Ja Rule is a famous American actor, singer and rapper. Born as Jeffrey Atkins on February 26, 1976 in Queens, New York, he was mostly raised by his grandparents because his mother Debra Atkins worked two jobs to make ends meet. He had a sister who died at birth when Atkins was 5 year old. He attended public school where he often got into fights because of his slight build and was later transferred to a predominantly white middle school. He finished high school in 2002. Atkins began his rap career in 1993 after joining a hip hop group named “Cash Money Click”. He adopted the stage name of Ja Rule which is the initials of his first name and the nickname “Rule” which his friends gave him. In 1995, he made his first appearance on the rapper Mic Geronimo’s song “Time to Build” which also featured future rap stars Jay-Z and DMX.
In 1998, Rule signed with Def Jam records and appeared on Jay-Z’s hit single “Can I Get A…”. His debut album titled “Venni Vetti Vecci” was released in 1999. It was successful, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard 200 charts, and selling 184,000 copies sold in its first week. It eventually went platinum in the U.S. especially the hit single, “Holla Holla”, which reached #35 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. His second album titled “Rule 3:36” was released on October 10, 2000 and was even more successful. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts and was his first No. 1 album, certified 3x platinum in the U.S. His third album, titled “Pain Is Love” was released on October 2, 2001. This was his most successful album and the song “Always on Time” became his first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Another song on his album “I’m Real” a remix of a Jennifer Lopez song, also reached No. 1 on the charts and yet another song on the album made it to the top 10 on the charts. The album had first week sales of 361,000 copies and was eventually certified 3x platinum.
Ja Rule continued his journey to success with a stream of successful albums every year. His fourth studio album in as many years was released on November 19, 2002. It was titled “The Last Temptation” and was also certified platinum in the U.S. The album debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 200 charts and sold 237,000 copies in the first week alone. A year later, on November 2, 2003, Ja Rule released his fifth album titled “Blood in My Eye” under a new label “Murder Inc.”. The theme of the album was his conflict with other artists such as 50 Cent with whom he had had a number of confrontations. The album sold approximately 450,000 copies. Rule’s sixth album was released in November 2004. It was titled “R.U.L.E.” and was certified Gold in the U.S. In 2009, Ja Rule founded his own independent label “Mpire Music Group” with whom he released his album “The Mirror” as a free downloadable album on the internet.
In 2012, Ja Rule was sentenced to 2 years in prison for gun possession. His album “Pain is Love 2” was released while he was in jail. He also received a 28 month sentence for tax evasion. He has faced other charges such as several feuds, driving with a suspended license and drug possession. He has also established a career as an actor, appearing in movies such as “The Fast and the Furious”, “Back in The Day”, “The Cookout”, “Assault on Precinct 13” and “I’m in Love with a Church Girl”. He married Aisha Murray in 2001 with whom he has three children.