It was 2003 and 50 Cent took the game by storm with a mixtape a year before the single “Wanksta” aimed at Ja Rule. It seem like overnight Ja Rules’ career was destroyed. All the hype around 50 Cent he almost could have said anyone’s name and had the reaction, maybe. He chose to go after Ja Rule though. It was 03’ the only way to compare what happened and make sense of this is to compare it to the war in Iraq. As a country we didn’t like Saddam Hussein so when President Bush went in on Iraq for having WMDs and the injustice and torture of his people we rolled with it. 50 Cent jumped on Ja Rule when we as fans were getting tired of him anyway, no one said it out loud but it was something we all felt. So when Ja Rule had the disses thrown his way we all were cool with watching Ja Rule fall. So let’s get the list popping shall we.
1. Over exposed
That Boondocks comic strip says it best, the guy was over exposed. You couldn’t go an hour without hearing Ja Rule on “urban” radio. The fact he like Jay-Z, DMX and Ludacris were dropping albums once a year, so they stayed on the radio. Ja Rule however during the height of his career was always on the radio even in small ways. I remember thinking was he on that Fat Joe song that had Ashanti but wasn’t sure until someone told me it was Ja Rule. I mean he’s not even really on there but that little piece in the hook. The guy being featured on so many R&B songs and having singers on his songs actually created a new category at awards shows. So people just got tired of his presence
2. Wrong place at the right time
Many of the fans who turned their backs on Ja rule once 50 Cent took shots at him really didn’t then and now even know Ja rule wasn’t 50 Cents’ first target. For a few tracks 50 Cent went at Sticky Fingaz and Jay-Z. Matter of fact 50 Cent himself on a track said he was putting beef with those MCs to the side to attack Ja Rule. Then the fact the 50 Cent was the focus of Hip Hop right when Hip Hop DVDs were really getting a lot of shine in the hood, so a indirect war on Ja Rule was formed. 50 Cent was on EVERY Hip Hop DVD that came out that year. He was new he had a story with surviving being shot nine times and he had a bone to pick with Ja rule. So when you saw and heard 50 Cent you heard the grudge against Ja rule.
3. Ja Rule is not LL Cool J
Ja rule had the female audience on lock when he had the radio on lock. His singles were soft core and with that reason alone I NEVER copped a Ja Rule album, I did get a few singles here and there though. But the vibe was he was a rougher version of Nelly. Even now listening to songs where he did go hard before he blew up I’m not convinced with the hard threats and gun talk he’d do shit. He just didn’t have the support of the men. When LL got, to me and fuck what any LL fan says, his ass handed to him by Canibus we as men wanted to hear LL’s response. LL was known to whipe the lotion off, put a shirt on ad go to war, We didn’t know if ja Rule could do that and no one cared anyway.
4. It wasn’t Jay-Z vs. Nas
While 50 Cent was new and the shots he was taking at Ja rule were getting around, the Hip Hop world was more focused on the two Hip Hops lyrical giants with a commercial presence Nas and Jay-Z. Almost every beef that wasn’t Jay and Nas was second hand shit. KRS vs. Nelly, Prodigy vs. Jay-Z, D Block vs. Roc-A-Fella, Jaz-O, vs. Roc-A-Fella and whatever was poppin on the West Coast at the time. Even when Busta, Eminem and G-Unit took shots at Ja Rule and Fat Joe went at 50 and JD was dissing Dre no one really cared. If you weren’t Jay or Nas it didn’t matter.
5. It wasn’t Jay-Z vs. Nas
50 Cent can spit when he wants to and he really didn’t need to bring his A game against Ja Rule and I really don’t think he ever did. Ja Rule was never known as the illest spitter in the game. So it was new guy/former hustler vs. Hip Hop R&B thug…. Really how lyrical could that have been, how lyrically was it in the end, really?
6. Ja Rule had no real team
It’s funny how everyone spoke on how Nas during the beef with Jay had no team on his side. When Nas showed up on the MTV VMAs 02’ or 03’ with Ja rule and Ashanti everyone thought they were a unit. Nas said they weren’t riding as a team while Murda Inc really didn’t give an answer. That no didn’t do shit for Nas because he handled his business with “Either”. However Ja Rule had a team of nobodies who weren’t even really that hot on the mic. By time Ja rule got Fat Joe and Jadakiss on the New York track he had already lost his hold on what audience he once had.
7. Too arrogant
50 Cent was every where telling the story of why he had an issue with Ja rule while Ja Rule figured his status as Hip Hop/Pop star gave him a pass on getting in beef. I have those DVDs where Ja Rule acted as if 50 Cent was beneath him. He forgot beef is a part of Hip Hop like DJs, break beats and breakdancing. Even Nelly recorded diss records and didn’t shy away from questions about KRS-ONE. If Nelly could do it why not Ja rule?
8. Ja rule didn’t jump in front of the beef in the beginning
All we were hearing was 50 Cent side of what happened, even in the Get Rich Or Die Tyin’ movie it was played out. Ja Rule never took the time to really put his side of it out there in the beginning, and with that people went with what 50 Cent was saying. By time Ja Rule did talk about what the beef really was about he was no longer that dude on the radio every hour. “Clap Back” wasn’t really that good even thought the beat was hot as hell. If he had taken his clout and got on air like Diddy did when the Lox called him out maybe he would have had a chance to come away with some dignity. He let the one sided battle go on too long.
9. Ja Rule was an easy target
As much we as listeners may have been tired of Ja Rule the fact he wasn’t really doing shit ”Hood” hurt him. The Summer Jam screen showing Ja Rule crying in one of his video to a crowd was a point on so many levels. Most of his singles on the radio came off too emotional for any rapper. From the titles of songs to the pictures in magazines and in stores front posters he really had became a soft dude thanks to his music and the imagme to coincide with it. The guy was singing on hooks, and writing a good deal of them as well as songs…. R&B songs. A new guy coming in as a Hardcore rapper going against someone who is the face of a label named Murda Inc. looks more like a R&B artist you have a problem. Ja rule went with what was selling and fell into that role and became easy target for anyone. The thing is no one really out right knocked his hustle until 50 Cent came on the scene.
10. Ja Rule
If Ja Rule could have just manned up and really just went back and fourth with 50 on the underground mixtape level instead of waiting for it to start effecting his mainstream audience he could have been ok. It seems everyone in those battle between02’ and 04’ other than Ja Rule have a name and some relevance in Hip Hop today. The Game still gets love, Fat Joe still calls on major dudes on songs, even Nelly has a comeback popping. If he had just got his hands dirty he could lasted long enough to make the same point that Joe Buddens made when he was taking on G-Unit. That point being 50 Cent had become the rapper he was saying Ja Rule was. He didn’t though, he spent time side stepping the beef while 50 Cent was gaining momentum with his career. Ja Rule should be in the game right now, he is the farther of this whole sub-genre of Hip Hop/R&B. He just gambled and lost and never recovered from it at all.