Former Bad Boy Records rapper Ma$e recently talked about his pre-fame days alongside Diddy and why he is largely responsible for the music executive’s success as a solo artist.
According to Mason Betha, his demo tape eventually turned into 1997’s platinum-selling No Way Out.
“We just put our heads together and Puff said he was gonna be the artist,” Ma$e explained to Sway. “I stayed in the studio, helped write and he came up with the records. He wanted to do the records that I wrote and he just started rapping on ‘em and then he said ‘I’ma put you on the record with me,’ so that’s how it happened. Everything I had for myself that was like my demo, that became his album. Then I was thinking, well, ‘how can I do it again?’ He worked with me to become the artist that I became, doing Harlem World, so it was just a collective effort.” (MTV)
Flooded with hit singles, many music critics cite No Way Out as Puff’s coming out party.
Before releasing his first solo album, Puff Daddy (aka Sean “Puffy” Combs) was famous as the producer of the Notorious B.I.G., Junior Mafia, Craig Mack, Lil’ Kim, and many other rappers. As he was making his solo debut, the Notorious B.I.G. was murdered, and that loss weighs heavily on Puff’s mind throughout No Way Out. Even though the album has some funky party jams scattered throughout, the bulk of the album is filled with fear, sorrow, and anger, and it’s not only evident on the tribute “I’ll Be Missing You” (a duet with Faith Evans and 112 that is based on the Police’s “Every Breath You Take”) but also on gangsta anthems like “It’s All About the Benjamins.” That sense of loss makes No Way Out a more substantial album than most mid-’90s hip-hop releases, and even if it has flaws — there’s a bit too much filler and it runs a little long — it is nevertheless a compelling, harrowing album that establishes Puff Daddy as a vital rapper in his own right. (All Music)
Earlier this year, Ma$e and Puff shared microphone time on Wale’s “Slight Work” remix.
For weeks, Wale’s been on Twitter teasing the world about the remix to his current hit single, “Slight Work,” claiming the track’s co-conspirators would shock everyone. With the song’s liberation moments ago, Folarin may have accomplished just that. French Montana’s not exactly surprising given his connection with MMG and the fact he’s one of rap’s more talked about names at the moment*. However, seeing Diddy and Mase on a track together in 2012 may not have been high on the list of guesses. (Smoking Section)
Last year, AKOO Clothing marketing director Jeff Belizaire named Diddy SOHH Underrated.
“This is how I’ve been feeling lately. I heard Diddy and Dirty Money‘s entire [Last Train to Paris] album for the first time a few weeks ago. It’s probably the best album I’ve heard this year. I know a lot of people didn’t really stick to it because Puff was attached to it and I didn’t listen to it because Puff was attached to it. But it’s an incredible album. So I think Puff will probably be my first answer for SOHH Underrated. I’m just going to go out on a limb and say Diddy put out a classic album. I think Diddy and that album were very underrated. I’m not sure what the numbers did but I know that within the industry, the people I know, nobody was trying to take it seriously or take him seriously.” (SOHH Underrated)