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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Who is Jeffrey Atkins?

Who is Jeffrey Atkins? The Rap world knows him by his stage name Ja Rule, is an American rapper, singer, and actor. He began his career in the group Cash Money Click and debuted in 1999 with Venni Vetti Vecci and its single "Holla Holla". From 2000 to 2004, Ja Rule had several hits that made the top 20 of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, including "Between Me and You" with Christina Millian, "I'm Real (Murder Remix)" with Jennifer Lopez, "Always on Time" with Ashanti, "Mesmerize" also with Ashanti, and "Wonderful" with R. Kelly and Ashanti. During the 2000s, Ja Rule was signed to The Inc. Records, which was formerly known as Murder Inc. and was led by Irv Gotti.


 Early life

Atkins was born February 29, 1976 in the Queens borough of New York City. He was raised as a Jehovah's Witness by his mother, health care worker Debra Atkins, and grandparents. At the age of five his sister died from breathing complications, leaving him as an only child. He attended PS 132, a mixed school, but was later transferred to MS 172, another mixed school, due to daily fights in which he would be involved.
Atkins began his rap career in 1994 with his Hip-Hop group Cash Money Click. They had 2 music videos entitled "4 my click " and "Get Tha Fortune" they had only released 1 single before member Chris Black was jailed. Due to this an 11 track untitled Cash Money Click album was shelved. He told Curtis Waller of MTV News that his stage name "Ja Rule" came from a friend who addressed him by that name; other friends called him "Ja". In 1995, he made his first appearance on Mic Geronimo's "Time to Build" which featured Jay-Z and DMX, who were also in their early stages of their careers. In 1998, he was a featured guest on Jay-Z's hit single "Can I Get A..." along with Amil.

Career

 Venni Vetti Vecci (1999)

His debut album Venni Vetti Vecci was released in 1999. Singles included "Holla Holla" and "It's Murda" with Jay-Z and DMX. The final single was "Daddy's Little Baby", a duet with Ronald Isley. Venni Vetti Vecci was certified platinum by the RIAA on July 12, 1999 and has since sold 1.8 million copies in the U.S. and over 3 million copies worldwide as of December 2009.

Rule 3:36 (2000)

Ja Rule returned quickly during the summer of 2000, with his new single "Between Me and You", which featured Def Soul act Christina Milian. "Between Me and You" reached #1 on the Billboard Top 100 and stayed in the Top 10 for 9 weeks during June and August of 2000. The single was quickly followed by Ja's second but very successful effort, Rule 3:36, which was released on October 10, 2000. 3:36 also featured singles "Put It On Me" (#3), "I Cry" (#40) and, "Fuck You"(#14) from the Fast and the Furious Soundtrack. The album featured guest appearances from Lil' Mo, Vita, Christina Milian, label mates Jayo Felony, and Black Child. Rule 3:36 debuted at #1 on the Billboard Charts selling over 270,000 copies in its first week of release. It has sold over 3.4 million copies in the U.S. and 5 million copies worldwide.

 Pain Is Love (2001)

Soon after the release of Rule 3:36, Irv Gotti signed R&B singer Ashanti to the label, which led to Lil Mo ending her collaborations with the label. During the late summer of 2001, Ja Rule released "Livin' It Up", the lead single from his third studio album, Pain Is Love, which proved to be a very successful album. It spawned 2 #1 Billboard Top 100 singles and 3 Top 10 singles and 4 Top 20 singles. "Living It Up" reached #11 on the Billboard Top 100 Chart. The second single was the #1 hit single "I'm Real (Murder Remix)", and the third was the second #1 single "Always On Time", and the last was "Down Ass Bitch", which reached #18 on the Billboard Top 100. Pain Is Love featured guest appearances from Case, The Murder Inc. Family, Missy Elliott, Jodie Mack, Tweet, Jennifer Lopez and a recording from the late Tupac Shakur. Along with its critical success it was also a commercial success selling over 360,000 copies in its first week of release reaching #1 on the Billboard 200. It has reached 3x Platinum Certification in the U.S. and has sold over 6.1 million albums worldwide.

