Ja Rule is so much more than a rapper. He is an all-around hip-hop artist. A talented songwriter, potential movie superstar, and musical sensation, Ja Rule has quickly become hip-hop's top contender. His third album Pain Is Love revisits the formula that transformed Ja from a skilled lyricist into a songwriting genius.
"Sometimes when you get into your music, you wanna harmonize, because it goes better with the track. I do with the song calls for. My voice is another instrument over the track," Ja Rule offers. On "Livin' It Up," Ja Rule dedicates three verses to having a good time. With Case crooning on the chorus a la Stevie Wonder's "Do I Do," Ja rides up and down the Irv Gotti-produced track in true Murder Inc. fashion. "Livin' it up is a good night out on the town, having some fun, that's what it's about."
Keeping in line with the album's feel, "Always On Time" (feat. Ashanti) is a mid-tempo gem where Ja impresses the ladies. Ja Rule explains, "The music is just coming from my heart. This album is a lot more passionate. I dealt with life issues, straight up. It's much more personal." The song flows perfectly into the track that follows, "Down A** B**ch," a classic rap love song, featuring Charli Baltimore, that defends the idea that every thug needs a lady.
Mastering the collaboration, Ja duets alongside Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott for "X," only one of the album's highlights. Ja was "ecstatic" about recording the song, "Missy is a lot of fun to work with. She's a really sweet person." Pain Is Love also features the smash hit single with J-Lo "I'm Real (Murder Remix)."
Though Ja's signature rap-meets-rhythm sound is constant throughout, he hasn't abandoned the hardcore rhyme style that paved the way for his success. He sets off the musical murder with "Dial M for Murder," a track that shows Ja in his rawest form.
Lyrically, Ja Rule's hardcore realism breathes life into each track. His emotions run rampant, and his passion is evident. "I got it tattooed over my heart. Pain Is Love is about sacrifice. It's about all the pains and heartaches you'll go through," Ja says of his album title.
With pain as the overall theme, it's fitting that the album features 2Pac on "So Much Pain." Ja Rule remembers, "The song is a dedication to both Pac and Stretch. A lot of people make the comparison between Pac and I because they feel the passion of my music like they felt the passion in his."
Setting himself apart from other hip-hop artists, Ja's originality in the game has elevated rap music to new heights. "I stepped into my own lane, and I'm setting standards in how things are done. I think artists that are going to have to fall into it, that's just the way it goes."
With a promising film career ahead of him, Ja Rule realizes his contribution to hip-hop. As the father of two young children, a son and a daughter, Ja Rule is wasting no time. Though he has plans to do more than just rap, he will never fully abandon the creative process of making music.
"I think I'm gonna retire after two more albums. I think I'm gonna be the first rapper to really retire. I don't want to stop making music because I love to make music. But I want to retire from the actual job of being an artist. I want to be able to star in movies and do soundtracks just because I love to do it!"
--- from the official Ja Rule website