On Tuesday (Jan. 24), Ma$e was honored with his own day during a proclamation ceremony in front of Harlem’s Apollo Theater. New York City Council Member Kevin C. Riley declared Jan. 24 as “Ma$e Day” while presenting a commemorative plaque to the 47-year-old hip hop legend in front of the rapper’s peers and loved ones.

Following the momentous achievement, Ma$e gave a short speech expressing appreciation for everyone who had a hand in his life and career: “I wanna thank all of you for coming out here today. But most of all, I want to say this, because this really matters in our community — that a win only feels great when you win with family. And today I have my whole family here, my wife of 22 years.”

He continued: “And a bunch of people in the crowd, a bunch of great artists, DKING and Chi Chi and Just Listen and everybody from the Rich Fish family. Thank you, and Harlem, thank you for making me great. Blessings. And most of all, my pastor is here. This is the guy that prayed for me and I left hip hop. So y’all all wanna know who changed me? This is the guy that changed me.”

Following appearances on The Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death and the Diddy-led No Way Out, Ma$e liberated his 1997 debut, Harlem World, a chart-topping body of work with collaborations alongside the likes of DMX, Lil’ Kim, Busta Rhymes, The LOX, 112, Total, and JAY-Z. He would then release Double Up a couple of years later before a musical hiatus. His third studio LP, Welcome Back, arrived in 2004.

In related news, Ma$e will be joining Cam’ron and Jadakiss at the Apollo Theater this Saturday (Jan. 28). If you missed it, you can enjoy the trio’s 2022 single, “Gorilla Lion Hyena,” here.