 The Last Temptation (2002)

The Last Temptation, Ja Rule's fourth album, was released on November 19, 2002. It featured the 2 Billboard Top 10 singles "Thug Lovin'" (#8) and "Mesmerize". 240,000 copies were sold in the first week of release and debuted at #4 on the Billboard Top 100 Albums making it Ja Rule's 4th Top 5 album from 1999-2002. Although it did not sell as well as his previous album, The Last Temptation was certified Double Platinum by April 25, 2003. It has since sold 2 million albums in the U.S. and over 4.3 million albums as of December 2009. It was after this album that the '50 Cent & G-Unit' era began, which would negatively affect Ja's future projects and career in general.

 Blood In My Eye (2003)

Blood In My Eye although intended to be a mixtape, was his fifth album and the last released under the "Murder Inc." label, which renamed itself "The Inc." several days after the album release. It spawned the one and only hit "Clap Back" which reached #5 on the Top 100 and won him the Source Awards'"Fat Tape" song of the year. It peaked at #6 on the Billboard 100 and #1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart selling 139,000 copies in its first week of release. It has since sold 800,000 copies in the U.S. and over 1.4 million worldwide. In October 2003, Ja Rule met with Minster Louis Farrakhan, who wanted to intervene and prevent escalating violence in the feud between Ja Rule and 50 Cent.

 R.U.L.E. (2004)

Ja Rule's sixth studio album R.U.L.E. was released in November 2004 debuting at number 7 selling 166,000 copies in its first week of release. Its lead single was "Wonderful" featuring R. Kelly and Ashanti which peaked on the Billboard Top 100 Singles at #5. The single was followed by the street anthem "New York" featuring Fat Joe and Jadakiss which charted at #27. The third single was the love song "Caught Up" featuring Lloyd and Ashanti which charted at #15. The track "The Manual" was also a single in the UK where it peaked at #9. The RIAA certified R.U.L.E. Gold on January 14, 2005 and the album has since sold 658,000 copies in the U.S. and over 2 million worldwide.

 Hiatus, departure from Def Jam (2005-2007)


Ja Rule performing in Fort Hood, Texas, May 13, 2005
On December 6, 2005, The Inc. released Exodus, a greatest hits album whose only new tracks were the song "Me" and intro and outro tracks. Exodus was the last album on Ja Rule's contract with The Inc. After the release of this compilation, Ja Rule took a hiatus from recording music.
In 2005, The Inc. Records came under investigation because of drug trades by Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, who was associated with Irv Gotti. This led to Def Jam Recordings refusing to renew The Inc.'s contract. From 2005 to 2006, Gotti searched for other labels until finally reaching a deal with Universal Records (ironically part of the same company as Def Jam).
In 2009, Ja Rule recorded a new song with Brazilian singer Wanessa, "Fly", sung entirely in English despite the singer's nationality. The song also received a version named "Meu Momento", also featuring Ja Rule, in which Wanessa sings in Portuguese. "Fly" was released as a single in Brazil in April. The song was ranked number #1 on Crowley/Brazil, and it was nominated in the "Hit do Ano" ("Hit Song of the Year") category at the 2009 MTV Video Music Brasil awards show, where Ja Rule and Wanessa performed together for the first time.
Ja Rule also recently ended his long running feud with his former Def Jam labelmate DMX at VH1's 2009 Hip Hop Honors. Ja Rule has announced that he is no longer signed to The Inc. Records, the label he has been with since its beginnings in 1997.

 The Renaissance Project (2010-present)

It had originally been announced that Ja Rule will release a new studio album in the summer of 2010. The album was originally going to be entitled Venni Vetti Vecci 2010, named after his 1999 platinum selling debut album, but the album is now titled The Renaissance Project. Ja Rule had also mentioned that the new studio album might be a three-disc set. However, the album may now instead be a double disc or single disc having 14-15 songs. Ja Rule is currently dealing with pending legal issues and expects to release The Renaissance Project towards the end of 2010.

 Personal life

 Family

In April 2001, Ja Rule married Aisha Atkins; whom he met in high school. They have two sons, Jeffrey Jr. (born 2000) and Jordan (born 2004), and 2 daughter Brittney (born 1995)and Quiana(born 1999).

        Criminal charges

In 2003, he punched a man in Toronto, who later sued Ja Rule, but they settled out of court.  In 2004, police investigated whether a feud involving The Inc. led to fatal shooting outside a nightclub party hosted by Ja Rule. Ja Rule was also arrested that year for driving with a suspended license and possessing marijuana on July 1. In July 2007, Ja Rule was arrested for gun and drug possession charges along with Lil Wayne. New York Supreme Court judge Richard Carruthers rejected Ja Rule's argument that the gun was illegally obtained evidence.
Ja could face four years in prison for his 2007 gun charges.

