Park Vista's Tre Mason pounds the ball as his father, of De La Soul, still pounds the beats
Friday, May 21, 2010
by Jason Lieser
Photo by Jason Lieser
Park Vista's Tre Mason (right) and his father, Vincent, better known as D.J. Maseo from De La Soul, both excel in their chosen pursuits.
Though they have very different talents, Tre Mason and his father both call themselves artists.
Mason has been charging up crowds as one of the area's elite running backs the past two seasons for Park Vista, 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 has made him one of the most highly recruited players in the area's upcoming senior class.
Over his past two seasons with the Cobras, Mason ran for 2,848 yards, averaging 8.8 per carry, and 40 touchdowns. Last year, he led the area in rushing yards (1,460), and was second in touchdowns (24).
This fall, Mason hopes to hit the 2,000-yard rushing mark. It would be unfathomable for most backs, but Mason enters 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 will be running behind the largest offensive line Cobras coach Brian Dodds has 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."
The Cobras' ground game, arguably the area's best, will be on display in their spring game at Boynton Beach on Thursday.
Mason has more than a dozen scholarship offers and should be Park Vista's first signee to a Bowl Championship Series school, along with offensive linemen Cody Preble and Mike Matulis.
Ole Miss, Wisconsin, Cincinnati and Rutgers are among the schools that have offered Mason scholarships. Florida has taken a strong interest as well, but the Gators have not made an offer. Florida State and Miami also have stopped by the school during spring practices.
When he is not on the field, Mason, 16, serves as a sounding board for his father's beats at his suburban Boynton Beach home studio and often gets V.I.P. 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 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 has toned down his ego and become 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 in the weight room and do the things we want him to do."