Ving Rhames has been both a negative and a positive influence on Ja Rule.
Onscreen, America's most buffed zombie slayer is nothing but bad news for the Inc.'s fiery MC. Rhames stars in the upcoming film "Back in the Day" as J-Bone, the underworld best friend to Ja's lead character, Reggie Cooper. Pam Grier is also featured as Ja's mother, and Tatyana Ali plays his girlfriend.
In the film, Cooper struggles between following the path of righteousness or his friend's felonious ways. But in terms of acting, there was no question: Rule was following Rhames' lead.
"We really have a good natural chemistry," Rhames recently said of Rule. "Ja was really open to learn, and I think that's a big part of acting. I know I still learn. Ja really allowed me to take him under my wing, and he really grew as an actor. I think you're going to say, 'He has some chops.' "
Rule is going to have to do some karate-chopping, kicking and possibly some shooting in his next film, a remake of John Carpenter's "Assault on Precinct 13." The film, which stars Laurence Fishburne as a jailed gang leader, revolves around a New Year's Eve breakout during which Fishburne's pack of hoods tries to spring him from the can by any means necessary.
Rule portrays an inmate who gets caught up in the middle of the conflict between the cops and criminals. Ja will also appear as himself in a flick called "Shall We Dance?," which stars Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere and is due in August.
"Back in the Day" is in post-production, and "Assault on Precinct 13" is just under way; there are no release dates yet for either film. Ja doesn't have a firm due date for his next LP, either, but reps say to look for his sixth album, tentatively titled R.U.L.E., this summer. The official first single from the album should be hitting this month, but Ja does have a street record out now.
It's also called "R.U.L.E." and finds the Queens native saying that none of his peers can come correct like him. "Nobody does it like me/ They cool, but they ain't the R.U.L.E./ They do, but don't do it like me/ Nobody, nobody."
The album will also feature a guest appearance from Mary J. Blige.