On Wednesday (June 8), [artist id="508987"]Ja Rule[/artist] turned himself in to begin serving a two-year sentence on a gun charge stemming from his 2007 arrest in New York City. Although some rappers have endured a sentence as a mere bump in their careers (Lil Wayne, for instance), Ja Rule's bid arrives almost seven years since his last official album, R.U.L.E., and just as his Pain Is Love 2 has been delayed.
Ja had initially planned to deliver PIL2 the day before starting his jail term, but according to his longtime collaborator 7 Aurelius, Rule postponed the release after deciding it hadn't been completed to his satisfaction.
"Me and Rule have to capture all the magic around us until he goes in, otherwise we are doing an injustice to his fans," 7 told MurderInc-Online.com. "For example, if we had stopped in April just to be able to turn it in to [Fontana/Universal] for a June 7 date, PIL2 would not be what it is now. They have acknowledged that because it's Ja Rule, they will give it a fast track release date once it is turned in and that would be digital and hard copy."
PIL2 is the sequel to Ja Rule's triple-platinum third album, Pain Is Love. The Grammy-nominated LP was crucial in transforming Ja Rule from hip-hop star to mainstream sensation, thanks to hit singles like 'Livin' It Up" and "Always On Time," featuring Ashanti. But Pain Is Love was released almost 10 years ago. Since then, Rule's turmoil, whether legal issues or a long-running feud with nemesis 50 Cent, has overshadowed his music. And because of that, it can be easy to forget that at one point, Ja was easily rap's #1 hit-maker. Here, we look back on the 'Clap Back" MCs journey since that fateful night when he got caught with a gun in his ride.
July 22, 2007: Ja Rule is arrested on a Sunday evening in N.Y.C. — coincidentally, so is Lil Wayne in a separate incident after the same show at the Beacon Theatre. Ja had joined Wayne onstage that night as a special guest but after being pulled over for speeding, police discovered a .40 caliber pistol in Rule's Maybach. The rapper was arraigned and released the next day on $150,000 bond.
September 23, 2009: Ja Rule and DMX see each other at VH1's "Hip Hop Honors" and embrace, squashing their beef. Years before, X had accused Ja of imitating his style in song and the latter responded in kind. No hard feelings.
September 2010: Ja Rule reveals in an XXL magazine/ MTV "Sucker Free" video interview that he has changed the name of his new album from Venni Vetti Vecci 2010 to The Renaissance Project. Ja plans to release the album before the start of his prison sentence.
December 13, 2010: Ja Rule reaches a plea deal with prosecutors in N.Y.C. that will have him serve two years for criminal possession of a weapon. The guilty plea stems from the July 2007 incident. Ja Rule is expected to be sentenced in February 2011.
January 3, 2011: Ja announces via Twitter that The Renaissance Project will be released before he checks into prison.
February 9, 2011: Due to an error in his presenting report, Ja Rule's sentencing gets pushed back, this time until March 9, when he will learn when he must surrender to authorities and begin serving his two-year sentence. That morning, Ja tweets that besides working on Renaissance, he is also working on Pain Is Love 2 with producer 7 Aurelius.
March 9, 2011: Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers extends Ja Rule's furlough until June 8, when he is scheduled to report to prison. The extra time is given so the rapper can settle a federal tax issue and also allows him to finish a new album.
March 22, 2011: Ja Rule pleads guilty to tax evasion for failing to pay taxes on more than $3 million in income in New Jersey. As part of a plea deal, Ja must pay more than $1 million in back taxes and fines, and the government dismissed two charges against him for failure to pay taxes on income in 2007 and 2008. His sentencing for the tax evasion is scheduled for June 13.
April 23, 2011: During the New York City stop of Diddy-Dirty Money's Coming Home Tour, opening act Lloyd brings out Ja Rule and Ashanti as surprise special guests. The former Murder Inc. running mates perform Ja's hit "Always On Time," before the MC debuts a new song called "Real Life Fantasy."
April 27, 2011: Ja Rule stops by "RapFix Live" and in a revealing interview with Sway, he gives insight into the trials and tribulations of his career and how he plans to make the best of his pending incarceration.
June 8, 2011: Ja Rule begins serving his sentence for attempted criminal possession of a weapon at an upstate New York correctional facility.
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