Ja Rule may deliver his best work behind bars. AllHipHop.com sat in an exclusive listening session for Ja Rules new album, Pain Is Love 2, the dark sequel.
“It absolutely matters. It’s a karma thing. It’s an energy thing. That resistance is no longer strong enough (to hold Ja Rule back).”
7 Aurelius (also known as Seven) explains. And it’s a lot.
Right now, towards the end of this session, he’s discussing whether or not 50 Cent’s decline in musical dominance matters to Ja Rule's latest push.
The artsy, muscular
producer sits in a dimly lit studio in the outermost section of the legendary Quad Studios in Manhattan. His normally eccentric garb is replaced by a Yankee fitted and normal clothing as he talks his friend Ja Rule.
He’s conversing with a small, but influential cadre of journalists and bloggers that have come out on a listening session for Ja, who is presently serving two years on gun charges.
It’s a lot.
The pair have worked together in the past, but have deepened their relationship for the release of Ja’s new album, PIL2 (Pain Is Love 2). The album is a conceptual work that explains the downside of Fame, which is depicted as a woman on the inner album art. “F**k fame,” is a reoccurring, jagged theme.
The album is probably Ja’s most cohesive work to date, and it was recorded up until the day before he was transported to Mid-State Correctional Facility in upstate Oneida, N.Y.
It has not been easy for them to get PIL2 ready for the masses on February 28.
For one, there’s the Rick Ross debacle.
Leveling, Seven says, “A lot of the [artists of note] were not f**king with us. Rick Ross was the only artist that said, “Yeah.”
While Ja and Ross share a profound distaste for 50 Cent, the Miami rapper’s health took a turn for the worst with a pair of back-to-back seizures last year. Otherwise, he would have been the only recognizable name on the album.
“This album is [about] a man that is going to prison, and he’s opening up his soul,” Seven says, making eye contact with all of the writers. And his assessment of PIL2 is dead on. Ja Rule seems to regurgitate just about every emotion he’s felt since his decline in popularity stateside. (Seven makes it clear Rule is still poppin’ in the rest of the world, attributing the downslide to fickle American audiences.)
In the United States, it has been hard to change perception. Swizz Beatz, T.I. Weird Al Yankovic, and even 50 Cent have sampled Coldplay. But, the alternative rockers would not approve a sample for Ja’s “Spun A Web,” a song on PIL2 that tried to sample “Trouble.” “They turned us down so many times, we stopped asking, “ Seven laments.
“It’s hard to explain the mental state of someone going to jail for two years that’s been a star for 10 years.”
And Seven takes a moment to call out the sheepish masses.
“They can’t wait for [an authority] to say, ‘Its OK to like Ja again.’”
Until then, they believe that Pain Is Love 2 will be received as their most creative offering to date and a springboard for Ja’s post-jail career.
“I’m expecting this album to do very well,” Seven utters confidently. “This album is going to help [Ja] come out with the right perception [from fans] when he gets out of jail.”
Ja Rule expects to come home in February of 2013.
“I’m back where I started / A prisoner of my own success but hardly / Caring enough to know I’m dead without it / No cribs, no cars, no champagne / No bright lights, no bitches, no big stage / But f*ck it, I’m in a better place.”
Ja Rule on “They Spun A Web”