From 1999 to 2004 Jeffrey “Ja Rule” Atkins owned the airwaves. Besides almost never being photographed with a shirt on, the pint sized, gruff voiced rapper also created 6 albums over that time, and had several top 20 hits. He even did a song with J-Lo. You couldn’t escape Ja Rule’s music if you tried, and I did. I really did try.
What Went Wrong?
Ja and pop princess, Ashanti, were the king and queen of Irv Gotti’s Murder Inc Records and it appeared everything was going swimmingly. Well, you might have thought Murder Inc was one badass name, and you’re right, but Murder Inc was badass for more reasons than just its name. It was rumored Irv Gotti started Murder Inc with money from organized crime, specifically, drug dealing.
What’s so moronic about this, is that Irv Gotti, whose name is actually Irving Domingo Lorenzo, Jr., opted to change his name after that of former boss of the Gambino crime family, John Gotti. Then, Irv Gotti names his record label Murder Inc. Between the keywords “Murder” and “Gotti,” and the rumors of organized crime, the record label was getting plenty of attention from law enforcement. As if that wasn’t enough, they started attracting more attention.
In 2003, in the lovely and beautiful city of Toronto, Canada (homebase of CorruptCamel.com), Ja punched some dude in the face after the guy most likely said something about Ja Rule’s small stature, like, “Dude, you’re like a black Seth Green.”
Everyone knows short men are insecure about their height and can compensate for this by working out a lot and picking fights at any opportunity in order to gain respect and show the world that height means nothing. Apparently, no one had informed this dude about short man syndrome and to beware the little man. Ja was sued and settled out of court. This spelled the beginning of problems for the Ja Rule empire.
Later that year, Gotti smartened up and changed the name of Murder Inc to the boring and uninspired The Inc, and changed his name to Irv Poppins in order to minimize the negative attention the label received. Of course,the Poppins part isn’t true, but perhaps if Irv did change his last name to Poppins, things wouldn’t have continued to crumble as they did. Don’t worry about Irv though, he’s super rich, he’ll be okay.
In 2004, a fatal shooting occurred outside a nightclub party hosted by Ja Rule, and on a later date, Ja was arrested for driving with a suspended license and possession of marijuana. Let’s just say, it was a rough, rough year for Ja and company. I guess it’s true what they say: mo’ money, mo’ problems.
In 2005, Ja released the final album on his contract and said, “Might as well go for a soda,” and to the delight and disappointment of many, took an extended hiatus from music.
So What Ever Happened to Ja Rule?
Ja appeared in a bunch of movies before and during his break from music. Some highlights (and by highlights, I mean movies I’ve heard of) include The Fast and the Furious (2001) and Assault on Precinct 13 (2006).
Things got a little sticky for Ja in 2007, when he was arrested for gun and drug possession charges when caught driving with a loaded weapon after a Lil Wayne concert. Lil Wayne was with Ja and was also charged. In fact, it’s from this incident that Lil Wayne ended up serving 8-months in jail while Ja awaited his sentenced.
Ja Rule (5 ’7) and Lil Wayne (5’6): two tiny rappers with big loaded guns. Little man syndrome at its worst. Keep your distance.
Fairly recently, Ja announced a new album, called Rule York, which he originally expected to release sometime in 2011. However, he may have hit a snag, because on December 13, 2010, Ja was sentenced to 2 years in jail for the 2007 charges.
Whether he’ll use this arrest to promote his album or wait till he’s released is yet to be seen, but unfortunately, Ja Rule will probably be back and he probably won’t be wearing a shirt.