Artist: Ja RuleTitle: ExodusRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Sidik Fofana

There’s always a little politics involved when someone decides that

it’s time to drop a greatest hits album. For someone like Tupac

Shakur, it’s just the posthumous thing to do: an album of eulogy

after a lifelong legacy of hits. For someone like say Michael

Jackson, the greatest hits album is a key tool during trial time

when your presence under the public eye intensifies and the

courtroom cameras become free advertisement. But for most

people, the greatest hits album simply signals the end of your

shine in this here biz-ness of music.

For Ja Rule-and his greatest hits Exodus (The Inc/Def Jam) it’s a little trickier. In the late nineties, Ja Rule and the A&R devil made an agreement where he signed over his street cred soul for pop success. In the beginning, it worked out for Ja Rule as his polygamous duets like “Put it On Me” and “Ain’t It Funny” kept his beach chair on South Beach. Yet gradually, his fans were losing their testosterone and the fellas on the block

with the black doo-rags weren’t nodding their heads as much. We gave him one last chance and he used it with Bobby Brown to sing a duet on a building roof about “Thug Lovin’”. Even the Rule himself knew he had made a boo-boo. So, this sudden resurgence that includes the Rotten’s apples most current Hip-hop anthem “New York”, “Clap Back”, and the R. Kelly Midas touch on “Wonderful” throws us off somewhat. Is Ja Rule’s career really on a downward spiral?

Sh*t, Exodus is hot. Done in chronological order for the most part, Exodus allows listeners see where it went right for Ja Rule, where it went wrong, and then back to where it went right again. From the hardcore rapper who blushed at comparisons to Tupac, to the sensitive fellow singing thug serenades, to the buddy of Fat Joe, the man who gave him back his figurative bandana and sagging jeans.

Exodus is a solid and well put together greatest hits album. Even the new track “Me” seals Ja Rule’s place as a bona fide rapper. Still, we are left with a funny feeling at the end of the album. That’s when the A&R devil pops out with his pitchfork and asks Ja Rule if he remembers the agreement.