MTV: Why did you title your latest album Rule 3:36?
Ja Rule: That's one of my rules. Rule 3:36 stands for, "He who believes in Ja shall have everlasting love. He who does not shall not see life, but the wrath of my vengeance." It's my message to the world. [laughs]
MTV: Venni Vetti Vecci comes from the Latin term for "He came, he saw, he conquered." Are you still the conqueror?
Ja Rule: That album was more personal. It dealt with a lot of pain, and that's why I called it Venni Vetti Vecci. He came, he saw, he conquered. That's what I was going through. I came in the rap game in '94. I didn't do what I expected. I was in a group, Cash Money Click. You get in and think, "Wow, I'm gonna be this big star." And it didn't happen the way we planned. That was my "he came" process. The "he saw" process was me sitting back for three years with no deal, just watching sh-- go down. I watched Big [Notorious B.I.G.] come in the game around the same time I did. He skyrocketed, became one of the biggest rappers ever, and then died all in that period of time. People took the "he conquered" part as conquering the rap game. That's a goal of mine, so you can take it as that, but really what I meant was a conquering of myself. I learned a lot from having a bum deal to getting my deal with Def Jam. I had my daughter. It was a growth period. So that was the theme of the first album.
On the new album, the theme is different. I've grown up. I'm not nervous anymore. I made my first album. It was successful. I sold 1.5 million records with it. This new album was a challenge to make everybody believe Ja Rule's not f---ing trying to be like DMX, Ja Rule's not Jay-Z's protégé. I'm my own man and I got my own clique of n---as that are coming up with me. Love me or hate me, it doesn't matter, 'cause I'm coming.
MTV: Ja Rule has religious overtones, with Jah being the Rastafarian name for God. What's the significance of your rap name?
Ja Rule: It's so simple. My rap name is my initials from my actual name, Jeff Atkins. The Rule got slapped on by a friend of mine. Everyone used to call me Ja, and my man just threw on Rule. He used to be like, "Ja Rule, what's up?" I just ran with it.
MTV: Rule 3:36 sounds as if it could be a Bible passage.
Ja Rule: I've got a whole gang of rules to live by that I made up. There's 13 of them, but I only released 12 because the 13th rule was personal. But I'm gonna release all of my rules. I'm gonna do it on my Web site.
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