On this day, October 28, in hip-hop history…
1997: It wasn’t surprising that Ma$e would become the next big star on Bad Boy Records after his smash guest appearances on both Puff Daddy’s No Way Out and The Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death. 1997′s Harlem World solidified Ma$e’s position as the Prince of Bad Boy and a burgeoning hip-hop megastar in his own right.
Released in October 1997, Harlem World was a smash-hit landing at No. 1 on the Billboard charts and selling in excess of 3 million records. The combination of Ma$e’s buttery flow and the Bad Boy pop sensibility was a perfect synthesis for pop chart domination that Harlem World would achieve. The album aimed for big-budget, blockbuster proportions and did not fail to achieve its goal. Songs like “Feel So Good” and “Lookin’ At Me” were giant hits at the time while the album was littered was guest appearances from artists such as Jay Z, DMX, The LOX, Puff Daddy, Busta Rhymes & Total.
Although Ma$e and the entire Bad Boy Family of the era would face criticism for their shiny-suited pop aspirations by many hip-hop fans, Harlem World is indicative of the era that it was birthed in. It was a flashy, big-budget affair that was ideal for the growing commercialized aspect of hip-hop. 16 year later, Harlem World remains one of the highest-selling debuts for a rapper in hip-hop history.