Welcome Back

There's nothing harder than plotting a comeback—particularly in hip-hop.

There's nothing harder than plotting a comeback—particularly in hip-hop. More often than not, the genre's fickle fans are quick to write an artist off as a has-been. This is the challenge Mase faces. After a five-year hiatus, the Harlem, N.Y., native returns with "Welcome Back." Serving as the lead single, the Movement-produced title track samples John Sebastian's "Welcome Back Kotter" with infectious results. Similarly, "Breathe, Stretch, Shake" (featuring P. Diddy) is a party anthem that recalls Mase's earlier material. Unfortunately, the rest of the album isn't nearly as catchy. Songs like "Do You Remember" and "Wasting My Time" are tolerable but don't require repeated listening.—RH