On April 1999, top-selling Bad Boy artist Ma$e revealed that he was retiring from rap to become a born-again Christian, claiming he found God. However, 13 years and three returns later, the Harlem cat proved that leaving the game for good—despite it being for religious purposes—was harder than one would think (who retires from rap anyway?). After announcing his return to rap a few weeks ago, following his appearance on Wale's “Slight Work (Remix)” and phone-in interview with Funkmaster Flex, the rapper-turned-pastor-turned-rapper again made it even clearer last night (June 3) at Hot 97's Summer Jam concert, as he hit the grand stage with French Montana, Wale and Big Sean to perform his verse off the aforementioned track. Though it isn't clear how long this go-around will last, XXL constructed a timeline on the post-retirement career of hip-hop's once favorite playa turned pastor turned playa MC reborn.—Ralph Bristout (@XXLRalph)
Ma$e announces his retirement from rap during an interview with Funkmaster Flex on New York's Hot 97, revealing that he found God and also declaring “Ma$e” dead.
Despite announcing his retirement, Ma$e's sophomore LP Double Up releases and sells a total of 420,000 copies.
After moving from Harlem to Atlanta, the former rapper (at the time) enrolled at Clark Atlanta University to pursue a bachelor's degree in education.
Ma$e is ordained by Pastor Jonathan Carter, as a pastor of East Atlanta's Siloam Baptist Church.
Finds S.A.N.E. (Saving a Nation Endangered) Church international and Mason Betha ministries in Atlanta.
After first meeting each other at the Siloam Baptist Church in Atlanta, Pastor Mason Betha announces his engagement with girlfriend Twyla McInnis to his church.
Ma$e releases an autobiography, Revelations: There's a Light After the Lime.
Receives an Honorary Doctorate of Theology from St. Paul's Bible Institute in New York, NY.
Betha returns to rap and announces Welcome Back album to drop on Bad Boy Records.
During an interview with Hot 97's Morning Show, Ma$e engaged in a heated conversation with longtime friends Cam'Ron and Jim Jones after detailing the reason for his spilt with the crew. “I don’t like you. You shouldn’t have came out your mouth. I’ll put some dentures in your mouth,” exclaimed Jones. “Go back down south with your congregation.” Ma$e brushed off the insults later on in the interview stating, “I love them dudes. It’s just sad when people don’t understand.”
Backed by singles “Welcome Back” and “Breathe, Stretch, Shake”—both cracking the top 10 on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart—Ma$e’s third studio album Welcome Back releases to sales of about 188,000 copies its first week, on the way to 550,000 in total. After the album’s release, Betha hooked up with Kanye West for remixes to “Jesus Walks” and “Welcome Back,” and also joined Fat Joe, Eminem and Remy Ma for the "Lean Back (Remix)." Soon after this return however, Ma$e would go on another rap hiatus.
After making a surprise appearance with 50 Cent and G-Unit on the Anger Management 3 Tour, Ma$e returns and releases his debut G-Unit mixtape, Crucified 4 the Hood: 10 Years of Hate along with reclaiming his former Murda Ma$e moniker. During this return, he engaged in beef with Fabolous, Loon and Dipset and eventually would go on another rap hiatus after his G-Unit deal didn’t fall through. The rapper was also rumored to be having a fling with former G-Unit songstress, Olivia.
During an interview with XXL, SRC Records’ Steve Rifkind revealed that Ma$e was close to signing a deal with his label. The rapper even released a new song titled “Extra Ordinary.” “We are closing the Ma$e deal. His album is crazy. We are doing a production and distribution deal with him. We don't have a date for the album yet, but it will be out by the end of the year. It's all brand new material," Rifkind disclosed. However, the album and deal would not follow through and Ma$e would once again leave the game.
According to reports, the pastor turned rapper was involved in a car accident after allegedly trying to pick up a transvestite in Atlanta, GA. The victim of the accident later appeared on local radio show Ryan Cameron Morning Show and spoke on the incident stating that the girls ran up to her car after accident saying, “Girl, girl, we seen what happened, we seen everything!'” "It's like, five or six of them because they working, so they run up to the car saying, 'Girl, are you OK? He's been circling around here like four times already trying to pick one of these queens up.'"
Pastor Betha expands his El Elyon International Church (EEIC) to Phoenix, AZ. “It just makes sense that we are on both coasts,” he explained to AllHipHop.com. “Our vision has always been to plant churches all over the world, and Phoenix is the first of many.”
Signed to Ja Rule’s then Mpire Records, Harry O enlists Ron Browz and Ma$e for the remix to his buzz record “Uptown Boy.” The record marks another return for the Harlem World rapper.
After releasing a remix to Drake’s “Best I Ever Had” record Ma$e calls into DJ Self’s radio show to officially announce his return, citing the death of Michael Jackson as his inspiration for doing so. "I'm excited. Mike passed away, it just lit the fire up under me, made me wanna go to the studio and do something,” he said. Soon after he gave a shoutout to his affiliates from Diddy to 50 Cent, the whole Harlem, Cam’Ron and Jim Jones, the latter would call into the Power 105.1 radio show to apolgize to his longtime friend. “What’s good Betha…I apologize for everything I did when I was younger. You can get my number from Self and sh*t like that. Pardon my French. Pardon, pardon me it's monumental that's why I'ma get off it. You already know Betha, it's nothing but love. Self's got my number, I'm jumping off the line. I'll holla, Jones."
Following their infamous Hot 97 spat, the two childhood friends mend fences and collaborate on a new record titled "Get It" which landed on Killa’s Boss Of All Bosses and Ma$e’s I Do the Impossible mixtapes respectively.
While Diddy was being interviewed live on-air interview with V103’s Ryan Cameron, Ma$e made an impromptu appearance with papers that would allegedly release him from his Bad Boy contract. Diddy caught off guard, signed the papers and later told Cameron after signing, “[Ma$e] has the freedom to go do whatever he wants to do. People have felt like our situation, I may have stopped him or whatever. He can do whatever he want to do If you want them Mase verses get ya hustle on right now.” However, Miss Info would later reveal that the papers he had Diddy signed were just forms that would only allow Ma$e to do songs with other artists and that he was still contractually signed to Bad Boy.
The pastor jumps on the remix to French Montana’s street anthem after the latter’s NY Minute can bring Mase Back line. The two would later drop a video for the remix.
I Do the Impossible
After weeks of dropping new joints off the project, Ma$e comes through with his first new project five years. As the tape was tepidly received, the rapper deleted his then Twitter account and once again went on another rap hiatus.
With rumors swirling about his comeback, a Twitpic photo surfaces of the Harlemite in the studio with Rico Love, Rick Ross, French Montana and Omarion.
TMZ reports that the former Bad Boy chart-topper owes a total of $124,774.85 in back taxes stemming from the years 2000, 2001 and 2004.
Amidst rumors of possibly joining MMG, Ma$e jumps on the official remix to Wale’s Ambition album cut featuring French Montana and Bad Boy general Diddy.
“You know, Flex. To keep it 100 with you, nobody’s got more chances like I got. I think meant to do it,” the rapper revealed to Hot 97’s Funkmaster Flex about his decision to return to the rap game. “I keep throwing it away, it keep coming back to me. It must be meant."
Betha makes his return to the grand stage during French Montana's set to perform his remix verse to Wale's "Slight Work (Remix)"