Mase: Grayson Alexander/Retna
Raymond Fiore
August 23, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Five years after abandoning the rap world to minister for God, Mase is back to his radio-ready shtick of mining recognizable melodies for his club cuts. By playfully recasting such oldies as the ”Welcome Back, Kotter” theme (the title track) and Madonna’s ”La Isla Bonita” (in ”My Harlem Lullaby”), he proves he’s better suited for the party than the pulpit. But the newly redeemed MC hasn’t given up preaching completely, and righteousness is most un-Welcome Back.

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