Best Rapper Turned Preacher (2009)

Ma$e

Ma$e isn't technically a local boy, but Puff Daddy's former protégé is in town once a week to preach at the church he's starting in central Phoenix. The "Mo Money Mo Problems" rapper converted to Christianity at the height of his popularity and, after laying low for a few years, started a church in Atlanta, which is making its first expansion to Phoenix. The preacher, now going by his given name, Mason Betha, describes the spiritual temperature of the Valley of the Sun as "lukewarm," saying locals are lulled into complacency by their leisurely desert life, and he hopes to change that. A decade after willfully fading from the public consciousness, Ma$e still has the sort of unbridled charisma that makes you feel honored he decided to pursue his life's work in Phoenix, even if he chose it partly because he likes our palm trees.

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