A NEW interview with Mason Betha about his new life... Interview by S2sMagazine!
Mase is dead. Well…not literally. But the dimple faced young rapper who was introduced to fans by hip-hop mogul Puff Daddy in 1997 is no more. Nowadays, he is Mason Betha, pastor of "Saving a Nation Endangered" (S.A.N.E.) Ministries in Atlanta.
How did this all happen? Laid up in a swanky hotel room bed at Trumps Towers with one of his string of women, Mase woke up one morning and had an epiphany–a sudden perception into the spiritual meaning of reality. "This is not what I’m supposed to be doing with my life," he concluded.
Mase’s meteoric rise to superstardom began after meeting Puffy at a music convention. From the giddyup, the two became somewhat of a duo. They even wore identical outfits as they drove a crème colored Bentley Rolls Royce through the desert in the Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down video.
In 1997, Bad Boy released Mase’s solo album, Harlem World, containing the hit single, "What You Want." Fans saw the handsome thug caught in the midst of a tug of war with beautiful, young women. Mase was clean-cut and polished. Dressed in the finest gear, he was portrayed as a high-rolling, Cristal sipping, diamond-clad, platinum Rolex-wearing playa living on life’s top shelf. And when Mase smiled, oh how the ladies swooned!
By the end of 1999, Mase’s career, which had soared at jet speed, came to a screeching halt. Shortly after the release of his sophomore album, Double Up, Mase denounced his public persona. This would be his last album as a rapper. He was giving up show business and giving his life to Christ. The news sent shock waves throughout the hip-hop world. The album sold over four million copies.
By his own admission, Mase’s rampant partying, drinking and sexcapades had become too much for him. Mase the rap star was leading people to hell, he says. For that, Mase knew there would be hell to pay.
But isn’t the Lord Jesus Christ a savior? Yes, He is! He saved Mase and gave him a mission to preach a message of salvation. Now he is Mason Betha, the new Pastor of S.A.N.E. Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia. For the first time, hear his amazing story as only he can tell it.
Calvin: When you were younger, people would sometimes tell you in church that God has a great work for you. You said that scared you. Why?
Mason: When I was young I wasn’t aware of who God was or who the Lord was. When they used to tell me about how it would be, they would be telling me I would be a great man of God one day. I just wasn’t ready to accept all that.
Calvin: Did you grow up in the church?
Mason: No. I grew up hopping from church to church but not going to church. You know, going on Easter, Christmas, New Year’s, stuff like that…occasionally.
Calvin: How did you become Mase the rap star?
Mason: When I got about 15, I watched a whole bunch of my friends die. Then I went to Florida and I came back to New York. I was just rapping and trying to put all my life into music and trying to help people have fun because I seen so much wrong happen. Then I wound up meeting Puff Daddy and got into music and became a superstar overnight. For years I was sitting there wondering what was my purpose in life.
Calvin: Would you share the story of being in a hotel room with a young lady and you woke up, telling her that you felt differently about your life?
Mason: One day I just woke up and everything was so clear. It was like "this is not what you’re supposed to be doing." I was just laying in a hotel with a young lady and I just stopped. I just said, "We’re not supposed to be doing this." And she looked at me like I was crazy. So I went back and started dealing with this other girl in the same hotel. Then I just stopped again. One day I opened up a Bible and it was just speaking directly to me. I would try to show other people but they could not see it. I was just sitting there and I just knew it was something different that I’m supposed to be doing versus just waking up every day, smoking and drinking and doing music. I just knew it was something missing from my life that I was supposed to be doing and I couldn’t put my finger on it. But now I know. It was God’s way of showing me that "I’m speaking to you right now. If I can get you to change, I’ll make millions of people change through you because you’ve led millions of people to hell through doing the devil’s work. So now it’s time for you to lead those millions back to where they’re supposed to be."
Calvin: Where were you when this happened?
Mason: I was in the Trump Hotel in New York across from Central Park.
Calvin: I’ve heard the story of how you met Puffy at a music convention. After that meeting you shot to instant superstardom, didn’t you?
Calvin: Explain the difference between Mase and Pastor Mason Betha?
