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Ja Rule
The Mirror

MPIRE/MURDER INC/UNIVERSAL MOTOWN
L.gif

Self-awareness has never been the strong suit of any rapper, but if there’s one MC who could benefit from some honest soul-searching, it’s Ja Rule. Since his career was dealt a near-deadly blow by 50 Cent in 2002, Ja’s tried to recapture his street credibility and pop success twice: first on 2003’s tough-talkin’ flop Blood in My Eye, and second on 2004’s R.U.L.E., which achieved moderate radio success but failed to reestablish the stumbled star as a bankable artist. Three years later, Ja and company seem ready for a fresh start. After beating federal money-laundering charges, label head Irv Gotti and the gang have left Def Jam, signed a new deal with Universal Motown and found another mainstream artist in singer Lloyd. And with G-Unit mania finally petering out, now seems to be Ja’s best shot at redemption. On his seventh album, The Mirror, the Hollis, Queens, native reflects, hoping to see if he’s still got it.

Careerwise, Ja needs to diss 50 again about as much as Curtis needs another hole in his head. But Rule’s ego can’t help but squeeze out one final parting message to his archrival on the album’s intro, where he spits, “With the wrath of my vengeance, get geeked up in da club/And get caught slippin’ is what I want/So I can finish what I started some time ago/And put that 10th bullet hole through your head and your heart.” Wisely, he stops dwelling on the tired beef and pairs himself with current hip-hop poster boys Lil Wayne (on the Minnesota-produced first single, “Uh Ohhh”) and The Game (on the warm, laid-back “Sunset”).

Clearly, Ja isn’t trying to learn any new tricks—he’s more concerned with trying to distill that mix of saccharine melody and overtly emotional delivery that first made him a multiplatinum seller. The dark, ferocious energy of his 1999 debut is briefly heard on the thumpin’ “300,” featuring a call to arms by his Mpire underlings Newz, Tre and Merce. However, the emotional R&B flavor that made 2000’s Rule 3:36 and 2001’s Pain Is Love so successful is best exemplified on the Rick Steel–produced “Damn,” where Ja examines that tricky game called love: “It gets lonely/Especially when you lookin’ at ya Rolie/And can’t buy the time on it/Or turn back the hands and relive them lost moments.”

Even with his singsongy, gravel-voiced delivery intact, Ja’s lack of fresh ideas and attention to detail still prevent him from becoming a more enduring artist. “Rules of Engagement” is a lazy extension of Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments,” while “Enemy of the State” could easily be called “Phone Tap 2007.” On the Channel 7–produced “Father Forgive Me,” a bloated remake of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” Ja tries to address his isolation over the past few years but relies mostly on “I was born alone, I’ll die alone” clichés, rather than probing his emotions in an original way.

Still, Ja shows a glimmer of true self-reflection on the album’s emotional crux, “Love Is Pain,” where he rhymes over a glimmering Phil Collins sample: “No one hated me more than myself/It’s hard to relate to someone you know so well/Or so I thought—sometimes I look in the mirror and see someone else/There’s two of me, but I’m by myself.” Although not the triumphant return Ja Rule was looking for, The Mirror leaves hope for what lies ahead, when he finally breaks through the looking glass.—BRENDAN FREDERICK

  • “naughty gangsta” G-unit

    2nd!wow.i love this cd.50 cent is a real gangster in poland.we dress like him.my friend augustine told police who killed a store shop worker in bludavech province.he said he is a snitcher but still a ganster like 50 cent.but i think him and ja rule should team up.they would control every radio in america.50cent+ja rule=g-unit for life.my name is isidan mishak.a.k.a. “naughty gangsta” a.k.a “rusioan goash” a.k.a “fake belizian”

    • henry

      are you fucking retarted

    • trvsizhre

      This guys an idiot he sould shut the hell up. I hought this cd had its moments I liked the 1st single with lil wayne uoh oh but that song your body is exactly whats wrong with this guy as an artist he is POP. He shoulda stayed with albums like venni vetti vicci and blood in my eye.

