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Ja Rule reflects on "rollercoaster" 25 years in music: "I wouldn't do it any other way"

A photo of Ja Rule.
Ja Rule. (Shutterstock/Featureflash Photo Agency)

When it comes to the rap game, Ja Rule has seen it all and done it all.


Over the last 25 years, he's released no less than seven studio albums, sold over 30 million records, and embarked on countless world tours.


He's worked with everyone from Jay-Z to DMX to Nas and has scored three No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.


These days, not only is he working on a new album, he's also a successful businessman, owning both a popular streaming service and premium wine label.


But it's not all been smooth sailing for the New York native.


Ja's had numerous run-ins with the law, spending time behind bars on charges of attempted possession of a weapon and tax evasion. He's endured a high profile, two-decade-long feud with 50 Cent, which he's previously admitted has damaged his career.


His most recent studio album, 2012's "Pain is Love II," sold only 3,200 copies in its first week.


For Ja, however, the ups and downs are all part and parcel of the journey.


"It's been the best rollercoaster ride I've ever been on," Ja said while reflecting on his quarter-century in the music industry in an interview with Rising Rap.


"I wouldn't do it any other way," he added. "You know, I am who I am, man. I'm proud of who I am. I love who I am. My wife would tell you, I love me some me."


"Nobody loves me more than me," he said.


A photo of Ja Rule.
Ja Rule has seen and done it all. (Shutterstock/Lev Radin)

Ja's confidence is the sort you don't come across often.


It's the sort that has allowed him to see his setbacks as just that, setbacks, not the end of the road. It's sort that has given him the energy to get up and go again, no matter how many times he's been knocked down. It's the sort that means, at 47 years of age, he's still able to sell out stadiums across the globe.


"To be successful in this business, you have to have that kind of confidence," Ja said. "You have to have tough skin and supreme fucking confidence and belief in you."


"Sadly, a lot of people don't have that," he continued. "A lot of people doubt themselves, a lot of people are insecure. They just are not equipped to cope with the everyday trauma of success, it's just not for everybody."


Whether such confidence can be taught or is innate remains up for debate. More than likely, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Part nature, part nurture.


In Ja's case, he doesn't remember a time when he didn't have it.


"I've always been this way," he asserted. "Ever since I was young, my mom would always tell me that I was special. And I fucking believed her."



Ja got his break in the music industry in 1995, signing for Def Jam when he was just 19.


He released his debut album "Venni Vetti Vecci" four years later through Irv Gotti's Def Jam imprint, Murder Inc. Records, to commercial and critical acclaim.


To celebrate that album's 25th anniversary, Ja is currently gearing up to embark on his biggest ever world tour.


He's also in the early stages of putting together his eighth studio album and first in 12 years, "Can We Watch the Sunrise Together."


Asked if, looking back at "Venni Vetti Vecci," he believed he'd still be making music today, Ja said he wasn't thinking that far ahead.


"I really just wanted to be able to make a second album. You know, you make a fucking wack first album, you ain't getting that second out," he said. "So that's as far as I was thinking."


He added: "Needless to say, the album did well, but then they didn't like my second! But that's what being an artist is about, taking chances on your artistry, believing in yourself when nobody else does."

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