Ja Rule Talks Murderers, Next LP, Film Project

Ja Rule returned to the charts this week as one-sixth of the new rap outfit The Murderers, whose debut album, "Irv Gotti Presents...," managed to overcome the controversy surrounding its name and some of its lyrics and land in the top 15 of the "Billboard" album chart.

Much has been made about the group's violently suggestive name, which some cable music channels have ruled as too negative to be included in the group's video credits. The Murderers were asked to change some of the original lyrics to "Irv Gotti Presents" by its label, Island/Def Jam, as well.

The uproar is nothing new for Ja Rule, who had to defend his song "It's Murder" from similar criticism last year (see "Ja Rule Defends 'Murder,' Ponders Album With DMX, Jay-Z").

MTV News recently caught up with Ja Rule and Irv Gotti, the producer behind The Murderers' album, at the Def Jam offices in New York City and asked them about the rap group's name. Both

Gotti and Rule insisted that it was simply a metaphor.

"Jamaicans, when they [say] it in their music," Gotti explained, "they're like 'Ya murder! Ya murder!'"

"'Ya murdered the sound,'" Rule added.

"And they're not saying you killed him," Gotti said, "but that you murdered the track. It [sounds] very similar, like 'Yo, we're murdering the cash' means you're getting a lot of cash."

"Our 'murder' is like a slang [word]," Rule said. "It kind of [means] you've achieved [success]."

With more than 80,000 copies sold in its first week, The Murderers have definitely achieved a certain level of success which they hope will expand even further with the record's new single, "Vita, Vita."

As for Ja Rule, he's already focusing in on his next solo album, as well as a new film project he'll start work on in mid-April with John Leguizamo.

"My album, tentatively titled 'Rule 336,' will be out in July," Rule said, "so I'm working on that [now], knocking that out."

"It's crazy!" Gotti interjected. "Y'all ain't ready."

"We'll be there in July, and yeah, it's called 'Rule 336,' Rule continued. "I'm about to go shoot a movie, too. We start shooting that on April 17, starring me and John Leguizamo. It's

called 'Stoop.'

"I'm doing my things here and there, making it happen, staying true to what I do and what I believe." [RealVideo]

According to a spokesperson at Def Jam, "Rule 336," Ja Rule's follow-up to last year's "Venni Vetti Vecci," will be released on July 25.