Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Revisiting Ja Rule's "Rule 3:36"

Yep, I'll have a few Ja Rule revisits coming up, and no that's no typo. After his tight 1999 debut "Venni Vetti Vecci," Ja returned one year later with his second album, "Rule 3:36." He had a lot of momentum at this point, and considering the hit singles that blazed radio and TV (which I will talk about in this post), there was no way to go but up. I also owned this back in the day, so will this revisit lead to me adding it back to my collection again? We shall see. (Also, you can check out the "Venni Vetti Vecci" revisit at the link below.)

Release date: October 10, 2000

1. Intro
This intro was conducted in the same format as "The March Prelude" from the first album, only this time instead of "Lord, can we get a break," we received "Lord, watch over me." Not bad at all.

2. Watching Me
Produced By Irv Gotti & Lil Rob

 Ja was smart to start things with a brief, but aggressive opener, and if you ask me, this was probably the best song on the album. My ONLY issue with this song is that it was 1:55. Add about one or two more minutes to this, the rating would be different.
*3.5 out of 5*

3. Between Me & You
Featuring Christina Milian
Produced By Irv Gotti & Lil Rob

This was one of three songs on the album that blazed radio and TV back in 2000 heading into 2001, but man, with hindsight being 20/20, this was TOO radio friendly. I mean it's not a bad song, but still. I was never a big fan of it, but it's ok. I don't think I've heard Ms. Milian sound so sexy on a hook since this one.
*3 out of 5*

4. Put It On Me
Featuring Vita
Produced By Irv Gotti and Tru Stylez

Funny story about this song. To this day, I can't recall what special was on, but it was something that had Cedric The Entertainer as a host or presenter and Ja was sitting in the audience, and Cedric spotted him. And in a moment that I still remember, lol, Cedric proceeds to hilariously sing "what would I be without my baby!," which had everyone rolling, including my mom; I bet she probably doesn't remember that. Continuing on, some would say that this song was a little too radio friendly also, but I've always liked this one, more than "Between Me & You." It was also a little disappointing that the remix with Lil' Mo wasn't on this album, because that version was better, respectively. I also wonder(ed) if Vita wrote her verse, which is no knock on her, but in the end it was probably one of her best verses. Good song.
*4 out of 5*

5. Six Feet Underground
Produced By Self Service

Now when I think about it, this may be the best song on the album, but it's still challenged by "Watching Me." Self's beat was so dope (which had Ja riding it nicely) and the sped up background vocals fit this one so well.
*4 out of 5*

6. Love Me, Hate Me
Produced By Lil' Rob

You could love Ja or hate him, and I'm sure he has experienced a bit of both throughout his career. Although we have heard songs like this before, he sort of contradicts himself here, when at one point he gloats about how he and his crew "buss mad guns and fuck so many bitches," but later in the song he says "he has a beautiful wife and kids." That was no slip of the lip either, plus Ja's then wife (not sure if they're still together) was beautiful, so that gloating line above was SO out of place on an otherwise good song.
*3.5 out of 5*

7. Die
Featuring Tah Murdah, Black Child, and Dave Bing
Produced By Ty Fyffe

Ty Fyffe knew how to make some bangin' tracks, and this was one of them. While Ja brings a dope verse, Tah and Black brought average at best verses, totally not doing any justice to this incredibly dope beat. Based on these things alone, this song should cop a 3.5 out of 5 rating, but simply because of how dope this beat is and Ja's verse, it gets.....
*4 out of 5*

Check out the instrumental.

8. Fuck You
Featuring Vita and 01
Produced By Dat Nigga Reb

This was one of the highlights on the "Fast & Furious" soundtrack and it's a banger indeed. With Vita on the hook, Ja and 01 were feeling it on this one.
*4 out of 5*

9. I'll Fuck U Girl (Skit)
Pointless and not funny at all.

10. Grey Box (Skit)
Ok, this was not needed either. Let's move on.

11. Extasy 
Featuring Tah Murdah, Black Child, and Jayo Felony
Produced By Irv Gotti & Lil' Rob

Loyal reader, look at that title and tell me you don't know what this song is about. All jokes aside, this was a decent song, nothing more, complete with a nice sample courtesy of Barry White's "It's Ectasy When You Lay Down Next to Me." I always try to be objective, but I'm sorry, while Tah and Black's verses weren't too bad on this one, they simply brought nothing to the table that Ja wasn't already doing (and doing it much better). Jayo seemed a bit out of place here too.
*3 out of 5*

12. It's Your Life
Featuring Shade Sheist
Produced By Damizza

No matter what, it's your life, do what you best. Live it up.
*3 out of 5*

13. I Cry
Featuring Lil' Mo
Produced By Irv Gotti & Lil' Rob

I remember 50 Cent fiercely ridiculing the hell out of this song (mostly images of the video with Ja crying), but let me tell you something, when you actually sit down and listen to this, it's a nice song, covering how we deal with our emotions. Well done.
*4 out of 5*

14. One Of Us
Produced By Lil' Rob

Some would think Ja was being blasphemous here, by asking what would God do and what would he be if he was "one of us." I don't see it that way, and the questions themselves make for an interesting song if nothing else.
*3.5 out of 5*

15. Chris Black (Skit)

16. The Rule Won't Die
Produced By Lil' Rob

This was an apply titled yet a brief, somewhat anticlimactic way to close the album.
*3 out of 5*

Well, my initial 3.5 star rating remains for this album. It's very good overall, but clearly a slight step down from his debut. Ironically, this "step down" would be nothing but a "step up" as we head to 2001's "Pain Is Love," which will be covered next. Honestly, even though there are a few good songs to be found on the album, I don't see myself re-adding it back to my collection at this point.

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