Could it be that it’s actually not “Bad Boys 4 Life”? There was a time that Sean “Diddy” Combs and rapper Mason Betha aka Ma$e appeared to be two peas in a pod, thick as thieves. The two had what seemed to be smooth chemistry, crafting many hits together such as “Been Around The World”, “Feel So Good”, and Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.”
The lid was blown off when a speech made by the Bad Boy CEO at the Clive Davis pre-Grammy gala this year set off the Harlem rapper turned pastor turned rapper again. Combs was the recipient of this year’s Industry Icon award, and his message about artists taking their control back in the industry went viral.
As it turns out, the old saying that “all that glitters is not gold” has proven itself to be true again. Ma$e recently revealed that the relationship that everyone thought the two had, was viewed through rose-colored glasses.
“In the great words of Erykah Badu, ‘we are artists; we are sensitive about our sh*t,’” said Diddy, opening the speech just ahead of the Grammys. We are passionate. For most of us, this is all we got. This is our only hope. Truth be told, Hip-Hop has never been respected by the Grammys. Black music has never been respected by the Grammys.”
“I’m being honored by the industry that I love, the family that I love, but there’s an elephant in the room and it’s not just about the Grammys,” he continued. ”There’s discrimination and injustice everywhere.” Diddy continued his passionate speech, highlighting recent controversies that the Grammy board had been facing involving Academy CEO Deborah Dugan.
“This current situation, it’s not a revelation, this thing been goin’ on,” he stated. “It’s not just goin’ on in music, it’s goin’ on in film, it’s goin’ on in sports, it’s goin’ on around the world. For years, we’ve allowed institutions that have never had our best interests at heart to judge us—and that stops right now.” During many parts of his speech, including in that moment, he would draw massive rounds of applause and standing ovation from those in attendance.
Going on to suggest a boycott until the recording industry figures it out, he said, “I’m officially starting the clock: y’all got 365 days to get this sh*t together. We need the artists to take back the control. We need transparency. We need diversity. This is the room that has the power to make a change that needs to be made. They have to make the changes for us. [The Recording Academy] is a non-profit organization that is supposed to protect the welfare of the musical community. That [is] the mission statement.”
He added, “We have the power. We decide what’s hot. If we don’t go, nobody goes. If we don’t support, nobody supports. We control what’s cool, we control what’s hot, we control what your kids listen to, what they dance to, we control what’s in video games, we control how they wear their pants.” Diddy went on to conclude, saying, “My goal used to be about making hit records. Now, it’s about ensuring that the culture moves forward—my culture, our culture, the Black culture.”
Ma$e took the opportunity upon hearing Diddy’s call to action to be one of the first artists to speak up against the malpractice of the industry, except he directed the criticism right back to the very one that suggested the change. “I heard your Grammy speech about how you are now for the artist, and about how the artist must take back control. So I will be the first to take that initiative. Also, before we ask of other ethnicities to do us right, we should do us, as Black people, better—especially the creators,” the rapper began his lengthy post.
Betha continued, saying he heard the mogul “loud and clear” when he said he was not for the artists, and urged Diddy to look in the mirror and start with himself. “Your past business practices knowingly has continued purposely starved your artist and been extremely unfair to the very same artist that helped u obtain that Icon Award on the iconic Badboy label.”
He then reveals that his publishing deal when he first signed was a very low number, which he labels robbery. “For example, u still got my publishing from 24 years ago in which u gave me $20k. Which makes me never want to work w/ u as any artist wouldn’t after u know someone is robbing you & tarnishing your name when u don’t want to comply w/ his horrendous business model,” he stated.
Still, he would perform as to not make things look bad while receiving “peanuts” and continuing to be robbed, he said. “So many great moments and people lives in music were lost. But again, I rode with u in the face of death without flinching & u still wouldn’t do right. I never said anything because I wanted to wait until I was financially great so I can ensured that I was addressing this from a pure place and not out of spite.”
He continued, “To add insult, u keep screaming black excellence and love but I know love isn’t free. So I offered u 2m in cash just a few days ago to sell me back my publishing (as his biggest artist alive) that always show u respect for u giving me an opportunity at 19 yrs old. Your response was if I can match what the EUROPEAN GUY OFFER him that would be the only way I can get it back. Or else I can wait until I’m 50 years old and it will revert back to me from when I was 19 years old. You bought it for about 20k & I offered you 2m in cash. This is not black excellence at all.”
Ma$e’s claims echo a myriad of rumors and speculations for years of Diddy’s treatment of his artists, including those that were signed to his roster. The Lox and Danity Kane are among a throng of his artists that have sung a similar song. Concluding his post, he writes, “If it’s about us owning, it can’t be about us owning each other. No More Hiding Behind “Love”. U CHANGED? GIVE THE ARTIST BACK THEIR $$$. So they can take care of their families.”