People Staff
December 08, 2003 12:00 PM

Ja Rule

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In recent years rapper Ja Rule has become famous for his R&B-flavored collaborations with such singers as Ashanti (“Always On Time”), Jennifer Lopez (“I’m Real”) and Mary J. Blige (“Rainy Dayz”). To prove that he hasn’t gone soft, though, Ja attempts to get back to his hardcore roots on his fifth disc, which, unlike last year’s The Last Temptation and 2001’s Pain Is Love, doesn’t feature any guest singers or rework any soul classics. Maybe you can’t go home to the hood again, though, because the results here are mixed. While the gruff-voiced Ja successfully rediscovers his inner thug on gangsta tracks like the menacing “The Life” and the rumbling “Things Gon’ Change,” he fires mostly blanks with his repeated pot shots at rival (and fellow Queens, N.Y., native) 50 Cent. Meanwhile the first single, “Clap Back,” an infectious party song, actually sounds more like a response record to Busta Rhymes’ “Make It Clap.”

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