Ja Rule feat. Ashanti – Always On Time

First Hit #1: February 23, 2002

The year 2002 opens with Ja Rule – well it opens with a couple hits from the previous year, but then we get to Ja Rule – and the song that bears his name first is a study in contrasts. Ashanti, our female voice, sounds like sweetness and light, singing about being basically loyal, reliable and loving. She gives us the happy love angle of the song, and since she’s got the chorus it’s what sticks around – and she opens and closes the song to boot, which also helps. Then you have Ja Rule, who sounds like he’s gargling a glass full of gravel, and raps lyrics that are trying to brag but make him sound like a massive prick. So we get a song where he brags about rough sex and having drugged up prostitutes on hand, and his compulsion to make a song about getting back together is kind of undercut by the fact that he’s happily presenting himself as a terrible human being. It’s a compelling mix of voices, but there’s really no reason for any woman to get back with Ja Rule, at least going by this song.

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One Response to Ja Rule feat. Ashanti – Always On Time

  1. RBerman says:

    Is this the most reprehensible song we’ve seen so far at #1? Ja Rule’s record label, “Murder, Inc.,” takes its name from an early 20th century appelation for the mob. Label head Irving Lorenzo preferred to be called “Irv Gotti” as a nod to modern mobster John Gotti, and the label’s seed money came from Kenneth McGriff, a crack cocaine distributor currently serving a life sentence in maximum security prison for conspiracy and murder-for-hire. The label’s first album, “Irv Gotti Presents: The Murderers” prominently featured Ja Rule, who has spent time behind bars for tax evasion, gun possession, driving with a suspended license, and drug possession, and has been investigated more than once for assault charges.

    These are not nice people, which makes the brutish lyrics all the more dispiriting, as Ja Rule boasts about his harem of drug-addled sex slaves, his S&M predilections, the stream of women he’s impregnated and abandoned, etc. Granted that the radio version bowdlerizes “money over bitches” and some of the other vulgarities. Still, did listeners just ignore the lyrics in favor of Ashanti’s sweetly vague chorus, or did they understand and approve of the antics Ja Rule describes? Pop music always has contained a strong wish fulfilment component; one suspects neither Meat Loaf nor Jim Steinman were the lotharios described in the “Bat Out of Hell” album. But I don’t know what’s more depressing: The idea that Ja Rule actually lives the evil life he extols here, or that he hasn’t but wishes he did.

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