In the early millennium, Ja Rule ruled the pop and hip-hop charts with his crossover hits featuring Ashanti and Jennifer Lopez. Since 2005, however, the MC's career has been in limbo following a hiatus, label change and stint in prison. This year, the rapper has taken steps toward a comeback, appearing onstage with Chance the Rapper, launching an MTV reality show called Follow the Rules and plotting an Australian reunion tour with his most frequent collaborator Ashanti for next year. Ja Rule spoke to Rolling Stone about his resurgence in the latest episode of "The Encore."
"I hear it a lot about me," he tells RS. "'Ja is not relevant! Why are y'all doing an interview with him? How did he get a TV show? They must be giving 'em out over there!'" Even amid the static, the rapper remains optimistic about his legacy, as well as his future.
"I did a show last week with Chance, and I was a little nervous," he says about his appearance at the young Chicago rapper's NYC show. "These people didn't come to see Ja Rule; they came to see Chance the Rapper, so I was a little nervous. But I destroyed and smashed it. I was like, 'OK, I've made my mark in hip-hop, and it ain't going nowhere.'"