Rapper DMX may have reopened the beef box he first cracked over two years ago when he said he'll record a new anti-Ja Rule song called "Ruled Out," but right now Ja's just not hungry for beef.
Not only does he have no plans to retaliate, he insists the battle was always a one-way skirmish.
"I never had a confrontation with DMX," he said backstage during rehearsals for the VMAs (see "DMX Barks At Ja Rule For Biting, Plans Dis Track"). "He's always had a [problem] with me. Since the beginning of my career, I ignored it. I felt my way of answering him was to be very successful and that would hurt him the most. So I blasted off and now he's back again and he's mad again 'cause of my success."
When DMX's nostrils first flared against his former pal Ja Rule and he recorded the 2000 song "Do You," he was mad because he felt Ja copped his rapping style, a claim many agreed with. But now, Ja insists X has no basis for a feud.
"These days I'm celebrated for having my own style," he said. "And there are a lot of people out there following what I do now, but you don't hear me saying, 'This person's biting my style,' because it's not about that. We all take from each other. B.B. King said it the best, we all take from each other and make it better and that's how music is made."
Not only is Ja Rule uninterested in rivalries with other rappers, he's actually striving for unity within the rap community. He and Irv Gotti recently invited Nas into the Murder Inc. fold, and a remix of "The Pledge" will appear on both Ja's and Nas' upcoming albums (see "Irv Gotti Moves Up Ja Rule Date To Sync With Nas' LP"). In addition, an upcoming video for the song might feature Death Row Records kingpin and controversial figure Suge Knight.
"He's a person that I met a long time ago and he's been a friend throughout," Ja said. "He's never shown me any type of shade. All of these people are talking about, 'He's this, he's that.' Never. And as a matter of fact, he's showed me more love than many of my so-called friends."
Ja knows such affiliations can be dangerous, but he doesn't care.
"For people to get mad at me for being his friend, it really irritates me because I feel I'm a grown man and I can be friends with anybody I want to, and just because I'm friends with this person doesn't mean I'm not friends with you," he said. "It's not like I'm siding with anybody. It's a friendship. It's somebody that I met and who has never done any wrong to me."
For a full-length feature on Murder Inc., check out "Murder Inc.: In Gotti We Trust."