After years out of the game, Mase popped up on the remix to Wale's "Slight Remix," and the whole industry seemed to welcome him back with open arms. French Montana recruited the former Bad Boy for the song.
Rumors had Mase signing to Rick Ross's Maybach Music Group. And Hot 97 DJ Funkmaster Flex talked to Mase last week in an on-the-air interview in which the rapper-turned-preacher confirmed that he's eyeing a comeback. But at least one of Mase's old running mates is skeptical. In an exclusive interview with BET.com, Jadakiss told Mase, in the words of Big Daddy Kane, ain't no half-stepping.
"Murda’s my brother from another mother for life, but this game ain't to be played with or tampered with. If he gon’ come back, he’s got to come all the way back or stay over there at the pulpit," Jada said.
Kiss was referring, of course, to Mase's abrupt exit from the rap game in 1999, when the Harlem rapper retired to follow religion right after dropping his sophomore album, Double Up. He's since become a minister in Atlanta. He did make a brief return back in 2004 with Welcome Back and was associated with 50 Cent's G Unit, but turned back to the church almost as abruptly as the first time.
Jada, who frequently collaborated with Mase on-wax back in Bad Boy's late '90s heyday, told BET.com that Mase needs to stop straddling the line. "I love him, but he’s got to let me know that he’s dead serious," he said. "He keep coming back for a short cup of coffee [and] then leaves. He’s got to stay for breakfast if he's going to come back."
Jadakiss, meanwhile, already has his own comeback of sorts underway. Although he's managed to stay relevant with frequent guest verses — including the Web-dominating "It's Good," off Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV last year — Kiss hasn't released an album since 2009's The Last Kiss. A few days ago, Jada kicked the door back in with a new mixtape, Consignment. The project features Jada collaborating with rap's most promising up-and-comers, including Wale, ASAP Rocky, Future, Waka Flocka Flame (alongside his late associate Slim Dunkin) and producers Jahlil Beats and Araabmusik.
Mase should probably take notes; Jada revealed that he purposely reached out to hip hop's new generation in order to keep his sound fresh.
"That's what it's about. Being able to blend with the new kids and the youth will give you longevity and will put legs on your career," he said. "Some dudes get stubborn and get characterized as, you know, you getting a couple of dollars, selling a couple records, your flow is alright and the people got you gassed, and then you start putting yourself in a bubble and you don't want to blend in with the new and what's going on. And that just hurts you. Me, I got a 15-year-old son and I respect his ear and his sound of music, and I just try to make a marriage of that with what I know how to do, and what I do with what's going on out here."
Consignment is leading the way for Jadakiss's controversially titled new album, Top 5 Dead or Alive, slated to drop late this summer.
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(Photos from left: Fernando Leon/Getty Images, Atlantic Records)