"Livin' It Up" rapper Ja Rule was once a prominent name in hip-hop, but he experienced a notable shift in the trajectory of his career. The Queens native previously took a hiatus from the music industry, leaving many to wonder what happened to the Grammy-nominated star.
Ja, born Jeffrey Atkins, first made waves in the music industry after releasing a string of successful hits. The rapper dominated the early 2000s.
However, Ja later faced a turning point in his career that was marked by legal drama and changes in the music industry.
What happened to Ja Rule?
Ja Rule’s time in the music industry was eventful – to say the least. Following the success of the rapper’s early albums, Murder Inc. co-founder Irv Gotti found himself on the receiving end of an FBI probe.
Amid the label’s legal battle, Ja Rule got into a nasty feud with fellow lyricist 50 Cent. The true cause of their beef is unknown as each rapper has told a different version of the story.
In 2003, Ja told MTV News that the quarrel started after a music video shoot in Queens.
“It was a situation where 50 wanted to be involved but didn't know how to go about it,” Ja said.
He added: “He supposedly spoke to me and said, 'What's up?' And I said, 'A'ight, what up?' Apparently, that wasn't good enough or something.”
50, on the other hand, claims that a friend of his robbed Ja, which was what really sparked the feud between the rappers.
“That’s how the beef started. My man robbed him for his chain, and then this guy named Brown came and got the chain back for Ja,” 50 wrote in his memoir From Pieces to Weight.
The fight with 50 combined with the drama at Murder Inc. seemingly hindered Ja’s career. His later albums were met with moderate success and failed to generate the buzz he once had.
His 2005 project, Exodus, peaked at No. 107 on the Billboard 200 chart and Pain Is Love 2 was even less successful.
What happened to Ja Rule? Here's the truth about his hiatus from music.
After the release of Pain Is Love 2, Ja sought to expand his professional profile.
In 2017, he partnered with Billy MacFarland to create Fyre Festival. The event – which was billed as a premiere festival with performances from Migos and Lil Yachty – never happened.
Instead, attendees were bamboozled into sleeping in tents and eating hot dogs on a deserted island.
Ja avoided jail time for his involvement in the scheme after claiming that he was also “hustled” by Billy.
Now, Ja is making a return to music.
Where is Ja Rule now? He reportedly signed a $100 million record deal.
On Jan. 4, he took to X to announce that he had signed a very lucrative record deal.
“Just signed my new label deal potentially worth a hundred million [dollars]. Let's f--king go!],” he tweeted.
The news came weeks after the rapper announced plans for a 25th-anniversary tour. The Sunrise Tour will make stops in the U.K. and Ireland and will include appearances by Lloyd and Keri Hilson.