Is Ja Rule ready this time?

24 Nov

No one has ever had a career quite like Ja Rule’s. Starting in 1995, Ja Rule was an underground rapper from Hollis, Queens trying to make it. Along the way, he met a man named Irving Lorenzo that was willing to help him make it big. Before long, he was introduced to Jay-Z and DMX. Together, these three men would own hip hop.

Already a bit of a star, Jay-Z rose to become rap’s most dominant force and DMX also rose to stardom. One year later, Ja would do the same. Many thought that Ja was simply a part of either Jay-Z or DMX’s camp, but few knew that he was the captain of his own team for Irv Gotti and Murder Inc. Records.

In 1999, he released his debut album, Venni Vetti Vecci. The album was known for its honesty. It told of Ja Rule’s life in poverty. On the disc, he spoke of wanting a better life for his daughter, he wanted success, and he wanted to be loved. Those are qualities that everyone wants, but never before had anyone said it the way that he did.

Because of his honesty, Ja Rule became a darling amongst hardcore rap fans. He was known for the emotion put behind his records. With little promotion, his album was able to sell 1 million copies. It was clear that Rule was destined for greatness. In 2000, he released his next album, Rule 3:36. The album was a sharp turn from his pleas of success to pop music.

While Ja Rule had captivated the streets on his debut album, music from his sophomore release made him a consistent top ten artist. Along the way, Ja seemed to forget about his lyrical ability to focus more on simple lyrics and harmonizing. For a while, the formula worked, but his die hard fans wanted badly for him to return to his roots.

For his fourth album, The Last Temptation, Ja Rule promised just that. The only problem was, he did not deliver on that promise. Instead, he offered more of the same type of music and it backfired on him. His album still managed to go platinum, but the sales stalled. His songs still hit the top ten, but they did not stay there for long.

On top of all of that, Ja Rule’s reign at the top was abruptly ended by 50 Cent. He came out with a hardcore style that Rule had possessed only four years prior. Not only was he hardcore, he did not like Ja Rule, or anyone associated with Murder Inc. It turned out the people who financed Ja were behind a plot to kill him. Because of that, he felt the need to ruin Rule’s career.

Finally willing to listen to his fans, just a little late, Ja Rule released Blood In My Eye. The album was a direct response to all of the disses from 50 Cent and his people. The album would end up being the lowest-selling album of his career, but it still managed to certify at gold. Plus, a hit even came off of the album with “Clap Back.” Rule went hard for the album, but it was too late.

In 2004, Ja Rule decided to mix the best of each element into R.U.L.E. This new formula proved successful when Rule scored a top five hit with “Wonderful,” a collaboration with Ashanti and R. Kelly. His next single was “New York,” which featured popular New York rappers, Fat Joe and Jadakiss. That single rebuilt Ja’s street credibility.

However, the controversy surrounding his label, Murder Inc., still caused him, along with the entire label to be dropped from Def Jam. From there, a trial ensued, after Irv Gotti and his brother, Chris, beat the trial, in 2005, they began trying to rebuild the label. Late in 2006, they reached a deal with Universal Motown.

With a deal in place, Irv Gotti allowed Ja Rule to create his own imprint, Mpire Music Group. He also signed a new female R&B singer, Ashley Joi, and made her a part of a new girl group, Bettie Cage. On top of all of that, he was able to convince Lloyd to stay on the label and even promised to allow Ashanti more freedom on her project. Everything was in place for Gotti to make Ja Rule number one, again.

During the peak days of Murder Inc., Irv Gotti had a formula worked out. He would release records from his other artists, then gear up for a Ja Rule release in November. The first year of releasing new music was to be 2007 for Murder Inc. Lloyd’s album was the first in this deal, next was to be Ashanti, but she was pushed back.

In August, all of the attention was focused on Ja Rule. He was thrust back into the spotlight with appearances on BET and MTV. Along with that, he was doing interviews with many TV outlets and magazines. Then, he released “Uh Ohhh!” featuring Lil Wayne. With no promotion from either Universal or Murder Inc., the song did not make much of an impact. The next single, “Body,” featuring Ashley Joi, suffered the same fate.

His big comeback, The Mirror, was supposed to be released on November 13, 2007, but with no promotion from either of his labels, sales projections were low. It was then that Murder Inc. decided to push the album back until 2008. Had Ja Rule been properly promoted, he could have easily scored his first number one hit in six years with “Body.”

All he needed, then, was the proper promotion and he could have successfully released The Mirror. For those who heard the album, they all say that it was an extremely great album. If it had been released in relevant times, it would have sold very well with or without proper promotion.

Throughout the year of 2008, new music from Ja Rule leaked and many possible singles were exposed. None of these releases resulted in a new album. Because of that, the Universal deal lapsed with neither Murder Inc. nor Universal Motown turning a profit. Now, Ja is claiming to be off of the label, but still a close associate.

Ja Rule is ready to try his comeback one more time. This time, he is going at it without the help of Irv Gotti. He partnered with World Star Hip Hop and they helped him film his new video, “Father Forgive Me.” The planned third single from The Mirror will now be the lead single for his comeback triple disc, Venni Vetti Vecci 2010.

Next year, Ja Rule is promising to re-take the game. He made the same promise back in 2007. If he had been promoted in a proper manner, this may be his fourth new album since his hiatus instead of his “big return.” Will Ja Rule be able to do it this time?

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