In 1997 Mase burst on the rap world with super producer Puff Daddy in the year of Bad Boy Records. After appearances on Notorious BIG’s “Life After Death” album, the buzz on Mase was huge. After retiring from rap a few years later to start a congregation in Atlanta, the buzz returned when it was announced Mase would be returning to rap.
1. Welcome Back
Sampling the theme song to the old TV show “Welcome Back Kotter”, Mase sets the tone to the entire album. The theme song to his return couldn’t be any more fitting. Mase is back, and according to this instant hit song, hasn’t missed a beat. Expect this single to get mad play in the clubs and on TV stations worldwide.
2. Keep Dreamin
At first the beat is kind of annoying, but the rising tempo after a few listens fits Mase’s flow on this song. Unfortunetely there is no saving the horrible Kanye West “Workout Plan” style chorus. A better chorus and this track might have been a banger but it ruins the tempo and doesn’t fit at all with Mase’s style on the track.
3. We Don’t Have To
A more laid back beat, a serenade to the ladies. Mase is back to his old *****y style of macking the ladies. The R&B chorus fits the song, personally not my style of track, but for the intended audience, it will probably be a hit.
4. I Luv Twyla
A second love song back to back on the album, already the style of the rest of the album is set. This is what Mase is good at, and always has been good at. He reminices his old relationship with a former girl, and the chorus again perfectly fits the track. Good track.
5. My Harlem Lullaby
A faster tempo but while its hard to pinpoint the problem with the production, there is definitely something missing. Repetitive beat, and the chorus is a little off but decent. A thank you song to his home for sticking beside him through everything. Average at best.
6. Wasting My Time
Another song dedicated to ladies, but this time it’s a more cynical look at love life. The beat is a little bit of 8Bit Nintendo mixed with a R&B flavor. Surprisingly works, and Mase upholds his end of the bargain and doesn’t miss a step on it.
7. Gotta Survive
A definite highlight to the album, a reflection of his life, over a slower and deep beat. His few years as a pastor really shows in this track, it makes you think, which is kind of a first from Mase since “24 Hrs. To Live”. Easily one of the best tracks on the album. Smoke to this track for sure.
8. The Love You Need
Starts with a rap clichÃ© skit of a phone call to his girl, starts off with the R&B hook which is nothing outstanding. But Mase really steps up his story telling ability on this track. At this point in the album though, the love songs are a little tiring.
9. I Still Love You ft. Nelly
Hooking up with the man who got Mase to return to the rap game, Mase and Nelly do their best to defeat the atrocious chorus. If that doesn’t make you skip ahead, the flow over the beat will. Worst track on this album.
10. Do You Remember
After the last song, it might just seem like this track is good, there is something catchy to it. Whether its just following the previous act that makes this stand out or not, it doesn’t really have anything else over the other songs. Average.
11. Into What You Say
The production on this track is something Darren Vegas would have done in his horrible Death Row experience. Again, that style fails again, and doesn’t work on this track either. Another annoying chorus, what happened to Puff’s strictness on good choruses?
12. I Owe
Again Mase tries to do a sing along chorus which again fails. The production isn’t very great either. He doesn’t do so bad on flowing over what he’s been given but it seems like a good time to end the album. And they did.
With the excitement of Mase being back, the question remained what Mase would be back? Harlem World or Double Up? Only twice on this album did Mase give us what he is capable of with “Welcome Back” and “Gotta Survive”. The rest of the album is repetitive, and while Mase did his job, the production and choruses are very lacking. Gives the feeling that with the excitement of Mase’s return Bad Boy was just jumping at the bit to get this album out without really paying attention to the detail they’ve been known for with production and hit choruses. Hard to pinpoint who to blame on this, but the album was rushed and it shows. Two instant hits previously mentioned, but the rest of the album will be forgotten by the end of the year.
Rating – 2/5