It’s hard to believe that there was a time where Ja Rule completely dominated the Music Industry. For those who don’t remember that time, I’m gonna break it down so bare with me on this comparison. Ja Rule’s downfall from grace is a perfect example on how you can’t depend on fickle people to determine your level of game and success. Look at how when Ja Rule first got into the game. He got into the game somewhat respected from the “streets”, JayZ and DMX cosigned him and he put out a hardcore East Coast based street album Vetti Venni Vecci. The album was pretty successful and went gold. Very impressive for an unknown cat.
Ja then soon realized that if he wanted bigger success then he would have to aim for a different demographic. He knew where the money was at and that was within the pop crowd. Ja Rule within a year did a 360 and changed whole his style to a more R&B, Pop oriented style. He alienated alot of the core fans that loved songs such as Its Murda, Kill Em All, and How Many Wanna Ride for the MTV pop crowd and it paid off for him. Rule 3:36 was a start of things to come:
He started doing duets with Mary J Blige, Faith Evans Case, Lil Mo .He was the modern-day R&B rapper before we heard of that kid from Canada and he reached a whole new demographic of fans that ate up all of his material.
The gamble seemed to be worth the payoff and the Murder Inc era took off to the next level when Ja Rule linked up with Jennifer Lopez and the song blew up heavily. The song did justice for both Ja and J-Lo and gave them both new fanbases with Ja getting a new pop fan base and J-Lo getting a hip hop fanbase.
Murder Inc started to get a whole lot of love in the Industry and the hits kept on coming. Even though alot of people(including myself) didn’t really like it, But they could have cared less about what real hip hoppers were thinking because they were dominating both Rap(Ja Rule) and R&B(Ashanti). They had little to worry about because Murder Inc as Irv Gotti would say were “Kings of the World!” and success couldn’t have been greater:
But what Ja Rule failed to realize is that those teenyboppers and fickle fans were NOT his core fans. The people who bought that underground ass first album were his CORE fans. Ja first mistake was actually believing that these people who hopped the wave were his actual real fans. He started feeling himself a bit more by coming after DMX, JayZ, and reigniting a what would be a major beef with rival 50 Cent. Its kinda of like how a person gets a whole lot of money and it blinds them from reality.
Ja Rule really believed that these people loved him for the game he was spitting when in reality he compromised himself to some simpish soft music to appeal a different demographic. As an artist, You can’t help crossover appeal. DMX crossed over with How its Goin Down, JayZ crossed over with Big Pimpin, but at the end of the day those guys still remained themselves and happened to attract new fans. But the way Ja Rule did it, He was looked upon as a “sellout”.
So here comes his arch rival 50 Cent:
50 comes into the game coming at Murder Inc brutally. He unleashed an onslaught of mixtapes, songs, attacking Ja Rule’s style of music, his image, manhood and slowly but surely took down the Murder Inc empire. Ja Rule tried ignoring and downplaying 50 but by then it was too late and 50 started picking up steam.
You would think that those fans that Ja’s new fanbase would have his back right? WRONG! Those people who bought into Murder Inc’s Sweet Maple Syrup music hopped on the 50 Cent bandwagon and made his album one of the biggest selling albums of all time. This was a very hard pill for Ja Rule to swallow and a serious ego hit knowing his hated adversary has reached the top of the mountain.
Ja Rule knew he couldn’t no longer ignore 50 and was backed in a corner to where he had to break character and go back into some street shit to gain back the audience that he had already lost. The problem was that Ja has crossed so far over into the Pop realm that it was hard for people to really take him seriously. And not to mention that the songs he put out on 50 were vicious, violent and JUST NOT GOOD.
Since then He’s tried numerous comebacks and failed miserably. He attempted to hop on the Lil Wayne bandwagon when he was becoming hot and flopped. I knew once he brought Bobby Brown in the mix, It was a WRAP:
Never since the days of NWA have I seen one artist destruct a person or a label or a group in a fashion 50 Cent has done. 50 has turned the tides from Ja Rule so badly that you can’t help but to somewhat laugh. Its gotten to the point where there’s a high chance that Ja Rule couldn’t even pull a young lady in the club like he could in 2002. Ja probably can’t even sell out shows like he did back in his heyday because of the damage to his credibility.
Most of his own peers(Busta Rhymes especially) jumped on 50’s bandwagon without hesitation. Comedians have made jokes about Ja and its gotten bad to the point where Ja actually has to copy local rappers to get back in the game(He copied the I’m Styling on You quote from the dude that got punched in that YouTube rap battle).
So whats the lesson behind this whole thing on Ja Rule? The lesson is to BE YOURSELF, Theres nothing wrong with wanting to reach new audiences and making money. But don’t compromise yourself to appeal to new people who you know would only love you when you’re on top of your game whenever it be financially, physically, spiritually, or verbally. If Ja would have been more humble and less arrogant or naive then maybe he would still have his credibility and have a decent career. Until then.. People are gonna always remember him as being a pop singing joke that got run out of the game by Curtis:
When you go from this:
It’s really a done deal.