Mason: That was what I used to be. That’s why I say Mase and Mason Betha are two different things. Mase is what I used to be. Mason Betha is who I am now. So it’s just like everything you see on TV–that’s entertainment. What a person is doing for the Lord, this is a job you can’t fake. This is a lifestyle. This is not something you punch in at nine and you come out at five. If somebody sees you doing wrong at one o’clock in the morning, you’ve lost that job. So this is not the same versus entertainment. Entertainment you throw makeup on. You throw cameras on. You could make anybody look like something. This is not the same thing. A lot of people try to make this into an industry, but this is not the same thing. With the generation growing up today we can look at a person preaching and know if it’s real or not. You don’t need no special powers to know that.
Calvin: What are you telling people when you preach?
Mason: Hell is not full! There is [still] some room for some more people.
Calvin: I’ve heard you preach. You are not a fire and brimstone preacher. You don’t quote many Scriptures from the Bible. You simply speak from your heart. What you’ve said is raw. It’s real. It’s caused people to look at their lives and make life-changing decisions. That’s powerful. How would you describe your ministry?
Mason: I know I’m an example because I look at my life daily and I know I came a long way. And I know where God is taking me I probably got a long way to go. But while I’m going there, a lot of people gonna be won unto the Lord. I wouldn’t be surprised if millions of people are won to the Lord.
Calvin: How old are you?
Calvin: You told radio host Doug Banks that once you decided to give up rapping and give your life to Christ, your mother said she felt like she had gotten her son back.
Mason: Yeah, because it was a time when I was living that lifestyle and that lifestyle made me into Mase. That’s what the people fell in love with. They fell in love with the image that the money made. It’s almost like if you take a person right now singing for the Lord and you start giving them a whole bunch of money putting them on TV every day, they won’t be that same person that was all humble and nice and caring and sharing because now they’ve been given an image. And now they got to live out that image. Every person you come across every day is probably living an image. And the one’s not living an image know who they are. The one’s caught in an image, they will realize later who they are or who they need to be. This is why you have so many people in the music world and they’re unhappy. They are tired of living that image. When you say what would I say to someone who asks, "Was that an image?" everybody they watching is playing an image. That’s not them. They didn’t grow up with that. TV made that or the video made that or the money made that or the concerts made that. They’ve taken on a whole different image. That’s what’s really destroying the people because what happens when they can no longer live that image no more? They got everybody thinking they’re bling-bling forever and now you can’t bling-bling. What happens now? Do you go to drugs? Do you go to crack? I mean…where do you go? This is what happens to these stars when they so-called "fall."
Calvin: When you announced you were quitting rap and giving your life to the Lord, reactions were mixed. Some even snickered in disbelief of your sincerity.
Mason: I think the thing that makes me get a lot of heat is because it was various artists before me that went forward and said they was gonna give their lives to the Lord. They didn’t live up to their part. So now all the weight is on me, but really the weight is on God. Because of them falling, God is not gonna allow me to fall because He knows there are too many people watching me. And He knows I’m sincere. Not to say they weren’t sincere. We’re in two separate boats. They came to the Lord when they were at the bottom. They came to the Lord when they was bankrupt or on drugs. That’s not my story.
Calvin: What is your story? You were bling-blinging something terrible and yet you gave up everything. What did you actually give up?
Mason: When I came to the Lord I gave up everything. I gave up the cars. I gave up the jewelry. I gave up the money. I gave up everything…the lifestyle. The way of thinking, the heart, the eyes, the ears…I don’t even care to listen to what I used to listen to or look at what I used to look at or think about what I used to think about. Even though every time, even as you’re being a saint, the devil tries to bring those things back. But you have to always realize, I came this far by faith. They let me get too far. God has already resurrected me in every area. He’s already given me back stuff that I lost, so I’ve come too far to go back. So when people be like "I’m worried that he’s gonna be another one of those…" No. Those people went back right away. They went back within a year’s time. It’s been way over a year so they might as well get used to it. Get used to it!
Calvin: Explain why you say Mase is dead.
Mason: When God snatched me out of that, it was just my time to be out of that. When a person dies you may want them to stay, but it’s nothing you can do about that. It’s God’s time. So when I came out of that world, it was God’s way of just letting one person die and raising another person.
Calvin: Are you happy?
Mason: Yeah, because now when I get money, I don’t have to look over my shoulder for it. I don’t have to screen my calls. I don’t have to worry about who’s at the door. People don’t understand. That’s a lifestyle. You have a lot of great things, but you have a lot of negative that comes with it, too. You gotta worry about if somebody is gonna knock that door down for that money with them guns. People will do anything for money. So if you’re a person with a lot, you got a lot to watch.