After a year that, by his own account, featured “beefs, felony investigations and arrests,” Ja Rule thought that R. Kelly would be a natural to collaborate with him and Ashanti on the track “Wonderful.” The song, Ja Rule’s response to all the turmoil (the rapper was arrested for assault in Toronto in June, his label Inc. is currently being investigated for money laundering, and he is well-known to be the target of 50 Cent’s “Wanksta”), is the lead single on Ja’s new CD, R.U.L.E.
“I wrote the hook and sent it to R., and he put his own touch on it,” says Ja Rule. “He switched up a couple words and sung it in his own way, basically the same shit, but he put the R. Kelly spin on it. I feel that record makes sense for me and him to do together. We both have had our drama. When you do collaborations you want them to have substance besides just being hot. At the end of the day a person can look at the record and say, ‘It’s hot and that’s some real shit.'”
The album also features guest spots from Fat Joe and Jadakiss on “New York.” But noticeable by their absence are the lack of any shots taken at 50 Cent and his G-Unit crew. “My focus is not on them,” says Ja Rule. “I made [2003’s] Blood in My Eye to get that out of my system and say what I had to say and get back to making music — not hate music, but good music, music that people have grown to love me for.”
Ja Rule’s recent decision to join Jay-Z on tour — after Jay-Z kicked R. Kelly off the tour (Kelly is suing him for $75 million) – is a quandary for the rapper. “Somehow Ja Rule always gets caught in the middle of some shit, I tell ya,” he says. “I really don’t know what to say about that. It’s tough. I’m friends with both of them, so it really has nothing to do with me.”
Although Ja Rule won’t mount a full tour in support of R.U.L.E. until the spring, fans of his film work can catch the rapper in the upcoming remake of John Carpenter’s 1976 horror flick, Assault on Precinct 13. Starring Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne and John Leguizamo, the movie features Ja Rule in the role of Smiley. “His name’s Smiley because he never smiles,” he says. “The script was changed a little bit to make it more up to date and relevant to what’s going on now, with crooked cops fighting against the good cops. It’s a really good story.”