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Ja Rule Rule 3:36 (2000)


The most impressive thing about Ja Rule has to be the contrast between his gruff, aggressive delivery and his knack for melodic, catchy hooks. One listen to Venni Vetti Vecci is convincing enough, but Ja took it to the next level with Rule 3:36, fully embracing his sometimes conflicting appeals.

He actually pulls off a radio-friendly sing-along pop tune on which he raps about wiping a crying girl's tears with "Put It On Me" before diving into a murderous track called "6 Feet Underground," complete with frantic strings and laser sound effects. Rule 3:36 may come across as slightly bipolar, but it was proof that Ja was more complex than his debut let on. When you look at some of hip-hop's most widely-appealing contemporary acts, you've got to give a nod to Ja Rule for realizing early on that a rapper with a sensitive side could go a long way.

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