Harlem World is the debut album by American hip hop recording artist Mase, released on October 28, 1997, by Bad Boy Records and Arista Records. The album was nominated at the 41st Annual Grammy Awards for Best Rap Album. It went on to sell 4.8 million copies in the United States, going quadruple Platinum in the US
Seen as Puff Daddy’s new protégé since the passing of The Notorious B.I.G., Mase rose to fame after being a member of Children of the Corn with fellow Harlem rappers Big L and Cam’ron. After the death of Bloodshed and the subsequent disbanding of the group, Mase was signed to Bad Boy, catching the public eye when appearing on the track “Mo Money, Mo Problems” from Biggie’s 1997 album Life After Death. Puff Daddy began to promote Mase as the new premier act of Bad Boy and within a year had released “Harlem World”, a successful album spawning hits such as “Feel So Good” (U.S. #5), “What You Want” (U.S. #6), and “Lookin’ at Me” (U.S. #8).
Mase released his first solo LP, Harlem World, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Pop and R&B LP charts selling over 175,000 copies in the U.S. its first week of release; it has since gone on to sell 4.8 million copies in the United States. Joining Mase on his solo LP was a long list of rap elite including Jay-Z, Lil’ Kim, Busta Rhymes, 8Ball & MJG, The Lox, Total, and his close friend DMX. The album featured production by Combs, Steven “Stevie J” Jordan, Jermaine Dupri, Ron “Amen-Ra” Lawrence Deric “D-Dot” Angelettie, and (then unknowns) The Neptunes. Mase told MTV about his first solo effort: “Well, basically what I’m trying to establish is a strong identity and foundation for Mase so a lot of people could know that Mase is his own person and Mase can do other things besides rap and music and things in that nature.”
Entertainment Weekly said of the album: “…creatively refreshing, well-crafted lyrics… rap’s newest bad boy more than holds his own on his solo debut… his distinctive marble-mouthed drawl… creates a regular-guy persona all too rare in hip-hop.”Muzik (4/9, p.84) – 4 stars (out of 5) – “…Harlem on the rise? Most definitely.” Rap Pages (1/98, p.105) – Solid Material – “…Creatively refreshing, well-crafted lyrics and a high-energy track over a hyped beat easily make this…”
In 2008, the single “Feel So Good” was ranked number 67 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop