Ja Rule:
'Always On Time' For Success

Photo via Ryan Jay for SWAGGER

It might have been bold to ask Ja Rule whether he thought his biggest success was behind him. The rapper, who has a new reality show on MTV, hasn't really topped the charts since 2004's R.U.L.E.

But at MTV's Times Square offices this week, Ja Rule, born Jeff Atkins, didn't flinch. "I don't think of success that way -- it's not about just the music," said Rule. "If it's not music, it'll be television. If it's not TV, then film, or tech. I know what I have going; I'm not worried."

And from the sound of it, he's working on a lot. There's the Murda Inc series that he and Irv Gotti are pitching around to various studios, a line of shoes with Steve Madden, a new app, an upcoming tour he's baited with Ashanti, and of course MTV's Follow The Rules.

The show has brought Ja Rule back into some 400,000 homes, introducing him to an entirely new audience while re-intro'ing him to fans of 2001's "Always On Time." "Fans get to see a different side of me," he said. "There was Ja Rule, the persona, and Jeff Atkins, the family man. And [with Follow The Rules], there won't be that separation."

Photo via Ryan Jay for SWAGGER

The show centers around the rapper, his wife, Aisha, and their three kids at their New Jersey home. A recent episode sees Rule interrogating his daughter's boyfriend over some snake wine, and another clip sees dad talking about his son "manscaping". The content feels more right for Rule's kids than Rule himself, which is to say it's very MTV.

Over 30 minutes, in the same building where Rule once owned the TRL stage, the rapper is adamant that he's very invested in the success of this MTV venture, if not for him, than for his kids. "My son [Jeff Atkins Jr] wants to be a rapper [like me], but he's not ready yet," he laughed. "He looks the part but he's got work to do, and as a dad, I'm like 'go ahead and take your shot.'" Though fans have yet to see the young one spit bars, a show like this one could set him up for his big break. "I wanted this for my kids, for the family in general." "Everyone has aspirations, and this will be a good platform for them, not to mention a big head start."

But in the fickle world of fast fame, is he worried that all they'll get is 15 minutes? "We'll need to extend that to 15 years," the rapper is quick to respond. And with a dad like Rule, whose first album, Venni Vetti Vecci, dropped in 1999, that shouldn't be too difficult.

MTV's Follow The Rules airs Mondays at 10/9 Central. For more Ja Rule, slide over to Swagger's YouTube channel and catch the rapper play 5 Singles 5 Questions.

Photo via Ryan Jay for SWAGGER


Nov 5, 2015


Sian-Pierre Regis