interview  (March 2010) | Interview By: Jose Ho-Guanipa

  Ja Rule born Jeffrey Atkins got into the game at the young age of 17 with his Cash Money Click and features with artists like Jay-Z. He then went on to sell millions of records and become an internationally recognized artists. Over ten years deep into his career he's still going. We got to sit with him and talk about setbacks, beef, and his new album Venni Vetti Vecci 2010.

As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave feedback on our forums or email them to jose@dubcnn.com.

Interview was conducted in March 2010

Ja Rule // Video Interview // Dubcnn

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Dubcnn: What's up everyone I'm here with Ja Rule.

Ja Rule: Yo.

Dubcnn: Thanks for being here. Alright so this weekend, apart from being Oscar weekend, It's also your birthday right?

Ja: Yeah. Well my birthday actually passed, it's on the 29th.

Dubcnn: There's an event going in your honor. So tell us about that. You're in California right now instead of New York Obviously, so did you just come out for that?

Ja: Yeah, just kind of came out to party you know? For the weekend.

Dubcnn: Cool so tell us what you been up to musically man, you got that album coming out soon, you got that new situation with Empire?

Ja: Yeah I got my new label Empire. It's brand new artists, brand new everything. My project will be the first project coming out on Empire later on this year in the summer. The title of the album is Vetti Vecci 2010. It's a real good album.

Dubcnn: So obviously you're still affiliated with Murder Inc. right?

Ja: Of course, of course, you didn't see the carpet?

Dubcnn: Yeah, tell us about this whole thing, this is dope.

Ja: This is my L.A. Spot you know. We out in L.A. we lay back, kick it.

Dubcnn: So what made you decide to go with that name and kinda bring it full circle, after one of your classic albums? The 2010 Version of it.

Ja: You know that's how I started with my first venture, Irv Gotti/Murder Inc. We set it off, and I feel like I've come full circle from then to now, and this is my new venture. My new company, and right now I'm sending a different message with Vinnie Vedidici 2010. The statement means he came, he saw he conquered. I've been through so much, ups and downs all over the place. It's been a good ride, you know what I'm sayin’? It's been a wild ride but it's been fun. But with this album I feel like I've conquered all those little obstacles that I had to get around, and now I'm ready to get this product out to the world again.

Dubcnn: Definitely. So tell us about some of the obstacles or whatever you want to talk about. What have been some of the ups and downs?

Ja: I mean you know it ain't no secret everybody knows there’s beefs and federal investigations, I'm currently going through a gun charge right now. It's just a lot to go through, it's something I gotta deal with. It's not that big of a deal, but it's my issues and I gotta deal with ‘em. I got a lot of love and support from the fans and stuff. It's been easy to get through these situations.

Dubcnn: As time has passed, what's your take on all the beef situation? Obviously you don't dwell on it.

Ja: I think the beef shit is whack. My beef was different, it was real. Physical altercations, all that. A lot of these beefs today, are just publicity stunts for artists to try to sell records. They try to further their careers or whatever, doing so by creating conflict with other artists who are creating a buzz. I think it's watered down hip-hop. Even though hip-hop was founded on the battle, it came from that. It's still, with how far hip-hop has come, the beef records take away from the talent and the creative process of it all. I just think all the beef records and that shit is wack.

Dubcnn: What are some of the things that you've kinda seen from the beginning of your career to now in the industry that have changed? You kind of been though a lot of changes, you've seen all the changes. What are your thoughts and how they affect your view as an artist and a creator?

Ja: The rap game changes like every 2 years, So you gotta roll with the punches, you gotta be in this game and know how to flow and move as it changes, you must change. You can't stay the same or be the same, or have the same flows or have the same whatever. You gotta come up with something new, something fresh all the time. Or at least try to give the people something new, something fresh. But once you an established artist, you still have to give them what they used to, and what they love you for. So it's a little more fun as you go along because you do get to push the envelope and try new things and still you know what kinda works, and what the public expects from you. So it makes it fun to make albums at this point.

Dubcnn: Yeah so one of the things I think you have that a lot of other artists don't have, the ladies love you, you're almost like a sex symbol to a lot of them. What do you think about that and how's that changed since you've gotten a family, and gotten a little older?

Ja: You know it's basically what it is. My wife understands what it is and everything. But it's crazy because I don't really see it like that. I just do me, making music and trying to stay healthy, try to stay in the gym and all that. You know that's natural shit, it's just what I like to do. But the ladies like it. I like, I love women, and I love making those type of records for the ladies too.

Dubcnn: Tell us how you get down when you come out to L.A.?

Ja: We go out, hang out, party you know.

Dubcnn: Tell us, where did you hit last night?

