In 1998, Mase assembled a group called Harlem World, which was also the same name of his debut album released the year prior. The group included his sister, Baby Stase, and five others: Loon, Meeno, Cardan, Huddy and Blinky Blink.

Given that Mase was signed to Baby Boy Records at the time, it’s easy to assume that Harlem World was too. But in actuality, they were signed to Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def Recordings. Perhaps Puffy passed on the group? Who knows.

In the first quarter of 1999, Harlem World released the first single from what would be the group’s first and last album, The Movement. The song, “I Really Like It,” features Mase and Kelly Price, and samples two ’80s classics: New Edition’s “Popcorn Love” and DeBarge’s “I Like It.”

(Fun fact: A then-unknown Kanye West produced three tracks on The Movement.)

“I Really Like It” wasn’t a major hit, but I will say this, it was in heavy rotation in my house at the time, and till this day, lifts my spirit instantly. The video, which included cameos from the Mowry twins and Paula Jai Parker, is also a favorite.

At the time, I remember thinking Harlem World was the next big thing (because I was a stan off this one song), but before the year was over, the group would disband. With the exception of Loon, none of the group’s members would be heard from again.

This song has been on the docket since the inception of this website, but for whatever reason, it hadn’t been posted already. With today being Mase’s 45th birthday, I simply couldn’t miss the opportunity. Click play.

Pharrell Williams and Jay-Z joined forces for “Entrepreneur,” a bouncy yet soulful ode to entrepreneurship — black entrepreneurship.

The video, which features neither Pharrell nor Hov, highlights a range of black people doing big things — from Tyler the Creator to Issa Rae to even Nicholas Johnson, Princeton University’s first black valedictorian. Click play.

Every now and then, a random and relatively obscure song from 20 years ago will come to mind — and stay there for days and even weeks.

Currently, that song for me is Will Smith’s “Who Am I” (featuring Tatyana Ali & MC Lyte). It was an album cut from the Fresh Prince’s second album as a solo act, Willennium.

Co-written and co-produced by Darkchild, the track is so very ’99. And lyrically, it is neither Will Smith nor MC Lyte’s best work. But that hook? I just can’t quit it.

Funny enough, other than the “wanna know, baby, who am I?” part of the chorus, I never really knew what Tatyana Ali saying, but even after two decades, the melody stayed with me. And that, ladies and gentelmen, is why I will always insist that the melody matters more than anything else.

Now that I actually know what the lyrics to the chorus are, I love it even. Because I am, in fact, fully educated and not the one to play with.

Drake is back, and at this point, it’s not even fair because he is running laps around the rap game.

The Toronto native dropped “Laugh Now Cry Later” (featuring Lil Durk) a few hours ago and announced that a new album, titled Certified Lover Boy, is on its way. Based on that album title, my guess is that Drizzy will be giving us all of the things his haters hate him for — with intention. And we love to see it.

“Laugh Now Cry Later” is perhaps the slowest of Drake’s lead singles, but all the key elements are there: A melody that draws you in; a beat that makes you nod your head; and lyrics that stick.

Unsurprisingly, Drake spends most of the song talking about his favorite topic: His haters. It is not uncommon for rappers to rap about their detractors, but with Drake, the lyrics hit different because of the irrational disdain he has had to deal with for much of his career.

The most noteworthy line on “Cry Later” is perhaps the one where Lil Durk takes an apparent dig at 6ix9ine, saying that “we don’t listen to rats.” The video shows Drake playing different sports and includes cameos from Odell Beckham Jr., Kevin Durant and Marshawn Lynch, among others.

With a debut single like “Grind with Me,” it was always hard to take Pretty Ricky seriously. There was something about them that always struck me as particularly corny.

And of course, there were those stripper videos Spectacular used to post on social media. Shaking my head.

Even today, just the thought of the group makes me snicker. However, as clownish as they might have been, I have never questioned the quality of “Your Body,” the group’s second single from their debut album, Bluestars.

Produced by Jim Jonsin and written by the late Static Major, the song was in keeping with the freaky theme of its predecessor, but surpasses it in terms of melody and catchiness. Calling it a classic might be a stretch, but “Your Body” is quite unique in the sense that it sounds very much like a throwaway 2005 radio hit and yet feels somewhat timeless.

“WAP” is finally here and it is every bit as nasty as you expected it to be.

Driven by a sample of Frank Ski’s “There’s Some Whores in This House”, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion rap about all types of licking and sticking — so much so that YouTube wouldn’t let them use the explicit version for the video.

Produced by Ayo & Keyz, the track is presumed to be a single from Cardi B’s sophomore set. The video includes cameos from Normani, Kylie Jenner, Mulatto, Rosalia, Sukihana and Rubi Rose. Check it out below.

In 2005, the Black Eyed Peas were two years into their “pop” years. There were no longer making songs like “Joints & Jams,” but they weren’t quite yet making songs like “I Gotta Feeling.”

The purists will tell you that everything post-Fergie was trash, but that simply isn’t true. Yes, “I Gotta Feeling” might be the worst song ever, but there is no BEP era that doesn’t have at least a few gems.

“Don’t Lie,” the second single from the group’s fourth album, Monkey Business, is one of such gems. Produced by will.i.am, the track is precisely where “pop,” hip-hop and folk meet without overstepping. With an infectious melody and lyrics that are easy to sing along to, it is as “radio-friendly” as it gets. And contrary to what your average music critic says, that’s a good thing.

Just hours before the release of Black Is King — which inopportunely drops at midnight Pacific Time — Beyoncé decided to pacify us with a visual for “Already,” one of the standout tracks from The Lion King: The Gift.

The “Already” video gives us high fashion, grit, body art, choreo and special effects — all delivered in a markedly African style. And if you had any doubt that Bey was going for African vibes, that ill gbese she hit would probably clarify.

In under three hours, the “Already” video has racked up over 400,000 views on YouTube. Check it out below.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, there is no exact formula for commercial success in the music industry.

That being said, there are certain artists’ whose lack of traction bother me particularly. One of such artists is dancehall queen Patra.

She had a string of singles in the mid-‘90s that were loved by the true patrons of the arts, but to broader audiences, she is largely unknown. If this post is your introduction to Patra, I implore to explore her catalog.

Patra’s sophomore album, Scent of Attraction, includes a track called “Banana” that is as raunchy and danceable as they come, and perhaps could’ve been a hit if it was released during the dancehall wave of the early 2000s. Click play and thank me later.

Her favorite rapper is Gucci, but her fabric is Louis.

“Muwop” is one of those songs that stand in its truth — said truth being complete and unabashed ratchetness. Featuring Gucci Mane, the track has all the basic-ass lyrics you’d expect, but it is just right for the season.

I’d say, “Too bad we’re stuck in the house,” but the fact of the matter is that the song’s target audience is proceeding with summer as planned. Click play.