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Double Up

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Album Review

Shortly after he completed his second album, Double Up, Mase announced his retirement from hip-hop. He chose to follow the path of the Lord, which didn't just mean that he could no longer rap — he no longer had the desire to do so. Frustratingly, the album finds Mase continuing to improve, but falling short of delivering a stunning farewell that could stand as his last testament. Double Up pretty much recycles the same hooktastic pop-rap formulas as Harlem World, following Puff Daddy's design of borrowing the best, regardless of the source (for example, Gary Numan provides the basis for one cut), and turning it into radio-ready party music. While this is pleasing to the ear, it tends to be a little monotonous and too predictable, especially when compared to Mase's raps. True, he still favors a flat, slow delivery but there's a growing undercurrent of distaste for hip-hop clichés, a feeling which, ultimately, led to Mase throwing in the towel and turning to God. Certainly, this gives Double Up more lyrical drama than the average hip-hop album, and it's often enough to keep it compelling when the music flat-lines. Still, there's still the sneaking suspicion that Double Up could have been more — either an excellent pop-rap record with no flab, or a convincing statement of purpose, evidence of why Mase had to leave hip-hop behind. As it stands, it's simply a good sequel to a promising debut. Which, of course, is all that it needed to be, but in light of Mase's retirement, it's hard not to want more.

Biography

Born: 27 August 1977 in Jacksonville, FL

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Best known as Puff Daddy's favorite sidekick, Mase secured his place as a Bad Boy label favorite through a series of guest appearances on hit singles by other artists. By the time he issued his debut album, the Bad Boy promotional machine had effectively already made him a star. His flow was slow and relaxed, and his raps often unabashedly simple, which helped make him especially popular with the younger segment of Puff Daddy's pop-rap audience (they could understand him and rap along). Of course,...
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Double Up, Mase
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