSENCE Fest’s Art of Hip-Hop Superlounge, the Harlem MC revealed his pre-rap ambitions to an energetic crowd swept up in nostalgia.
“I always wanted to sing growing up—I thought I was an R&B singer,” said the dapper rapper, who sported a creamy white tux, black shirt and diamond-studded gold chain. “That’s why I keep quitting [music], because I really want to sing.”
Just to show how serious he was, Ma$e, who turns 40 next month, requested a contemporary song he could croon. The DJ played Jeremih’s hit record “Don’t Tell ’Em” and Ma$e gave it his best shot. Let’s just say he made the right choice by pursuing hip-hop. (Anyone who’s ever heard “Jealous Guy” from Harlem World could attest.)
Ma$e’s karaoke session was short-lived, though. He ran through some of his most beloved hits, including “Feel So Good,” “Lookin’ At Me,” and “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems,” also rhyming Puff Daddy and The Notorious B.I.G.’s classic verses.
Ma$e, who famously took a musical hiatus to become a minister back in 1999, closed out his 45-minute set by leading the audience in a short prayer. “I believe I receive Jesus Christ as my lord and savior,” he began. “If I die tonight, I know I’m right. I’m blessed. I’m highly favored. I’m fortunate. I’m to be envied. In Jesus name.”