Blatant honesty time: 50 Cent made it a lot easier for me to dismiss the music of Ja Rule (despite Curtis essentially appropriating Jeffrey’s entire style to launch his own career into the stratosphere). I was too heavily into independent/street/crack rap during Murder Inc’s reign at the top (contrary to popular belief, it was not in fact short like leprechauns) to really enjoy a Ja Rule song; long story short, if a rapper wasn’t signed to Rawkus Records at one point in their careers, participated in the making of Come Home With Me, or Pusha T, I wasn’t checking for it.
That said, discussing hip hop culture and ignoring the contributions Ja Rule made is pretty baseless at this point. Yes, his most popular singles were loaded with high fructose corn syrup raps and – almost always – a woman to accompany him (Lil Mo, Vita, Charli Baltimore, Ashanti). And yes, the video for “Mesmerize” will remain a low point in his career. But to deny that he had no impact on rap would be a false assumption.
For their latest installment of their “Magnum Opus” series, Complex sits down with Ja – as well as Lyor Cohen, Irv Gotti and others – to talk about “Put It On Me,” the song that helped Ja Rule make the transition from platinum-selling rapper to full-blown pop star, as well as the rapper’s come up in hip hop. Like every episode, this is a fascinating watch that gives more of an insight – and, ultimately, respect – for Ja Rule, 50 Cent attacks and all.