Ja Rule was able to escape the harsh streets of Hollis and Queens thanks to his unique raspy rhymes. But as he also points out to me on this week’s “Renaissance Man,”It also brought out the best in women.
Brittany, his first daughter, was born in 1995. Ja was a musician at the time and a bad choice maker.
“After I had my daughter, you know, everything kind of hit me all at once,”He said. “I caught a gun case and drug case at that time … and it was like a wake-up call. It was like, you know, ‘What are you really going to do? What are you making of your life at this moment?’”
He gave himself 100% to music, and the rest was history — particularly his work with female singers. His two biggest hits came together with J.Lo. “I’m Real”And “Ain’t It Funny.”
Ashanti “We got so many dope records together. It’s not just a one-off with me, and we got, like five hits together. … that’s special.”
Then there’s Mary J. Blige.
“‘Rainy Dayz,’ one of my most favorite records that I ever wrote,”Ja Rule. “And I love Mary. Mary is one of my favorite soulful singers of my era. You know what I’m saying?”
Ja attributes the trio of stars’ success to Ja “the yin-yang”These are the lyrics.
“My voice is gravelly … so when you put it with the melodic voices of the ladies, it has a good blend,”He said.
Ja also credits Hollis and Run-DMC for encouraging him to pursue music. “Those guys were so influential on my career, my life, everything, you know,”He said. “It was a beautiful thing, a blessing for me as a young child, a young kid to not only, you know, see that part of success, you know, street success, but also have these go young brothers, young black brothers doing something very positive, but also had the swag and the coolness, you know, to make me want to go that route as well.”
Ja is now at the forefront of his profession and giving back. He’s promoted a series of NFTs by black artists and is donating the proceeds to five historically black colleges and universities.
“To me, that’s one of the most important things. You know, if we have success as young black men, we’ve got to pay it forward, you know, to those young black men and women coming after us,”He replied. “And so for me to be able to do that . . . It was pure dope. Our success is dependent on education.
“We can have the money, but if uneducated, the money will go fast,”He said. “And I want our black children to be proud to go to these HBCU. So I’m you know, I know the donations were tremendous for me. This is the spark. This is the start of.”
Detroit native Jalen Rose is a member of the University of Michigan’s iconoclastic Fab Five, who shook up the college hoops world in the early ’90s. After playing 13 seasons in NBA basketball, he became a media personality. Rose currently works as an analyst. “NBA Countdown”And “Get Up,”as co-host “Jalen & Jacoby.” He executive produced “The Fab Five” for ESPN’s “30 for 30”The author of many best-selling books is series. “Got To Give the People What They Want,”He is a well-known fashionista and founded the Jalen Rosa Leadership Academy in his hometown.
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