View profile

Where is Ja Rule?

Where is Ja Rule?
By Byron Crawford • Issue #426 • View online
Note: Due to a miscalculation by my accountant, who’s an African-American, I won’t have access to a computer for the next week or two. In the meantime, I’ll be running best-of content. The next new Members Only™ issue will appear Tuesday 8/2. The next free issue drops that Friday.
This issue originally ran on May 5, 2017.

I was hoping that the Fyre Festival would be the thing to get Ja Rule’s career back on track, and I’m saddened to hear that it’s being called rich white people’s equivalent of slavery. Or 9/11. Whichever one was worse.
Though arguably, 9/11 was rich white people’s equivalent of 9/11. But let’s not get distracted here.
Ja Rule was one of the very best rappers of his particular era, i.e. the period of time after Biggie and 2Pac were assassinated, when mediocrity reigned and discerning listeners began to lose interest, and he’s been unfairly maligned just because he’s routinely made bad decisions over the course of his career.
Ja Rule was in the first Fast and the Furious movie, but he turned down a chance to be in the sequel because he was making too much money from those terrible songs he did with Ashanti, so they got Ludacris instead.
Now the Fast and the Furious series is on its eighth movie, which came out the same weekend as the #JoyLaneMassacre and immediately made [Dr. Evil voice] a billion dollars, in what can only be viewed as more evidence of life imitating Idiocracy.
Meanwhile, when’s the last time Ja Rule had a hit? Was it that song he did with Bobby Brown? I don’t even remember what year that was. I want to say it was 2002, but I could be off by like five years, and something tells me Bobby Brown doesn’t know either.
Arguably, Ja Rule’s music was better than, or at least not any worse than, 50 Cent’s music, but Ja’s career was put on hold by Jimmy Iovine, who, according to Ja’s terrible memoir, Unruly, held sway over all of Universal Music, parent company of both Ja and Fiddy’s labels. Fiddy had sold 10 million copies of Get Rich or Die Tryin’, and they didn’t need Ja trying to destroy his career.
Ja Rule was busted for gun possession the same night as Lil Wayne, back in the late ‘00s, and I think his sentence was extended because he hadn’t been paying his taxes. No one realized how long he was gone for, because he was already irrelevant when he got locked up.
One of his cellmates was former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski, a notorious white-collar criminal, who supposedly gave him some business advice. If the debacle that is the Fyre Festival is any indication, it may not have been the best advice in the world.
In retrospect, the first sign that maybe the Fyre Festival wasn’t on the up and up was the fact that they were trying to get Ja Rule to host. How many people with ankles strong enough to stand up outside for two days in a row even know who Ja Rule is?
I guess Ja figured Jay Z has his own festival (Budweiser’s Made in America, which Jay merely shills for). Jay’s best-selling album, Vol. 2, wouldn’t have sold as many copies as it did if it didn’t have that Ja Rule song on it. Why shouldn’t Ja Rule have his own festival as well?
Apparently, according to some Vice article I skimmed, the 20-something kid who organized the Fyre Festival really did have the money to put it on, but he spent it all paying Instagram thots, including the reviled (but still so cute) Kendall Jenner, to post fake ads for it as if it were flat-tummy tea.
The headline of the article says they blew the money on “models, planes and yachts.” I figured maybe Vice was referring to filthy hoo-ers as models, so as to appear woke, but apparently they really did pay these girls tens of thousands of dollars just for social media posts. Kendall Jenner got $250,000, while even the most obscure thots got $20,000 each.
It just goes to show the difference between millennials and us brothers of a certain age. If I’m spending $20,000, someone’s walking home with a limp as a matter of general principle.
By the time the actual show rolled around, the organizers couldn’t afford anything other than formaldehyde-laden FEMA tents, a lone, probably filthy porta potty and meals that looked like either a KFC Shredder or something that was once described in a Bang Bus video as a Haitian lunch, depending on which pop culture reference you recognize.
Ja Rule, in a statement that was released via some text he screencapped and posted on Twitter, said that the Fyre Festival was NOT A SCAM, as has been widely reported, and that this was NOT [HIS] FAULT, though he is taking responsibility. His immediate concern, he says, is making sure everyone gets off the island safely. Er, SAFE.
The fact that he’s taking responsibility for something he says wasn’t his fault suggests to me that he hasn’t consulted with a lawyer. (Not to mention literally every other aspect of this statement.) If Ja were my client, I’d advise him to deny any involvement in, or even knowledge of, this festival. I definitely wouldn’t have him on Twitter talking about “I take responsibility.”
Yeah, Ja Rule is listed in all of the festival’s marketing materials as one of its organizers, but since when has a rapper, in a non-drug-related business venture, been anything other than a nominal figurehead?
Take it easy on yourself,
Did you enjoy this issue?
Become a member for $5 per month
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Byron Crawford
Byron Crawford

The hip-hop newsletter that's not afraid to ask the tough questions

You can manage your subscription here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue