You can officially take Ja Rule off DMX's list of "mans and them" the dog says he's going to be sinking his teeth into his onetime buddy and rhyme running mate.
"I got some sh--, man," X said Friday from a Chicago studio about what he plans to put on his upcoming album. "They trying to stop me from doing this song called 'Ruled Out.' Everybody in here don't want me to do it they whining but I'm gonna do it."
X and Ja's kinship goes back way before they morphed into superstars, or even before they both became a part of the Island/Def Jam family tree. Murder Inc. CEO Irv Gotti, who produced many of their early underground recordings while they were struggling artists, ties them both together.
"You know what happened," X barked of what has caused the friction between the two, taking for granted that it's common knowledge. Seems like X has the same criticism that some hip-hop fans had of Rule early in his career: Ja sounds too much like the Yonkers flamethrower.
In DMX's "Do You," which was a single off of Funkmaster Flex's 2000 release, Vol. 4 - 60 Minutes of Funk, he blasted those trying to imitate him, rhyming, "You don't even know what you got inside/ How the f--- you gon' find out, you keep wanting to ride ... Can't do you, then what you flow for?/ You ain't gon' get there tryin' to be me, dog."
Although he never mentioned Ja's name, many felt it was an indirect dis. X didn't say if "Do You" was meant for Rule, but he did admit to dropping subliminal lines at Ja even earlier than that with "We Don't Give a F---" ("Well you might as well forget me, 'cause from this point on it's war/ It won't stop until one of us is gone ... Somebody should have told me, I was f---in' with a clown").
"It's not like I'm the only [one] that thinks about this," X lamented. "N---as ask me about this sh-- every day. So what I'm gonna do, sit here and do nothing about this sh--? That ain't right. I could see if the n---a talked like that regularly. How I talk is how I rap.
"I been thinking about it for a minute," he continued to bark. "I bit him lightly, on the second album [Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood]. 'Use to be my dog, you were in my left t--ty.' The funny sh-- is that Gotti did the beat. But I see he didn't get the point. I'm like, 'Come on dog, what are you doing?' "
As for Ja's take, in 1999, before dropping his superstar-turning Rule 3:36, he told MTV News it "was a challenge to make everybody believe Ja Rule's not f---ing trying to be like DMX ... I'm my own man."
Rhyme styles aside, X said he still considered Ja a friend until Rule recently started letting the fame get to him.
"A little?" X, words drenched in sarcasm, responded when asked if he felt Rule was getting a little too Hollywood. "One thing I can't really f--- with is how a n---a change up. If I could stay the same, why can't you? Even if you do change up, don't change up to your n---as before all this. We was broke together, man."
X cited a recent incident on the West Coast to back his claims.
"We in the club in L.A. one night, he got his people, I got my people," he said. "We at two different sides of the club. Me, out of respect that's my n---a I take two people with me to get through the crowd. I take a bottle of liquor over there, have a couple of drinks with my n---a, 'cause that's how I am.
"Two weeks later we happened to be in the same club," X continued. "Same circumstances. Some kid walks over to me and says, 'Ja says he's over there.' I'm like, 'Alright, is he gonna come over?' 'Nah, he said come over there.' Get the f--- out of here, man. I already extended my hand once. Give me the same courtesy. You can't do the same as me? I sent him right back over there. You think [Ja] would come over there after all of that. Nothin'! I'm like, 'F--- you!' "
X promised nothing short of his relentless brand of gutter-embedded rhymes and sounds throughout the rest of his album, which he's just started in the Windy City.
"It's all over the place," he revealed.
Despite doing his thing for years, including being the only artist in the SoundScan era (which dates back to May 1991) to have his first four LPs debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, X feels he has a lot to prove on his still-untitled new project.
"Yeah," he explained, " 'Cause I don't feel my last album was promoted as good as it could have been. Every day, if I have the channel on a video station, I'm seein' nothing but bullsh--. I'm like, 'These n---as is getting away with this.' N---as know, when they listen to my [music], it's like, 'Listen to what he's saying.' To have all that sh-- knocked down with [rappers] talking blah, blah, blah and 'I think my butt getting big,' all this that don't make no sense. What are you giving my peoples? You're killing us, dog!"
DMX's new album is due out in December.
For a full-length feature on Murder Inc. and Irv Gotti, check out "Murder Inc.: In Gotti We Trust."