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Cam'ron and Mase: A history of brotherly rivalry

It's a hell up in Harlem.

Adrien Vargas // REVOLT

"There's a hell up in Harlem." Like the classic lyric from Puff Daddy on 1997's "What You Gonna Do?", the humidity in Harlem World this past weekend was thick following the back-and-forth exchange between Mase and Cam'ron.

The "Horse & Carriage" partners-in-rhyme gave the rap world quite the spectacle over the Thanksgiving weekend and it started with Mase's surprise Cam'ron diss track "The Oracle." The scathing track was released in response to a line ("Told him straight up I ain't feeling him / Let me curve this nigga 'fore I end up killing him") on Cam's track "It's Killa," which appears on the rapper's recent mixtape, The Program.

Unloading a barrage of notable barbs ("I ain't gone talk about the time you f—ked your sister"), Mase's fiery cut arrived to much chatter and days later received a rebuttal from Cam'ron on "Dinner Time." As is usually the case with diss tracks, the two records became the talk of the town and concluded with many claiming Mase as the victor.

The feud looked like it was over on Sunday (November 26) when the two made up on Instagram. But, because it's 2017, that hatchet is up in the air after Mase hopped on Funk Flex's Instagram last night to gloat. "We're not cool," Mase commented under a photo of the peaceful exchange between he and Cam'ron. "I shook his hand cause I won. That's it. As a man that's what you do after you win unanimously." If that wasn't enough, Mase called into the Ebro In The Morning this morning (November 27) and explained why "The Oracle" isn't an example of friendly competition.

"That wasn't even a record. That was just… [Cam'ron] said something that just pushed me over the edge," he said of the diss track. When asked about what exactly pushed him over the edge, Mase answered, "Saying something about a person, I don't take that seriously. But when you start saying you're gonna do bodily harm or you're thinking about that, it's my job as a man to make sure you don't get to do that."

Will this feud between the two rappers ever go away? Probably not. Besides, their rivalry, which is over a decade old, has been sort of a linchpin in their respective careers. From their Manhattan Center High School basketball days to now, the two seem to always find a way to cross paths. Check out the history of Cam'ron and Mase's decade-plus brotherly rivalry.


In the mid-1990s, Cam'ron and Mase are partners-in-rhyme in the Harlem collective Children of the Corn. While shrouded in mystery, the underground group would make enough of a name for themselves to earn major label attention. In the fall of 1997, Mase breaks out with the quadruple platinum No. 1 debut Harlem World. A year later, Cam'ron steps out with Confessions of Fire, his debut under Sony/Epic Records — a deal that was credited to Biggie Smalls. "Biggie was the one who helped me get my first record deal," Killa Cam told Peter Rosenberg on the Juan Epstein back in 2013. "Mase took me to his house and I rapped for him."

Mase and Cam would collaborate together on two tracks off Confessions of Fire with the most notable being "Horse & Carriage." The collaboration, produced by Trackmasters, would begin the whispers of a rift between the two. As the story goes, Cam wanted Mase to appear in the "Horse & Carriage" music video. Mase reportedly asked for close to $30,000 for his appearance, which Cam's management at the time, Un Entertainment, refused. Cam eventually did the video solo. Mase did however, appear in the video for "357."

By 1999, two years removed from Harlem World, Mase releases Double Up and in that same year, announces his retirement from rap.


As Mase leaves rap for the pulpit, Cam'ron watches his stock rise. In 2000, he releases S.D.E., a follow-up to Confessions of Fire. A year later, the Harlem rapper leaves Sony/Epic Records and signs with longtime friend Dame Dash in 2001, joining Roc-A-Fella Records. With Kanye West and Just Blaze behind the boards and the marketing genius of Dash and Roc-A-Fella, Cam's 2002 album Come Home With Me would properly set off the rapper's meteoric rise. Singles like "Oh Boy," "Hey Ma," and "Welcome to New York City" helped bring the rapper his long-awaited spotlight. In the latter single, Cam infamously raps, "Hot here, ask Mase he ran to Atlanta." The line would play into rumors surrounding the reason for Mase's retirement. Meanwhile in Atlanta, after being ordained in 2000, Mase starts the Atlanta-based ministry S.A.N.E. (Saving a Nation Endangered). He releases an autobiography shortly after, "Revelations: There's a Light After the Lime."


In 2003, Cam'ron's stock continues to soar as he introduces the world to the movement, Dipset.

After a striking a buzz with a flood of mixtapes, the Diplomats — comprised of Freekey Zekey, Juelz Santana, and Jim Jones — release their debut album, Diplomatic Immunity. A year after the group's ascendence, Mase announces his post-retirement comeback and drops Welcome Back, his first album in five years, under Bad Boy Records. Coincidentally, Jim Jones released his debut album, On My Way to Church, in that same year. The two sides would eventually collide during a now infamous interview on Hot 97.

