On this day in Hip Hop History Ma$e releases his debut solo album Harlem World. As a quintessential Harlem album, Harlem World introduces a new side of Harlem rap. Before this project, it was common knowledge that the residents of Harlem were a little more, brash, flamboyant, and braggadocios than the rest of the Big Apple, but it had yet to be so openly displayed through the regions music. Prior to this release, Harlem had given birth to Doug E. Fresh, Kool Moe Dee, Kurtis Blow, and Biz Markie but had yet to see an artist with the level of conceited charm that a Bad Boy backed Ma$e had on this album.
Directly paving the way for groups like The Diplomats and A$AP Mob, this album was chopped full of the glitz and glamour that came with the fast money Harlem lifestyle. Along with it’s luxurious themes, the LP is laced with high energy production and a star-studded cast of guest appearances from some of New York’s finest, including: The LOX, DMX, Lil’ Kim, Jay-Z, Total,112, and Busta Rhymes.
Here’s the Ma$e – Lookin At Me video:
With Biggie gone, this album was set up to be the debut of Puff Daddy’s “new protege”. And although it fell short of the acclaim brought by Ready to Die, commercially, this album hit the same level of success as every other Bad Boy debut claiming the #1 spot across music charts. The album has to date sold over 2,000,000 copies and was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 41st Grammy Awards.
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