“If you got a girl, don’t be real committed. ‘Cause Ma$e will hit it. You got-ta deal with it.”
In 1997, the Player Hater’s Parable, also known as “Lookin’ At Me,” was considered groundbreaking. While dancing around a convertible, his name in lights, and next to a woman buried in sand, Betha revealed several life lessons from a first-person perspective. Without faith and following P. Diddy who made him pretty, the rapper of the cloth never would have had to ask a hater “Why you don’t like me? Because I’m mad fly and icey?”
Contrary to Genius’ claims, Rev’s last two lines of the second verse were not a tale of his ability to take “your” girl and get to know her in a biblical sense. The message was one of self-awareness and one’s place within the universe. It was the Harlem way of saying “Faith without works is dead.”
Whether we believe in a benevolent and omnipresent supreme being or the spirit of the cosmos, something and someone out there is guiding us all. No ideas are our own; the Universe puts ideas into the air and it is up to us to complete them.
You ever have that million dollar idea and for one reason or another sat on it for too long? Shortly after, someone always makes a ton of money-or acquires success-with the same vision as yours. Well, the answer is simple, you didn’t commit.
M-A-Dollar-Sign-E knew this from a first-hand experience. He knew that his life’s work would be to deliver souls with a powerful message the youth could dance to. However, as a member of the Children of the Corn[er], he fashioned himself as the baby-faced gangsta, Murda Mase. A chance meeting with prophet Sean “Puffy” Combs changed everything. Hip Hop’s landscape was changing and Puff needed a messenger more palatable-and less hideous looking-than Craig Mack to balance Biggie Smalls.
At first, Mase was hesitant of changing his image and needed convincing. Had he not bought into the program, Puff would have found someone else to preach the truth and the light while frolicking in shiny leather suits. Without acting on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Mason Betha could have been in his apartment on 140th St and Lenox Ave, seeing someone else saving souls on in Las Vegas on BET. With or without the good reverend, “Feel So Good” was coming to fruition.
While there are many lessons to learn from “Lookin’ At Me” aka The Sermon by the Bentley, its overall message is one of self-awareness. Even if a player hater is over there looking at you while ya girl-or man-is standing there, you have been correctly following the path that the divine has set for you. If not, someone else-Mase-will and you’ve got to deal with it.