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Mason Betha, founder of El Elyon International Church and Mason Betha Ministries who is known in the hip-hop world as rapper Ma$e, closed out a 45-minute performance at the Essence Festival in New Orleans on Sunday by leading the audience in prayer.

“I believe I receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior,” Betha said, according to Essence. “If I die tonight, I know I’m right. I’m blessed. I’m highly favored. I’m fortunate. I’m to be envied. In Jesus’ name.”

Betha, 39, initially quit rapping to become a minister in 1999 and raised some eyebrows in and out of the Christian community after he decided to return to mainstream rapping in 2004. Last year, he announced his full fledged return to mainstream rap with his secular song “Nothing.

When the rapper attended the 2014 BET Award festivities, he was questioned by 92Q Jams DJ Konan about whether his church was upset with his rap career. Betha refused to talk about church business and chastised DJ Konan for broaching the subject.

“Actually the interview right now is about music …,” Betha previously told 92 Q Jams. “I think to put someone in a box is somewhat narrow-minded.

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Ma$e Closes Essence Festival Performance ‘in Jesus’ Name:’ ‘If I Die Tonight, I know I’m Right’  was originally published on

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