During an appearance on Hot 97's Morning Show to promote Welcome Back, Mase is pulled into a heated back-and-forth with Jones and Cam'ron, who call in during the interview after he explained the reason for his spilt from the crew. "I don't like you. You shouldn't have came out your mouth. I'll put some dentures in your mouth," Jones exclaimed, before insinuating that Mase was embroiled in beef with a few known Harlem natives before retiring to Atlanta. "Go back down south with your congregation." In the interview, Mase also confirmed asking for $50,000 to appear in Cam'ron's "Horse & Carriage" music video. "That may have been true, but me and him never had a conversation about any of that," Cam'ron answered about the moment.

After the heated 15-minute exchange, Mase brushes off the insults, stating, "I love them dudes. It's just sad when people don't understand." Months after the exchange, Cam'ron releases Purple Haze and closes out the album with a diss song aimed at Mase, titled "Take 'Em to Church."


After making a surprise appearance with 50 Cent and G-Unit on the Anger Management 3 tour, Mase returns and releases his debut G-Unit mixtape, Crucified 4 the Hood: 10 Years of Hate along with reclaiming his former Murda Mase moniker. During this return, he hopped into beef with Fabolous and Loon, and furthered his rivalry with Dipset. "I don't know why Loon and Fabby won't just say I'm they daddy / Why them Harlem CB4 niggas just keep comin at me," he raps on "I Don't Know Officer," a song off the soundtrack for 50 Cent's 2005 film "Get Rich or Die Tryin'." Meanwhile in 2006, Cam releases Killa Season. The album is also accompanied by a film, which featured archival footage of Cam and Mase playing high school basketball.

Following years of back-and-forths, Cam and Dipset finally bury the hatchet in 2009. After announcing his return to music on DJ Self's Power 105.1 radio show, Mase gives a shoutout to his affiliates from Diddy to 50 Cent, as well as Cam'ron and Jim Jones. The latter would call into the Power 105.1 radio show to apolgize to his longtime friend. "What's good Betha…I apologize for everything I did when I was younger. You can get my number from Self and sh*t like that. Pardon my French. Pardon, pardon me it's monumental that's why I'ma get off it. You already know Betha, it's nothing but love. Self's got my number, I'm jumping off the line. I'll holla, Jones." Cam and Mase would later carry on the truce, collaborating for the first time in years for "Get It."


In 2010, Cam'ron calls out Mase for missing the funeral for his absence from Huddy "Hud 6" Combs' funeral. In a tribute freestyle over Eminem's "No Love," Cam calls out his childhood friend, rapping, "145 and St. Nick, I'm there for Blood wake, 13 years later back here for Hud wake / Can't lie my mind is in a bugged state, feel like Radio Raheem, love hate... Where is Betha at, I'm like f—k Mase."

In 2012, Cam would once again call out the rapper on Jim Jones' track "60 Racks," rapping "I ain't fucking with Mase / Yeah, yeah tell 'em you be cool / Me I rep that Hud 6, I ain't even gon' play with 'em / Harlem Underworld for real, you can fool Wale and them." In that same year, Mase returned to the rap scene with a remix verse on Wale's "Slight Work." In an interview with Breakfast Club a year later, Cam spoke on his relationship with Mase and revealed the two hadn't spoken for about "three or four years."

"Ma$e just be up and down. He'll do the church thing, then you'll go on his Instagram and you be like…he tougher than leather, man," the "Oh Boy" rapper told the morning hosts.

In March 2017, Cam, who was engaged in a back-and-forth with Jim Jones at the time, hopped on Instagram Live and spoke on his old friend. In the video, Cam explained to his audience the importance of prayer and belief before using Mase as an example. "See that's what Mase did. Mase went real wild. Mase said, 'You know what? I'm gonna just start saying I'm in church.' Mase took it too far though — started preaching and all that shit. I see what he was doing with that shit. He's like, 'You know what? Niggas ain't gonna motherf—king harass me if I'm in church. That's what Ma$e did. He said, 'Yo, they can't beef with me, they can't ask me for nothing. I'm gonna throw on the Rev. Run collar and get the f—k out of here. F—k that." Moments after the spiel, Cam then went on to explain the pressure his friend dealt with during his rise. "I can't even get mad at Mase. You know why? Let me tell you something. I used to be mad at Mase because I was younger than Mase. But, I know niggas 28, 29, 30 that can't handle having $10 million. That nigga Mase was 22 years old with $10 million. He went triple-platinum when he was 21 years old, my nigga, that's a lot to handle."

In November 2017, Cam releases The Program, which contains the song "It's Killa." This song would spark the current exchange before both rappers today.

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