  • Dablockkid

    first & a waste of a review!!!

  • Dablocckid

    first cd wack

  • http://www.myspace.com/krazy_sexxxy_kool king_of_gqb

    Ja iz okay…

  • Danny

    Damn whats funny is that you gave it an “L” and from what your wrote in your review, it sounds like a good ass cd! I think imma cop it…

    I also think these XXL reviewer people need the correct definition of the grading scale and there meaninings….

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  • NAWLEDGE

    Now while Im not a big fan of Ja… HE GETS AN L AND HURRICANE CHRIS GETS AN XL?!?!?!?! WTF!?!?!?!? I speak the truth and I gotta say that Ja is 10x the rapper Hurricane Piss is!! I cosign with Danny, it sounds like a good cd from the review they gave! O well… back to the drawing board ja…

  • ri067953

    Yo, Ja should have just counted his career over a couple of years early. All of these one-dimensional artist peter out after a few years anyway. 50 just happened to merck Ja’s career a couple of years earlier then it should have been. Now, 5-0 is singing on all of his songs and guesting with R&B artist which is what he always clowned Ja for doing. Too bad these fools don’t have an ounce of creativity.

  • http://www.hotmail.com raoul

    Well, Well, Well. Let’s see how many units can this forgotten rapper push.
    50 Killed Ja, G-Unit buried him and the public forgot him.

    R.I.P Ja. It’s truly over.

    http://www.vinyl1980.com

  • http://xxlmagazine.com Cal

    Wait? Ya’ll gave hurricane chris an XL???? Fuck you low headed assholes. Man i’m not Ja’s fan but even Fif’d go nuts to hear chris got a higher album rating than Ja. I know XXL is now trying to pave in new cats but please pick fucking wisely!!! IDIOTS!

  • A.R.

    I’m confused…didn’t the shit get pushed back to 2008?

  • http://kellsfetish.com Lo-Doe

    I know XXL under-estimated this rating. I am a Die-Hard Ja Rule fan & highly disappointed. His last album R.U.L.E. was a nice album. He had nice joints and touched on differents aspects on the LP with good production. Fuck 50. I never liked 50 because he came up off dissing other people. Ja Rule been my mans since Venni Vetti Vecci (1st album). E’body that know Hip-Hop would tell you that is one of the Greatest Rap Albums of All Time. At least an XL would keep a lot of commotion down. Like Cal say you give Hurricane Chris an XL?? WTF is a Hurricane Chris?? Y’all trippin on this one real bad. I’m copping The Mirror and I ‘ll play it like Ja is the newest, hottest thing out (if it is hot). Regardless, I’m still supporting it.

  • Beej

    xxl still riding 50′s dick, reviews fucked up!

    • 300

      Aw go suck a dick Beej!

      • KFC

        You niggaz need to eat some shit

  • Ghost Deini

    Can’t he just go away? Please?

  • GUNIT SOLDIER

    G-UNIT mania petering out? Are you kidding? ’08 is the year of the unit. GGGGGGGGGGG-UNIT!! Fuck ja’s weak ass attempt at makin a hot cd. And for everyone who says 50 fell off… ya i’d like to fall off and still go platinum. PZZZZZZZ

    • G-Unit Greg

      yup datz da truth

      G-UNIT 4 LIFE

  • jg420

    WHY HASNT XXL EVER GIVEN US A REVIEW OF 50 CENTS SHIT SANDWICH CURTIS? IS IT BECAUSE THEY STAY ON HIS DICK AND DIDNT WANT TO PISS HIM OFF WITH THE SORRY REVIEW HE DESERVES? KANYE GOT A REVIEW AND THEY DROPPED ON THE SAME DAY

  • Nawshus

    wow…and hurricane chris got an XL…you also gave cassidy an L and his album is top 5 out this year…These ratings and many others have made it obvious to me xxl ratings are either A. written by morons, B. not based on the quality of music…XXL ratings hold as much weight as source’s do…
    This publishing is a sneer on hiphop.

  • http://good boss

    ja rule is the best i can’t wait the mirror

  • kevin

    “L,” huh? um, you guys gave hurricane fucking chris a “XL,” so either im nuts, or hip hop been dead…

  • Leonidas

    FUCK XXL… I always thought it was a gimmick magazine, but this is lamer than lame. GET OFF FIFS NUTSACK.. Hurricane Chris gets an XL and Ja only an L. Are you dumb or what? Sunset, 300 are HOT TRACKS… Enemy of the State beat is fucking bangin, and Father Forgive Me is supposed to be one of the best (hiphop) songs ever. Ja has a lot on his mind, dude is fuckin talented and you only give him an L?! XXL just caught with this action an L for LAAAAMMMMEEEEEE… Bunch of dickriders. XXL = some stupid white thirteen year old kids brainwashed by fifty. SMH.Word to any REAL dude who recognizes Hurricane Chris is not even close to Ja. Ja >>> Fif. Point blanc.

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  • southside nigga

    ja fool is done this album was terrible 50 cent killed ja fool and crackchild and perv gotti

  • trucker

    You fucking wack ass niggas ja is done he should have just took his ass beating and don’t continue to fuck with dudes that aren’t even close to his level your wack my niece bought his last wack ass ablum and I took her to my car to listen to 50 and we got out of the tahoe she walked in the house grabbed her bullshit ja faggot as cd and threw it in the carbage I just went to the bathroom to take a ja and guess what its murrrrrrrda gunit for life pussy as nigga

  • TKO

    wow…@ these g-unit dick loving fags..its ok to support shit but acting like 50 done yall a favor or something..wow..if 50 killed ja, game killed 50. its jus like that but whatever. from the snippets this album sounds solid..doesnt sound like theres a bad track on there…also peeps sayin ja should stop r fuckin fags..u get more music but nah..yall on 50s dick jus like xxl..this album sounds more than an L..yall gave hurricane chris an XL with shit like A Bay Bay…wow yall r on 50s gunit suckin dick or sumthin

  • Pd

    Ima show some love to Rule he does his thing at least he raps unlike giving the mics to cats like Soulja Boy and them please lets be real.
    The Mirror ia ayt it will put him back on the map it will do well

  • stoneyisland

    XXL review policy is out of tune and starting to turn into the Source Magazine all over. I stopped fucking with the source and I’m bout to stop fucking with XXL if the editors dont get their review system fixed. I cant recall the last album rated an S or even worse, not just in this magazine but in the Source either. Your magazines make weak rappers seem credible. If an artist is wack put his/her on full blast, maybe it will make them wack muthafuckas go back in the studio and work harder. XXL, The Source, King, whoever has a responsibility to police wack ass Mc’s from polluting the airways and storew wityh garbage. Do your jobs or shut the fuck down.

  • JAYSTONE

    Ja is more talent than 50.i can`t believe xxl gave him L.WTF?His latest song with the Game is better than any of the song in 50 CURTIS.shit i`m bumping it in my car everyday.
    Hiphop need MC like ja Rule

  • 412@562

    Ja Rule’s fucked up career is his own fault….he was sipppin too much “Thug Passion”, hanging w/ Suge back then,and provoked The Math/Shady/Unit and got rolled over. Now cause XXL don’t wanna give him a XL,Yn and company is dick ridin and its a crime?…All this defense for Ja, yall know we all gonna bootleg his shit to listen for our selves…..now who deserves an L?

