On this date in Hip-Hop history, Harlem icon Ma$e released his sophomore album Harlem World on the Bad Boy/Arista imprint.
A millennial piece of uptown Hip Hop history post the shooting death of rap giant Big L, Harlem World helped usher in a new era of Hip Hop in Harlem. Prior to this release, Harlem had given birth to Doug E. Fresh, Kool Moe Dee, Kurtis Blow, and Rob Base, but had yet to see an artist with the level of conceited charm coupled with chart-topping hits to back it up that a Bad Boy-backed Ma$e had on this album.
Paving the way for groups like The Diplomats and A$AP Mob, this album was chock full of the opulent content expected from a true Harlem World representative. Along with its luxurious themes, the LP is laced with high energy production and a star-studded cast of guest appearances from some of New York’s finest, including labelmates The LOX, DMX, Lil’ Kim, Jay-Z, Total, 112, and Busta Rhymes.
After the untimely passing of the Notorious B.I.G., this album was set up to be the debut of Diddy’s “new protege and although it obviously fell short of the acclaim brought by Ready to Die, commercially, this album hit the same level of success as every other Bad Boy debut. Harlem World reached the pole position across music charts, sold over 2,000,000 copies to date, and was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 41st Grammy Awards.
Salute to Ma$e, Diddy and the Bad Boy fam for this piece of Hip-Hop history!