Review Summary: Ja Rule proves he really is that much worse than 50 Cent.
Let’s be honest; to take Ja Rule seriously you’d have to be Ja Rule. Out of all the gangsta and faux-gangsta rappers over the years, he probably has to be the most pussyfooted embodiment of the hardcore rap lifestyle there is. Suitably, around the arrival of 50 Cent, Ja Rule was seen as rather foolish and began to be taken as a caricature of the style of rap him and 50 Cent seem to be a part of. It doesn’t help that when you hear the name Ja Rule, the first two words that have to pop into your head are “It’s Murda!" As 50 Cent was beginning to dominate the hip-hop world, Ja Rule decided he would launch his counter attack (as he himself had been on the rise for quite a while) with Blood in My Eye.
Let’s continue this train of being honest: I have a strong, strong distaste for Ja Rule. Due to the antics of my younger sister, the two records that were in constant rotation for the ride to middle school were Ja Rule’s Love is Pain and Ashanti’s eponymous debut. It was truly hell on Earth. Thus, I have an obvious bias when reviewing this album. However, all that is outweighed by the fact that this album is terrible.
The most apparent facet of Ja Rule is the fact he sounds like a RMX rip-off, AKA he sounds like DMX for the past 5 years. He raps violently, ripping at the mic with commendable passion. The thing is, as mentioned, he sounds exactly like DMX for most of his raps, until he suddenly drops into contemporary R&B choruses, in which case it becomes apparent just how distastefully raspy and obscene his voice is. This wouldn’t be such a problem if he didn’t have to go into fake falsettos in nearly every song, and when that falsetto makes your head explode, it’s really quite the chore to clean up afterwards.
"Oh my gangstaness." That’s actually a lyric from the track The I.N.C Is Back. Ja Rule and his cohorts (as there are innumerable amounts on the album) are completely mediocre lyricists, for the fact that while their lyrics may sound fine when their being shouted out and have a rather strange melody often, the actual content is incredibly weak. They cover about four whole topics on this album in total. 50% of the album is pot shots at 50 Cent and Eminem, all done with generic “You aren’t a gangsta I am” lyrics, leading to it be less of a diss and more of a rant. Then, Ja Rule will try and talk about black power for about 30 seconds total between 5 songs, but when he continues to advocate how he is "Gonna wipe a mo-***a out", the irony slays me. He also attempts to talk about relationships, but again, when that’s stuck between a 50 Cent diss calling him a faggot and a declaration he is the most hardcore nigga of all time, the effect is more than lost. He’ll also throw out references to two rappers total throughout the album, Tupac and Biggie. Nearly every song somehow references Tupac in some manner, and often in reference to how he would think 50 Cent is a pussy-bitch. Ja Rule is a genius.
If there’s one solid aspect of the album, it’s the production. It’s rather stereotypical; there’s big bass present throughout, and cymbals and claps abound, but if there’s one thing it does, is it makes nearly every song catchy and easy to listen to. While Ja Rule may be rapping about how 50 Cent sucks dick, there’ll be a nifty and danceable beat giving a backdrop that you can just dance with your chick too and ignore all the silliness of the raps. However, even that starts to grate, as nearly every song begins to sound the same after a couple of plays, giving the album almost no replay ability. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that this album just can never win.
So, what have we learned in this short amount of time? Well, Ja Rule sounds exactly like DMX, is a horrible lyricist with something of an ear for melody, has far too many guest spots for his own good (there’s no song that doesn’t have at least one other rapper from MURDER I.N.C chiming in), talks about 50 Cent and Tupac far too often, and is supported by solid if entirely too repetitive beats. So, the album isn’t completely without merits; it’s good party music, as if you aren’t paying attention to it, it actually sounds quite fluid and hey, who doesn’t want to dance to “IT’S MURDA!" However, if you’re going to actually be listening to the album, there are far more suitable gangsta rap albums for you to take your aggression out with. Like Spice World.