On this day, October 2, in hip-hop history…
2001: After the tremendous success of his first two albums, Queens rapper Ja Rule was primed for the biggest album of his career. Enter his third album, Pain Is Love, in October 2001. The album would serve as a career benchmark for the platinum-selling rapper.
Although it was derided by hardcore fans for it’s overtly commercial leanings, Pain Is Love entered the charts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling 361,000 copies in it’s first week on it’s way to being certified triple platinum by the RIAA. The album would feature three of Rule’s biggest singles, “Livin’ It Up,” “I’m Real (Murder Mix)” with Jennifer Lopez and the Ashanti-assisted “Always On Time,” the latter that would land at No. 1 on the Billboard Charts in 2001.
12 years later, Pain Is Love would end up being the pinnacle of Rule’s career as two years later, he would find himself embroiled in controversy; first, with fellow Queens rapper 50 Cent over a personal and a professional rivalry, and finally with the federal racketeering charges levied towards himself and the fellow founders of his record label Murder Inc, Irv and Chris Gotti. Both would contribute to a significant career slide for the rapper. However, Pain Is Love remains Rule’s most successful album and a big achievement for the rapper.