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Mase ‘Harlem World’ 15 Years Later: Stevie J, Monifah Remember Working on the Album


In 1997, Bad Boy Records was experiencing a rebirth of sorts. In March of that year, the imprint had lost its anchor, The Notorious B.I.G. after the popular emcee was gunned down in Los Angeles. Diddy (or Puff Daddy, as he was then known) had momentarily lost his footing on the “street” side of rap, but the label was on the cusp of introducing a whole new style with the October release of Ma$e‘s Harlem World. The young rapper from uptown brought fun back to the genre with his playful lyrics, flashy aesthetic and toothy, child-like grin.

Production from the Hitmen, Bad Boy’s in-house team, made hip-hop fans want to dance again after the year’s unexpected violence. Ma$e brought an undeniably sunny shine to the game, and although some may frown at the memory of the shiny suits and bad dancing, he brought humor when rap was in dire need of a smile.Harlem’s son had dropped a debut album worthy of the hype. Harlem World produced hit singles “Lookin’ At Me,” “What You Want,” and “Feel So Good,” and Ma$e’s achieved far more success than anyone could have expected, ushering in hip-hop’s new sound.

In celebration of Harlem World‘s 15th anniversary, on Oct. 28, The BoomBox took a moment to former Hitmen producer Stevie J, of “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” fame, and singer Monifah, who was featured on the track “I Need To Be.” We learned about studio life during the Harlem World sessions, some potentially embarrassing antics that went on during the recording, and what Ma$e is up to lately.

See Stevie J and Monifah Reminisce on the 15th Anniversary of Harlem World


Watch ’10 Biggest Selling Hip-Hop Acts In U.S. History’

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