Have you ever wondered how your favorite classic rap song was made? In Complex TV's Magnum Opus, these monumental records from our past are revisited. With in-depth interviews from the artists involved to first-hand accounts of respected rap peers and critics of the time, viewers get a blueprint of how the song was created, what impact it had, and how its legacy continues to live on. New episodes of Magnum Opus can be found exclusively on Complex TV.
Ma$e played a major role in bringing Harlem to the forefront of rap in the late '90s, a move that was propelled by his breakout single, "Feel So Good," in 1997. In Complex TV's latest episode of Magnum Opus, he shares the story behind this classic cut off his debut album, Harlem World.
Ma$e originally went by the moniker Murda Ma$e, and spent his teen years building up his freestyle reps on 125th Street in Harlem, a spot members of The LOX would also frequent. He would later drop out of college to pursue rap, moving into his sister's house. She just so happened to know Cudda Love, road manager of The Notorious B.I.G., who introduced him to Puff Daddy down in Atlanta. There, Ma$e dropped a freestyle for Puffy, which sealed a record deal with the Bad Boy founder. "I got back to New York, and within like a week I was on [112's] 'Only You,'" he says.
Ma$e would finally get his shot in the limelight with his debut single, "Feel So Good." The record featured a sample of Kool & the Gang's "Hollywood Swinging," and an interpolation of Miami Sound Machine's "Bad Boy" on the chorus, a stylistic move that fit Puffy's standard in the late '90s. Still, Ma$e and Puffy had a disagreement about the direction of the song, but they eventually ironed out their issues to create this seminal track that went platinum in less than three months. "Puff had a vision, and he was crystal clear on his vision," says "Feel So Good" co-producer, Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie. "That's one thing about Puff I can say, he expresses himself very well when it comes to what he wants, and how everybody can help participate in it."
The accompanying video was shot by Hype Williams in Las Vegas, and featured Puffy's shiny suit theory in full effect. While Ma$e was initially against the idea of wearing an "aluminum" suit, he recalls a pep talk he received from the famed director. "[Hype] was like, 'Ma$e, I'm telling you, I got you. Put this on. It's going to look crazy on camera.'" Those shiny suit scenes are now celebrated as iconic moments in rap video history.
Watch the full episode above, which also includes commentary from Jadakiss, Cipha Sounds, A$AP Ferg, Stephen Dent, and Complex's own Chief Content Officer Noah Callahan-Bever, who discuss the impact this record from Ma$e had. Also, be sure to check out our Magnum Opus episode for Puff Daddy's "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" below.