So I took a stroll in a video library the other day, as you would, looking for something to hold me till the next illegal download was made available to ‘dude on the street with the stack of DVDs’.
I thought, may be I would take one of those nostalgic trips down memory lane and revisit a movie that I thought I was too young to understand back in the day, like Coming To America or something, then something caught my eye.
Right there, peeping from a cast of, oh I don’t know, 100 wannabes, on a DVD cover was Ja Rule. I don’t think you get it, let me try again. JA freakin’ RULE. I thought he had faded in to obscurity and yet, here he was, going against all odds and trying to find some sort of significance.
You’d think a Google search would have been a more promising venture for him, but nope, Ja decided he would run to the world of straight to DVD flicks.
I’ll sideline my personal bias against him for a sec, Ja Rule was not necessarily a bad rapper. Hell, I still have fond memories of the ‘voice-breaking’ facilitator, “Holla-Holla”. It was a feel good jam, almost a vehicle for pubescent rebelliousness and we dug it.
Then there was his involvement in the Blackstreet-Janet Jackson back and forth, “Girlfriend-Boyfriend” or “Boyfriend-Girlfriend” or “Couple” or whatever. I thought that was not too shabby. Screw it, I’ll be charitable and say, it was ‘alright’.
He was not doing too badly on collabos. He teamed up with his mouse-alike “Mary J Blige” on Rainy Days and enjoyed a reasonable flow of success, rode that silver cloud to Thug Lovin’ with Bobby “Houston” Brown and, shit, I’ll be damned, it was a solid song. It’s possible that there’s a more fitting adjective for that track, but you know what I mean.
There were the tracks with Ashanti and against my musical sensibilities’ better judgement, I allowed “Wonderful” in to my life. Looking back, I can’t help but think, if it wasn’t for the video, R Kelly’s involvement, the money the cars and all the shit it had, I wonder, would I still love it? Would I still play it…would I, dare I say it, still be mesmerised?
Then he went the diss route. For whatever reason, he had a feud with Eminem, 50, Dre and by extension, most of the people who came in to contact with them. I’m almost certain the feud is expounded upon some place online, but this is ULK, not Wikipedia. Artists really get off on this beef stuff and don’t get me wrong, it does make for decent entertainment from the sidelines.
We stop trying to wax deep dropping statements like “man, the lyrical content in there was ‘ill’ son!” and give in to the ‘local’ in us, “Mwana, guy, bavumye omusaja!”.
Now the problem is simple, Ja Rule tried too hard. He went against the new kids on the block and failed. Terribly. And when he was done failing, he tried again and failed some more. This is not to say he did not succeed at getting them to pay attention to him, far from it. You don’t do a diss song calling a black rapper a homosexual or bisexual, dissing a guy’s kid and you think, ‘eh, it’s just jokes, eh, eh. LOL’.
Eminem, Dre and 50 came back at him, guns blazing and somewhere along the way picked up Busta Rhymes for good measure. Shit, such was the amount of backup on this thing, even Timbaland threw in a half hearted diss. Seriously, at the end of the jam, it comes as an afterthought, almost like he was thinking, ‘first wait, I haven’t released anything in a while, let me remind people I’m here and I also don’t like Ja. Mbu homosexual? Let me stick it to him by telling him to suck my dick. That should show how uber male I am.”
If Ja had stuck with his ish ish collabos, I suspect things would have turned out a little different, but having been buried, he decided to resurrect his career in the only way a has been rapper can, he ran to Hollywood.
He does deserve some credit for sneaking in to a Scary Movie flick for the sole reason that no one takes those seriously anymore, so bad acting actually looks like the actor did try to act horribly and succeeded.
Oh, and he tried to pull a Matrix and dodge taxes. He failed.
However, with more and more movie titles rubbing themselves against his name like some a prostitute unsure of how to go about marketing his/her wares, you can’t help but think Jeffrey Atkins should have stopped way back when.