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April 7 @ 7:30 pm - 11:30 pm
As the flagship artist for producer Irv Gotti’s Def Jam-affiliated Murder Inc. label, Ja Rule became one of the rap industry’s most commercially successful artists during the early 2000s, working closely with the hitmaking producer and his stable of talent. Born Jeffrey Atkins on February 29, 1976, in Queens, New York, Ja Rule established himself with Venni Vetti Vecci (1999), a hardcore debut album similar in style to the rugged thug rap then popularized by DMX and the Ruff Ryder collective. On his second album, Rule 3:36 (2000), he began collaborating with female R&B singers, and a string of radio-friendly hits resulted (“Between Me and You,” “Put It on Me,” “I Cry”). Pain Is Love (2001) followed the same template, serving up a few rap-R&B hybrids for the singles (“I’m Real,” “Livin’ It Up,” “Always on Time,” “Down Ass Chick”) and filling out the album with hardcore rap.