  • Shif

    da album is gonna b goood.its just the 50 cent dicc riders and haters that dont want 2 see ja do what he does
    and thats make classic shit.
    he is one of hip hops greatest rappers
    and also he does use gimiccs like everybody else so cop da album and give my dude his props

  • HipHopExpert

    OKAY……

    This new Ja Rule Album will be succesfull in america a lil bit, maybe go platinum if they’re lucky, but it will be Sold Out on tha first day in europe because Ja Rule has a strong fanbase in europe……

  • stephen

    xxl…. you all at xxl must be mad. ja rule…..an L?. that is stupid of you. i am sure you are all ashamed of yourselves, and i am also sure you did not but the album. wait a minute, its not out yet so why did you start rating. doesn’t the opinion of the public go into ratings? even if it doesn’t, cmon an L?. you ALL must be smokin 50′s chronic. just remember you are not being true to yourselves…………….yall need to look in THE MIRROR. I’d say you should re-review d album and see where YOU went wrong and not where Rule WENT wrong…………XXL=Xtraordinarily and Xtremely Lame magazine.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?p=15882 Jay

    fags.. whats so much better bout 50 cent .. he sings..ja started it.. he uses R&B bitches.. ja started it..he got a hot style..jas style so basicaly all u g unit cock suckers(literally) gotta like ja cuz 50 stole his style.. ima cop that ja album itll probably b hot.. i didnt even cop curtis i got it bootlegged n that shit was fuckin WACKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK !! ps i agree how the fuck hurricane chris get an XL and ja only for a fuckin L .. get the fuck outta here ja will crush any southern artist..cept wayne.. n luda

  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?p=15882#comment-651671 Jay

    you ALL must be smokin 50’s chronic. just remember you are not being true to yourselves
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    1st of all its dr dres chronic u retard and 50 cent dosent even smoke weed.. if u know anythin about rap 50 done an interview n the only reason he talks bout that shit is cuz he knows the fanbase and he said “i sat back and watched method man and redman make careers about talking about weed”.. so cmon 50 cent is fake.. all u other ppl here like jas washed up hes fake this that.. 50 is the fakest person in rap music cmon.. look at his collabos robin thicke justin timberlake n talkin bout modanna.. he cant even make a hot street song i can vibe 2 there all pussy songs FUCK CURTIS!! i wont front though get rich was top 5 albums of all time in rap!!!!

  • box

    are they kidding me,hurricane cris didn’t get no xl right? if so there goes this mag’s cred yell

    http://www.myspace.com/panhandoelrcorp

  • Flymasta

    Ima listen to the album b4 i judge but from what i heard from him Uh-oh was good but that song my body was wack i hope this album doesnt suck

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Lil’ Paco

    The Polish guy is retarded you need to do dirt to be a gangster, he has no idea what hip-hop is?

  • young fame

    fuckin stupid hurricane chris iz kool but ja rule get a L fuckin crazy ja album gon go hard

  • Young A-Dubb

    Un Real. Un Fuckin Real, Interscope Must Be Sending You Faggots Checks. Curtis Was Basically Rule 3:36 With More Dudes Singing Than Chicks So Stop With This BS. Ja Is An Artist. Ja Got Blown Up For Being Succesful But Why Is It That Fabalous Can Release An Album With A Street Banger Like “Brooklyn” But His Singles Be “Baby Don’t Go” an “Make Me Better” That Shit Is Wack. Sunset Is Gonna Be A West Coast Motehrfucking Classic. An This Album Is Gonna Be Way Better Than A “L” Rating. YN An The Rest Of The Staff Need To Stop Suckin So Much G-Unit Dick. Besides Dre, Em, Iovine, & Any Other West Coast Artist Isn’t Fuggin With Him. He Used To Be Good Like Ken Griffey!

  • WOW BK 4 life

    Lmaoo wow An L yall buggin 4real Iono tho I could less As long as my baby Ashanti’z Album comez out I don’t care BUT itz Reall sad That we don’t Judge on the Music It Self we Look at the artist…Dam hip-hop don’t die..lmao XtraXtraLame

    In The wordz Of Biggie.
    “I rely on bed-stuy
    To shut em’ down
    When I die”RIP big

  • http://jaruleisthebest boss

    ja rule is the best i love ja than fiddy i prefer ja than 25cent and the mirror is interesting and hot than curtis
    it’s murda 4 life

  • http://yahoo.com classcokid

    some of us r still thirsty 4 that city grime hip hop and feeding off the albums that made their way into history as classics, hope its not another inbarrasment to the game of rap were hopless ghetto kids stem their lives. live from TTTrinidad

  • http://www.webcrawler.com what it do?