Ja: We went to Voyeur last night. Nice club, you know they got the chicks dancing in there naked, up in the ceiling, in the nets and dancin’ in the glass and all that, so it's a nice little spot.

Dubcnn: So you've been doing a lot of touring around the world. What are some of your favorite places to hit internationally?

Ja: I love Brazil, Africa. London of course, Paris. There's a lot of spots out there where the people are real good good people and the fans are just really into the music, the love Hip Hop. Even like over in Taiwan, Taipei and Japan, they love Hip Hop. So whenever I'm in those parts, it's mayhem.

Dubcnn: Definitely. So what can you tell us about this new album musicwise? Sound, who you got to work with?

Ja: I worked with a lot of different producers on this album. Some new guys, some veterans. The album's put together really well. It just has an overall feel to it, the sound is Vintage Ja Rule, but then it's different, I've been playing with this new sound that I've been trying to develop. It's kinda hot, it's David Guetta meets The Hip Hop world. The beat's different their fresh, some of them are hard bass driven, and some of them have the big drums, big kick. It's kinda that sound that's tearin’ up overseas right now, but we haven't really put our finger on it yet over here in the states. So I kinda put my own stamp on it with the sound and the music and stuff, and hip-hopped it out. It sounds real good.

Dubcnn: So soundwise, careerwise, what do you think has been the highlight of your career so far? What do you want to be remembered for when you decide to stop rapping and do other stuff if that ever happens?

Ja: That's tough to say. I've done a lot in this music business, sold a lot of records. Had a lot of number one hits, number one albums, everything. I've won plenty of awards, so for me, I guess it's all left in your body of work. People tend to forget sometimes the body of work that you laid down, until you’re not around anymore. So I'll just have to wait and see what my legacy is, but I know that people would definitely say I was a good MC, a good artist that created his own lane, his own style his own whatever. A lot of other artists grab a table towards that style, so you know that says something in itself.

Dubcnn: So as the music industry's evolved, especially now artists aren't just strictly doing music, their not just selling records, you know that just as well as anyone else. Are their any other ventures that you're getting into? Any entrepreneurial stuff? Acting or anything?

Ja: Yeah I got some movies and stuff that I'm doing. I just shot a few movies that should be coming out real soon; Don't Fade Away with me and Mischa Barton, and Cookout 2 with me and Charlie Murphy. I just did Just Another Day with Wood Harris and Jamie Hector. Another good movie that I'm about to go shoot, I'm In Love With A Church Girl with me and Adrian Polong. I start shooting that in April. So I'm having fun doing what I'm doing on that end, but I also got some TV shows that I'm working on, in the works. My own reality show that I'm doing, and it's basically me, putting together my empire, building my empire. It's an interesting look into how it all goes down, how it gets put together. So people get a good glimpse of what I go through daily, it's crazy, and I got another show that I'm workin’ on with some partners of mine. Queen Latifah and Shakim my partner with the TV stuff. It's been a long long career, I've been in the game for 10, almost 15 years something like that. I started real early, when I was 17, 18. So you gotta find things to re-challenge yourself to keep making you push yourself to try to be better than the last time, you gotta create new challenges. So with the new project coming up, I've got a lot of challenges, a lot of things that I need to put together to make it happen to see my dream come true of being a mogul. I've been an artist up to this point even though me and Gotti were partners and I still have a piece of Murder Inc, still this is very different from that situation. So I'm looking forward to it.

Dubcnn: So let me touch on that one last time, the Empire situation, How is that different than you just being signed to another label?

Ja: Well I mean, I own everything. I own all my masters, I own all the publishing, everything is mine. It's an independent situation, but it feels like a major. So I like to say it's an independently major situation. But it's not gonna be easy, and I'm working on these new projects, and my new project. With Murder Inc, we always had the big machine behind us to just push it, push it, push it. Now it's me, I gotta push it, push it, push it, so it's gonna be a little different but I'm up for it. I can't wait.

Dubcnn: So tell us about those challenges. As a businessman you gotta take over all this stuff that usually the label handles.

Ja: There's a lot of things that's entailed man, talkin’ to retailers, talking to DJ's, talking to PD's, going to see ‘em. Going up to the MTV's, to the BET's, it's a tough job. It's not easy, and it's a 24 hour job. My days consist of me waking up around 9, 10, no later than 11 everyday, and I'm in my office till about 7, 8, and then I hit the studio till about 5, 6 in the morning, and then I do it again.

Dubcnn: So it's like you have 2 full time jobs going on?

Ja: Yeah so I get about 4 or 5 hours of sleep a day.

Ja Rule // Video Interview // Dubcnn

Download The Video Drop Windows Media
Download The Video Interview Windows Media

Press Play to stream footage (Fast Connections Recommended)


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