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Tre Mason

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(From Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post.)


Though they have very different talents, Tre Mason and his father both call themselves artists.

Mason charged up crowds as one of South Florida's elite running backs the past three seasons for Park Vista High School in Lake Worth, juking linebackers and racing down the sidelines on long touchdown runs.

His father, Vincent, better known as D.J. Maseo from De La Soul, thrills audiences, too. He has been scratching records and delighting hip-hop fans for two decades and counting.

"Sometimes my dad asks me how I do it, and sometimes I ask him how he does what he does," Tre Mason said.

While Tre has not inherited much of his Grammy-nominated father's musical talent, his dominance in football made him one of the most highly recruited players in the area.

A week ago, he signed to play his college football with the defending national champion Auburn Tigers.

Over three seasons with the Cobras, Mason ran for 4,491 yards, averaging 8.8 per carry and 64 touchdowns.

Mason hoped to hit the 2,000-yard rushing mark, but he fell just short at 1,643 yards with 24 touchdowns. He entered his senior season bigger (5-foot-9 3/4, 190 pounds) and faster (4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash) than ever.

He also ran behind the largest offensive line Cobras coach Brian Dodds had in 23 years of high school football.

"I'm not ever satisfied with what I did in the past," Mason said. "I always want to do better."

Before signing with Auburn, Mason had more than a dozen scholarship offers. He was Park Vista's first signee to a Bowl Championship Series school, along with offensive linemen Cody Preble and Mike Matulis.

Ole Miss, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Rutgers are among the schools that offered Mason scholarships. Florida took a strong interest as well, but the Gators never made an offer. Florida State and Miami also took a look.

When he wasn't on the field, Mason serves as a sounding board for his father's beats at his suburban Boynton Beach home studio and often gets VIP treatment at concerts. Through his dad, Mason met Busta Rhymes, Pharrell, Ghostface Killah, Flavor Flav and other popular artists.

In the same way football has been a lifelong love for Tre, Vincent Mason put his fingers on a turntable at age 6 and never stopped. Growing up in Brooklyn, Vincent played youth basketball and football. Admittedly not a dedicated football player in high school, he ended his athletic endeavors after getting a record deal.

While Tre was born in Amityville, N.Y., the family moved to South Florida in 2001. Tre likes a wide range of music, but has acquired a taste for old school hip-hop because of his father.

De La Soul still tours major venues and nightclubs -- Vincent, now 40, recently returned from three weeks of shows in Europe -- and some of today's top acts request D.J. Maseo to produce tracks. He and De La Soul appeared on the Gorillaz' 2005 hit, Feel Good Inc.

De La Soul has released eight studio albums, including their platinum-selling debut, 3 Feet High and Rising. The top single from that record, Me, Myself and I, was a worldwide success in 1989. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame put it in an exhibit honoring the 500 songs that shaped rock and roll.

"Most parents have approached me and my wife like, 'Why didn't you tell me who you are?'" Vincent Mason said, unleashing the unmistakable laugh that appears at the beginning of the Gorillaz' song.

"Well, how do you tell somebody that? Humbly speaking . . . I'm considered one of the forefathers of hip-hop culture. But I don't want to come out and be like, 'That's my son and this is who I am.'

"There is no floss about what I do. I don't look at myself as a celebrity. I just do what I do."

The same can be said of his son, who Dodds said toned down his ego and became one of Park Vista's leaders.

"There are some phenomenal athletes that have the natural ability to make things happen, and that's what Tre is," Dodds said. "When he was younger, he got caught up in the hype. I think finally he's starting to work hard . . ."

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[quote author=Orange and Blue 1721 link=topic=31484.msg557260#msg557260

"I'm not ever satisfied with what I did in the past," Mason said. "I always want to do better."

^^ This ^^ is what turns an athlete from good to great.

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