    Shout out to Ja Rule. This album deserves a XL at least. Its funny how all you white suburban kids love that snitch ass 50 cent. and oy the GAME destroyed G-UNIt ha ha ha.

  • CMR

    This cat still got a higher rating then Trea’s Life Goes On. Fucking XXL idiots.

    • http://myspace.com/nasteeincwildcardent Nastee INC

      yo niggas need to stop sleepin on rule
      i cant say i hate 50 thats my nigga too but he did not kill ja
      ja exposed that nigga for who he truly is
      a snitch and a biter and a rat YES A RAT!
      like they said in goodfellas you know why they use the phrase rat? cause a rat will do anything to survive!
      real talk if u talkin bout pop hits commercial jams and love songs with absolutely no meaning lately were looking at 50
      now if we talkin bout some real hood shit,fuckin bitches,and good lyrics with metaphors that actually make sense we talkin about ja rule i mean 50 cets get rich or die tryin was the only album where he made some real hits like many men,in da club,candy stick but look at jas career from 1998-2002
      be real with ya self stop hatin for 1 minute and tell the truth
      what song was u bumpin non stop in the crib or in ya whip?HOLLA HOLLA!!
      2000 between me and u,i cry,put it on me, 2001 livin it up,always on time,never again,
      down ass bitch,im real,so much pain, 2002 thug lovin,mezmerize
      now yall dudes might forget how hot these songs was to u and how much u used to play them and recite them in the shower and u might say most of them is pop but ur wrong pop is brittney spears jessica simpson n sync backstreat boys talkin about falling in love with a girl or dancing with a girl NOOO
      if u listen to the lyrics ja is staight up talkin bout fuckin bitches listen to mezmerize”giel u know i got a fetish for fuckin you with ya skirt on”
      now look at 50s duets best friend talkin bout love, he might say a lil something nasty but the majority of the song is about a girl he loves
      i mean im not even hatin on 50 but its the truth and the only reason ja is having a hard time getting a comeback is because his at one time loyal fans jumped on that g unit bandwagon and was brainwashed by all them lies
      i understand why his album is called the mirror all yall need to take a good look at yaself be real with yaself and remember who made them hits instead of completely erase ja say that u never liked his music and call him the wackest rapper alive just cause g unit said so yall look like robots true story and again im not hatin on 50 thats my dude but the truth is the truth ja is the better lyricist the better hit maker and in this case honestly and truthfully the better man its the truth if u cant admit it your fooling urselves
      from a real fan and a real musician who loves ths buisness!
      free preme
      free shyne
      Nastee INC
      http://myspace.com/nasteeincwildcardent for beats

  • http://www.hip-hopkings.com Stu

    From what I have heard so far, it seems like a good album, whens it released?

  • http://none Joka808

    personally .. I been waiting along time for this record … i truly like Ja as an artist, and i’ve hoping and praying he’ll go back to the original formula of hard rhymin over dark ass beats that made his first album a classic in my eyes … but judgin by this review(if it is at all true) he may not have that real hard dark shit in him anymore …. Never the less I’ll buy this record and hope it’s better than the review give it credit for … IF not oh well, wont be the first time Ja let me down … I just wish he would have learned to leave 50 alone … Shady/Aftermath is not the crew to go at, you really can’t bet em/EM …

  • scarface3891

    “With the wrath of my vengeance, get geeked up in da club/And get caught slippin’ is what I want/So I can finish what I started some time ago/And put that 10th bullet hole through your head and your heart.” haha ja id tryin to diss fitty agen but pleez all 50 gta say to shut his ja’s ass up is dat wack ass hurricane chris gta a higher ratin than the mirro! LMAO!!!!!! only song worth hearin on dis album is uh oh nd only cuz the best rapper alive, LIL WAYNE, is on it. FUK JA! HOS WHOLE CAREER LOOKS LIKE DA LAST SHIT I TOOK! LMAO!!!

