Ja Rule is free! Ja Rule is free! The man who gave us such hits as “Holla, Holla,” “Where Would I Be Without You,” and “Pimp” got out of jail today to bless us with his lyricals. Yes, we’ve had fun joking about Ja Rule over the years, but the fact is he made some pretty great music. We all know about the rap-pop hits he made that topped the charts, but he was oh so much more.
These songs are from Ja’s heyday when he was an undeniable star before Interscope told us to stop liking him. Slander if you want, but you had at least one Ja jam in your library and you still probably sing “I’m Real” to yourself while spraying Axe on your nethers every morning.
Ed. Note: Just know Ja Rule may now be headed to a federal prison stemming from a tax beef with Uncle Sam. Unfortunately, this means we would have to wait even longer for Ja’s previously scheduled redemption tour. Now excuse me while I wait for 50 Cent’s reaction via Twitter.
1. “Suicide Freestyle”
Ja Rule’s singing turned out being one of the pivotal missteps leading to his downfall. But Ja Rule knew his way around a good harmony. Say his tracks with J. Lo weren’t radio-ready smashes if you want to. You’d be lying. We first got a hint of Ja’s song-making ability here on “Suicide Freestyle” from his debut album. And, hey, there’s a Case sighting! Plus, he says “Venetians” which earns him a vocabulary combo breaker.
2. “We Don’t Give A F*ck”
The Murderers album was horrible. It was the birth of Ja Rule realizing that the words “b*tches” and “n*ggas” rhymed together and he never turned back. However, “We Don’t Give A F*ck” is a straight up banger. It is. No, for real. Cadillac Tah be damned. And most importantly, the song features Ja Rule’s best verse of all time. “We dedicated to street life, game and hustle/ I don’t wanna be white, I’m glad I’m black I’m built for the struggle.” Sheeeeiiiiiit. Put that on a tall tee shirt and buy me a dozen.
3. “6 Feet Underground”
First of all, holy sh*t did you know this video existed?! What the hell is this? This is like we unlocked the secret ninja ghetto part of the city in Reboot. Anyway, this song from Ja’s last good album, Rule 3:36 was mostly great thanks to production but Ja did his thing. Def Jam, platinum records and the best CGI money could buy. Things were so nice before 50 came and f*cked it all up.
4. “Loose Change”
Want to know a secret? Blood In My Eye was a decent album from Ja. He just rapped and dissed 50 Cent for an hour and a half. One track left on the cutting room floor was “Loose Change,” his big salvo against everyone at Interscope. You ever get jumped and know you’re catching an ass whooping but land that one good hit on one of the guys you’ll pride yourself in? “Em, you claim your mother’s a crackhead and Kim is a known slut, so what Hailie gonna be when she grows up” was that one haymaker. Yes, Ja lost the war, but that line is top five scathing diss line of all time. And Ja Rule said it. B*tch.
5. “How Many Wanna” We can all agree that this is the best rap video of all time to feature Darlene Tanner, right? This song was so good it almost made me want to go see Light It Up. The absolute best part of the video without a doubt is the backup singers. What the f*ck are they doing? They clearly don’t know the words nor do they have working mics. Anyway, this was Ja mixing his melodic delivery with his rap style. It was the perfect blend before he got all Keith Sweat on us.