Imagine one of the biggest hip-hop outings in history taking shape this summer. It would be dubbed the Triple Threat Tour and feature multiplatinum acts Ja Rule, Jay-Z and P. Diddy.
To top it off, each would bring with him his musical family. Representing with Ja Rule would be Ashanti and the rest of Murder Inc. Jay would "Roc the Mic" with his boys Beanie Sigel, Cam'ron and Memphis Bleek. And Diddy and his Bad Boy crew would do their thing. Keep imagining; although it was almost a reality, the tour has been called off.
Last week, while promoting her debut LP in New York, Ashanti let the cat out of the bag that the three factions were set to roll out starting June 12. Moments later, Ja had a bubble-bursting refutation.
"I hate to put the cat back in the bag, but that ain't going down no more as of about 15 to 20 minutes ago," a perturbed Rule said less than half an hour later. "We'll be making a new tour. Scheduling and routing a new cast for you guys shortly.
"It's f---ed up," he continued, venting his disappointment. "People ... they don't want to go on no tour. I'm not going to say no names."
Tuesday night at the Urban Aid 2 benefit concert where all three families performed, giving a preview of what could have been (see "Ja Rule, Jay-Z, Ashanti, Diddy, More Roc The Mic At Urban Aid 2"), Rule's Murder Inc. CEO, Irv Gotti, spilled the beans about exactly who caused the tour's collapse.
"Jay pulled out," Gotti said. "It's as simple as that. We was going to do the tour, we signed off, and Jay decided he wanted to fall back and make an album, which is cool. Jay is like my brother, so I'm not mad at him or anything like that, but the tour was going to happen and everything was set. But I respect his decision and I ride with him."
On Tuesday, Ja reiterated that the tour was dead, but he was also optimistic about going on tour this summer despite the setback. "Me and Mary [J. Blige], we sparked some new options," he said. "But if not, I'm fully ready to go out on a Murder Inc. tour and do my own thing."
The Queens MC was confident that he and his crew could pack them on their own, especially since he had just found out that labelmate Ashanti had the #1 album in the country (see "Ashanti Beats Tweet To Debut At #1 On Albums Chart").
"This is why I'm fully ready to go out on my own thing," he added, noting Ashanti's mammoth first-week album sales. "503,000 y'all, holla!"
Jay-Z was unavailable for comment. P. Diddy declined to give a statement on the matter.