  • shawn lee

    ya’ll gave young buck XL and it flopped
    ya’ll gave ti vs tip L and it went platinum
    i don’t think u guys really know what your’re talking about ha!!!

    • the one

      sales dont mean quality..I agree that T.I vs T.I.P is good but in most cases sales dont = quality

  • http://na ROYLE

    FIRST OF ALL, NONE OF US FANS THAT LEAVE COMMENTS AINT SHIT, WE DO JOBS EVERYDAY THAT WE WOULD LOVE TO LEAVE.
    SO WHEN WE COMMENT JA RULE OR 50 OR THE GAME OR EM. WE SHOULD LEAVE POSSITIVE FEEDBACK, BECAUSE THIS PEOPLE MADE IN (MULTI MILLIONS)!
    WHY WE JUST GO THAT SAME JOB TOMORROW EARNING A WAGE TO BUY FOOD AND ALCHOL.
    THEY LAUGH AT ARE COMMENTS !!
    I ANIT BEING FUNNY, IM ONLY BEING REAL!!

  • c

    yo
    ja isn’t really done
    he just needs to make some creative shit
    wuts funny iz dat 50 wuz dissin on ja 4
    bein’ soft, but look at him now, a love song w/ciara?
    LOL
    yall fools better realize dat 50 is fadin quick an i’m happy kanye sold more than him
    karma iz comin back hard on 50 4 talkin shit
    back 2 ja i heard the uh ooh track an’ it wasn’t dat bad.
    however he needs to step up in order 2 make a
    real comeback

    regardless-> keep ya head up ja

  • Trilllla

    EWWWWWW….u faggots actually like this homo?? this nigggas str8 wackkkkk. HE HAD SEX WITH A MAN. what the fuck is wrong with u ppl. how could u like this homo. u niggas must b jus as gay as ja if u like his shit

    GGGGGGG-UNITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

  • http://www.myspace.com/rcvthamc RCV tha MC

    Just quit Ja, just quit…..

  • Beej

    Yo, Fifty ain’t creative enough lyrically to compete with ja, true story.
    When was the last time that fifty produced some decent shit? He ain’t got a father forgive me in ‘em feel me?
    That shit raw, do your thing Ja…..Nigga’s faces are scrunched up right now!
    GGGGG-AY UNIT!

  • outlaw

    50 CENT IS FINALLY OVER AND G-UNIT IS JUST A POP JOKE,ANYONE CAN SEE THAT.WANNA BE GANGSTA RAP,JA RULE IS SICK,HE MAKES REAL MUSIC AND HE AINT NO LITTLE BITCH SNITCH.THIS ALBUMS THE SHIT,JA RULE 4 LIFE

  • urbinlegend08

    Ja shit is fuckin wack

  • john jolsen

    Ja Rule is one of the best rappers in new york. can’t wail for the album.

  • pinky

    yo ja rule iz de best, and fuck all u haters you pussyoles

  • o.o.h.

    you niggas talking bout Ja fucked up with that “Your Body,” but bitches be knocking that shit hard. Even ‘Pac said “make songs for the bitches, and niggas will buy the shit ’cause the bitches like it.” Can’t kill everybody on every fucking track of the cd, cause even the hardest niggas take time out for a bitch from time to time.

  • yessir

    Damn. This motherfuckin album never came out.

    • jtm

      yeah it got shelved lol.

  • jtm

    ha ha this album got shelved you all know that he is finish end of discussion.

    • jtm

      yeah it got shelved lol

  • http://dufourisolating.blogspot.com Jill Macias

    Hah I am honestly the only comment to this great post.