The devil hands him a bowl of Dutch Masters cigars. A baby gives him a 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor.
Dressed in pope’s garb, Masta Maudz uses the foil-wrapped sticks of tobacco to stir the foamy liquid. Holding the concoction over a young woman’s head, he baptizes her. He must keep up appearances — after all, he is the Pope of Rockville Centre.
The last in a quartet of rap music videos, “The Pope of Rockville Centre” is an early 2016 collaboration between aspiring hip-hop artist and producer Dan “Masta Maudz” Maudsley and upstart video director Danny Casaly. Although the two Long Island natives live in Queens and Brooklyn, respectively, they have not forgotten their roots.
A Franklin Square native, Maudsley, 29, said his inspiration for the videos came from a combination of growing up on the South Shore and a love for ’70s and ’80s movies. His character is a variation on the title of the 1984 Mickey Rourke film “The Pope of Greenwich Village.”
“It’s just a great New York film,” he said of the movie, which became an all-time favorite in his early teenage years.
“Pope” is the conclusion of “Seasonz,” a series that follows Maudsley’s rap persona — which he adopted around 2013 — as he goes from a vigilante to a wanted fugitive. On the run from the law, Masta Maudz escapes to Long Island and dresses up as the pope to disguise himself. “Why would you wear a pope costume to escape the police?” he said. “It makes no sense.”
So while dancing outside St. Agnes Cathedral, skateboarding in front of Village Hall and standing on the Peninsula Boulevard overpass, the ginger-haired Masta Maudz raps — spouting religious words and self-aggrandizing claims. At the video’s conclusion, he kills the police detective who follows him, escapes and jumps off the diving board at West Hempstead’s Echo Park pool before the credits roll.
Filmed on Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens, “Seasonz” features a number of South Shore locations, including the Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, the high-rises in Long Beach, Off Track Betting in Valley Stream and more.
Casaly, a Glenn Cove native, said he was amazed at how well Maudsley knew the area when the two were filming. “He comes up with this mental map,” he explained. “He literally just drove my car around while I sat in my own passenger seat, shooting.”
The two met and exchanged contact information on a napkin at an open mic night in the East Village two and a half years ago. Casaly, 21, said he was impressed by Maudsley’s spirit. “It’s like 1:45 [a.m.] and the place is thinning out like crazy,” he recounted, adding that he considered leaving until Maudz took the stage. “He stayed with it like a trouper to a crowd of, like, 15,” Casaly said. “He performed his song, but with a lot of genuine effort.”
Although he lives in Queens, Maudsley said it is very important to him that he represents Long Island in his work. “So often in hip hop, we forget Long Island is home to one of the greatest rappers ever in Rakim,” he said referring to hip-hop artist originally from Wyandanch. “He’s your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper.”
He continued, listing a number of other artists from the area: “De La Soul is from Amityville; Biz Markie from Patchogue; Public Enemy, Roosevelt and Freeport … I’m proud to be from Long Island especially from a hip-hop connection. I want to put it back on the map.”
He said his chief musical influences are MF Doom, De La Soul and the Farside, and described his own sound as “street smart,” but with “an element of trippiness to it, an off-the-cuff weirdness.”
Maudsley supports himself as a sales associate for a business-networking firm, but also produces other artists’ music on the side. He hopes to eventually make it a full-time job. “I’m very excited for what the future holds,” he said of the projects he is working on — all of them on his Macbook, which sits atop a pedestal in his apartment. “This is it,” he said, holding it up. “All of it. It’s all right here.”
As a graduate of Holy Trinity Diocesan High School in Hicksville, Mausdley is aware of the sacrilege “The Pope of Rockville Centre” represents, but said it was necessary for the desired effect.
“You can’t please everybody,” he remarked. “If you did, it wouldn’t be funny.”
To see Maudsley’s work, visit www.mastamaudz.com.