Ja Rule

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About Ja Rule

Rough yet lovable Ja Rule emerged during hip-hop's late-'90s boom and evolved into a pop phenomenon for nearly all platforms. Born Jeffrey Bruce Atkins in Queens, New York, in 1976, the gravel-voiced MC kicked off his career making boom-bap with Cash Money Click. He then cut his teeth as a guest alongside a rap rogue’s gallery—from Jay-Z and DMX to Method Man and LL Cool J—that pointed toward his future dual status as rugged spitter and gruff crooner. Rule exploded as a solo artist in 1999 with the platinum Venni Vetti Vecci and its frothy yet fiercely braggadocious single, "Holla Holla." The following year, riding over spartan beats by Murder Inc. label boss Irv Gotti, Rule drove into radio-friendly territory with "Between Me & You." The song was not only Christina Milian’s debut, but also the first in a successful string of thug-love duets Rule recorded with female R&B singer/songwriters including Ashanti ("Always on Time," "Mesmerize") and Jennifer Lopez ("I'm Real," "Ain't It Funny"). The offbeat romantic simultaneously kept his street cred burnished with gritty tales of gangsta glory like "New York," from his sixth album in as many years, 2004’s R.U.L.E. Rule’s profile rarely flagged in those years thanks in part to gossip- and music-generating feuds with 50 Cent among others, which he stoked on his back-to-basics, trash-talking Blood in My Eye. He ended an eight-year recording hiatus with 2012’s musically expansive PiL 2. That meditation on fame was well-earned—by then, Rule had branched out into reality television, film acting, and entrepreneurship, proving his savvy as an agile survivor of rap beefs and career shifts alike.

Queens, NY, United States
February 29, 1976

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