House of Blues
Posted January 9th 2019
“KNOW THY SELF…” is one of the oldest, philosophical statements that can be traced back to Ancient Egyptian times that still resonates people who are lovers of knowledge and are in pursuit of spiritual oneness. It is a creed that knows no boundaries and people from all walks of life gravitate to its simplistic truth. When it comes to music, nowhere does this belief have more meaning than in hip-hop, where the drive to stay true one’s artistry is the ultimate goal. And, there is only one rap artist within the 21st century that this declaration of faith could not have spoken to more than The Inc./Empire/Motown Universal recording artist Jeffrey Atkins a.k.a. Ja Rule. Backed by a new label and a fresh perspective on his career and personal life, Ja Rule is ready to reclaim his longtime reign in hip-hop with his latest album, “The Mirror”.
“The Mirror” is such an apropos title for Rule’s eighth album. The multi-platinum veteran rapper out of Hollis, Queens, has gone through a personal transformation that sees him closing the door on a tumultuous time in his life––from the long, drawn out public feud with Interscope Recording Artist 50 Cent, to the investigation and vindication The Inc. label heads Irv and Chris Gotti by the United Sates Federal Government––to opening up a new chapter both artistically and business-wise where Ja Rule and The Inc. are poised to make run atop the Billboard charts for the remainder of 2007 and beyond. And, reclaiming his superstar status in higher rap’s echelon should not be a problem for Ja, whose stellar recording history of undeniably street anthems and monumental crossover hits, captured a generation nearly a decade ago.
Even during the height of the public and legal scrutiny, Ja Rule and The Inc. brand still managed bang out hits for the radio and clubs, with 2004’s “R.U.L.E” album (Island Def Jam). Now with all the drama behind him, hip-hop should come to expect that same formula of success, but with a more mature twist. I guess the public will label it as a comeback album, Ja responds. The album spawned two monster records with “Wonderful” featuring R. Kelly and “New York” featuring Fat Joe and Jadakiss. The record sold Platinum.
In addition to the grown man memoirs that featured are on “The Mirror”, what’s different about this album in comparison to projects years past is its’ sonic palette that Ja Rule took an active role in overseeing. Known for usually collaborating with The Inc. in-house producers, Irv Gotti and 7 Aurelius, Ja took it a step further by getting melodic assistance from the likes of heavyweights such as, Erick Sermon, Ty Fyffe, Rick Steel, DJ Kurupt, Mel-Man, among others. Such musical diversity is refreshing in hip-hop where the genre is currently criticized for being creatively stale, and Ja has the content and the passion, not only to reenergize his worth in the game, but also to inject some new life into rap and pull in some newer fans in the process. Standout cuts include the introspective testimonial on
“Abandoned” (A message to mankind), an aggressive club banger, “Uh Oh” and “Body” that is sure to further cement Ja Rule’s legacy in hip-hop.
The soon-to-be mogul is not throwing in the towel on his recording career just yet, so fans should not be alarmed. However, Ja rule is being more calculating about his future and where hip-hop fits into it. That starts by thoroughly examining yourself and making the proper changes that are needed. By looking into “The Mirror”––you will not only find Ja Rule at his best, but also a place for hip-hop to begin charting a different course for it to continue survive and thrive.
The Ja Rule #RulYorkCity Tour rolls into the House of Blues this Thursday, January 10th at 7p. Special guest include Kent Archie and Woulf.
More info available here.