 Controversial comments regarding homosexuals

When interviewed for an article in the September 2007 issue of Complex magazine, Ja Rule spoke against media depiction of homosexuality:
And if it is, then we need to go step to Paramount, and fuck MGM, and all of these other that's making all of these movies and we need to go step to MTV and Viacom, and lets talk about all these fucking shows that they have on MTV that is promoting homosexuality, that my kids can't watch this shit," he continued. "Dating shows that's showing two guys or two girls in mid-afternoon. Let's talk about shit like that! If that's not fucking up America, I don't know what is.
For the above comment he was publicly impugned by the GLAAD:
No fair-minded person can look at Ja Rule’s interview with Complex Magazine and believe for one second that his children could be more harmed by what they might see on television than by the vulgarity and prejudice that comes out of their father’s mouth. Now that media have seen Ja Rule's intolerance unmasked by his own words, they have a responsibility not to provide in the future a platform for his ugly, vulgar displays of prejudice.
During an interview with online MySpace interview channel The Hook Up on October 24, 2007, Ja Rule claimed that Complex magazine had misquoted him, and that he is "not at all" homophobic. He went on in a January 2008 issue of XXL magazine to state his words were taken out of context. He is quoted as stating:
What I was saying in that article is everyone has that same responsibility. They're absolutely right: Rappers have a responsibility to the kids. But don't just pin it on the hip-hop. If I gotta curb my lyrics or censor what I say, no problem. But if you gonna show sexual images during the daytime for children, that should be censored as well... And I'm not just talking about homosexuality. I'm talking about any sexuality. If it's too sexy for kids, it's too sexy for kids. 

 Philanthrophy

Ja Rule founded the L.I.F.E Foundation, which opens its doors to underprivileged children through various programs such as art, music, poetry and sports.

 Albums

 Compilations

Awards and nominations

Year Award/Nomination
2001 Source Hip-Hop Music Award Won for Single of the Year - "Put It on Me"
MTV Video Music Awards nomination for Best Rap Video - "Put It on Me"
2002 MTV Video Music Awards Won for Best Hip-Hop Video - "I'm Real (Murder Remix)"
MTV Video Music Awards nominated for Best Hip-Hop Video - "Always on Time"
American Music Award nominated for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist
Grammy Awards nominated for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group - "Put It on Me"
Grammy Awards nominated for Best Rap Album - Pain Is Love
Grammy Awards nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration - "Livin' It Up"
World Music Awards Won for World's Best-Selling Rap Artist
BET Awards Won for Best Male Hip-Hop Artist Artist
GQ Men of the Year Award Won for Musician of the Year
Teen Choice Awards Won for Male Artist of the Year
NAACP Image Awards Won for Best Rap/Hip-Hop Artist
Soul Train Music Award nomination for Best Rap/Soul or Rap Album of the Year - Pain Is Love
2003 Source Award Won for R&B/Rap Collboration of the Year - "Thug Lovin'"
American Music Award nomination for Favorite Hip-Hop/R&B Male Artist
Grammy Awards nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration - "Always on Time"
2004 Source Award Won for Phat Tape Song of the Year - "Clap Back"
2009 MTV Video Music Brasil nomination for Hit do Ano (Song of the Year) - "Fly"


 Acting career

During his break from rapping, Ja Rule had an appearance as another street racer in The Fast and the Furious with Vin Diesel. He appeared in the 2004 movie Back in The Day along with Ving Rhames and Pam Grier. He also starred in the movie The Cookout with Queen Latifah. He is currently working on the movie Don't Fade Away.

 Filmography

Year Title Role
2000 Da Hip Hop Witch Himself
Turn It Up David "Gage" Williams
Backstage Himself
2001 Crime Partners Hitman
The Fast and the Furious Edwin
2002 Half Past Dead Nicolas 'Nick' Frazier
2003 Scary Movie 3 Agent Thompson
Pauly Shore Is Dead Himself
2004 The Cookout Bling Bling
Shall We Dance? Hip Hop Bar Performer
2005 Back in the Day Reggie Cooper
Assault on Precinct 13 Smiley
2009 Don't Fade Away Foster
Co2
2010 Wrong Side of Town Razor

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