After first being accused of trying to imitate Tupac and DMX, Ja Rule was finally able to shake the comparisons with his breakout LP, Rule 3:36, a couple of years ago. Now, with his third LP, Pain Is Love, and guest spots alongside Jennifer Lopez solidifying his reputation for making universally embraceable hits, Ja wants to plant a foot back in the gutter with his next album, The Last Temptation.
"If Pain Is Love is [comparable to Tupac's] All Eyez on Me, The Last Temptation is gonna be on the Makaveli level," said 7 Aurelius, who co-produced most of Ja Rule's current album with Irv Gotti. "We're gonna go street with this one. We're still gonna have the radio bangers because he's a signature artist and they expect that of him, but this one is gonna be for the players and hustlers."
In August, Ja expressed concern that with his crossover appeal growing, his street credibility might suffer.
"Sometimes I'll be thinking about it and I'll be like, 'Man, I don't want muthaf---ers to think that I can't spit,' " he said. "I don't want them to forget who I am. That's what I used to do; I used to battle. A lot of MCs that are out right now, we used to give it to them. [We would] come to their video shoots [and] just go at it hard."
Once 7 Aurelius and Gotti finish work on Eve's upcoming LP, they plan to take Ja to a secluded hideout and go full-throttle on the new record, which is expected out in November. They already have a couple of potential hits, 7 Aurelius said.
"With Rule, how it works, he lets me and Gotti hear his vibe, a hook or a melody he has in his head. He's our third ear," he said. "He has joints called 'Been Here Before' and 'Rock Star' that are crazy. He has his own lane."