In a new interview with Talib Kweli, Ja Rule opens up about the difficulties of engaging in rap beef while being investigated by the feds.
Ja Rule and 50 Cent have been embroiled in a heated feud for decades, one rife with violence, anger, and disrespect; you can read our Complete History of the early years of their beef right here. And while the dust has settled for the most part, it's clear that neither one hold the other in particularly high regard to this day. Unsurprising, considering how deep-rooted the animosity really is. And yet for many, it remains one of hip-hop's most fascinating conflicts, with fans who experienced it unfolding still interested in the nuances and behind-the-scenes actions engaged by both 50 and Ja amidst the battle.
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Now, Ja Rule has appeared on Talib Kweli's The People's Party podcast, where he proceeded to open up about his side of the story. When Talib inquired as to whether or not the Jadakiss and Fat Joe-assisted "New York" helped shift the focus from the beef back to Ja's music, the Murder Inc rapper seemed uncertain. "I don't know, because the record was kind of a beef record," answers Ja. "The verse was aimed at 50. I think that was a weird moment in time for me. I understand it now. The hot new guy comes out. I been fuckin' killing it for three albums now. On every station, everything. People get tired of artists sometimes."
"When he came out and attacked my style and character, people ran with it," continues Ja. "He was with a juggernaut with Interscope, Em and Dre. There was a lot of behind-the-scenes shit people don't know about. A lot of exec fighting between Lyor and Jimmy Iovine. Fighting for Doug Morris' position. There was a lot going on. It made for a difficult time for me. On top of it all, people love to leave this part out of the story, but we was being investigated by the feds. It's the biggest part of the story!"
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"They fuck your world up," reveals Ja. "They shut down everything for Murder Inc. People like to credit homeboy. N***a please, stop it. We've seen a hundred billion rap beefs. No one man shuts down--stop it. What really hurt us was the feds. When the feds come, they take all your resources. They take your money. They take the people who give you money sever their ties. Def Jam severed all ties with us. We didn't have anything anymore, and then this n***a's on full attack."
"I don't care what anybody says," he continues. " was playing both sides of the fence. You playing victim to the feds and the police, telling us 'those guys that are with Supreme Mcgriff did this to me, got me shot.' And then, over here you playing the bully role. The tough guy role. For me, it was a very difficult moment. A hard thing for me to go through when everything was crumbling." He laments that he wasn't able to make the records he wanted to make, presumably those of a more violent thematic nature, given that the feds were watching him and his entire team. "By the time I was able to make those records," Ja laughs. "He had already won."
Check out Ja's reflection on the dark chapter of his career below, courtesy of Talib Kweli's People's Party.