Fat Joe loves giving his longtime friends their flowers, and his recent Verzuz opponent Ja Rule was next in line. On Wednesday (September 15), Fat Joe and Ja Rule hopped on Instagram Live to break down their historic Verzuz battle from the night before.
Both rappers had a stranglehold on Hip Hop and pop in the early 2000s and Fat Joe made it a point to uplift Ja’s incredible career, saying the Queens legend did what Drake is currently doing long before the 6 God was breaking records.
“No disrespect to your Hip Hop roots, you’re a pop star,” Joe told Ja Rule. “I always tell everybody you was the Drake before Drake. You had hit after hit after hit after hit.”
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Ja laughed off the compliment before claiming Drake is one of the greatest of all time, which Joey Crack agreed with — but that didn’t stop him from giving the Murder Inc. rapper his flowers.
“He’s the GOAT, we not going there,” Fat Joe added. “But what I’m saying is for the youth who’s tuned in, they don’t realize that this guy Ja Rule had a run like Drake for years. Just hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit.”
Fat Joe made a bold claim, but it’s hard to argue Ja Rule’s remarkable run during Hip Hop’s early transition into the pop world. Ja sold over 30 million records worldwide and had several Top 20 Billboard Hot 100 hits, three of which went No. 1 (“I’m Real (Murder Remix)” and “Ain’t It Funny” both featuring Jennifer Lopez and “Always On Time” featuring Ashanti).
He topped the Billboard 200 twice with Rule 3:36 in 2000 and Pain Is Love in 2001 and was nominated for four Grammy Awards.
Fat Joe: “Yesterday’s hits are not today’s hits!”
Everybody rocking to Ja Rule’s hits: #Verzuz pic.twitter.com/Q2LhcBH64Y
— Isha Thorpe (@IshaThorpe) September 15, 2021
Later on, during their Instagram Live, Fat Joe and Ja Rule had Ashanti join them to discuss her and her ex-boyfriend Nelly seeing each other after so long on Tuesday night. Fans were quick to assume the two were reconciling, but that wasn’t the case.
“Listen, there’s nothing happening,” Ashanti said. “Now look, this is the crazy part. I had no idea he was gonna be there, and I haven’t seen him or spoken to him since we broke up. Six years or something? So, I didn’t know what to expect. I seen him move you out the way.”
Ashanti continued, “Listen, I wasn’t expecting it. And that’s the crazy thing! I seen his eyes get big and I didn’t know what was gonna happen. I didn’t know what to expect. It was positive.”
Ja Rule added, “You know, Nelly’s single now,” but Ashanti replied, “Yeah, but I ain’t! So…”
Fat Joe’s Ja Rule-Drake comparison set off a debate on rap Twitter. Check out some of the reactions to his hot take below.
Ja rule was rapping/singing before Drake mans need his flowers.
— THE LEVEL UP 🚛🚛📈 (@kellboogie_) September 15, 2021
Ja Rule definitely walked so Drake could run
— 𝔹𝕒𝕖𝕠𝕝𝕠𝕘𝕚𝕤𝕥 𝕃𝕚𝕫 (@lizlanethebrand) September 15, 2021
I know Fat Joe and Ja Rule are not claiming Ja was the Drake of his era. Drake would never let a nigga come and take his spot. The audacity. There is no other Drake.
— Certified Esq. (@DapperDanyellah) September 16, 2021
Drake owes his entire career to Ja Rule. Argue with ya bald head momma #verzuztv
— Gusto (@aboutnuthinpod) September 15, 2021
Can y’all stop with the Ja Rule was Drake before Drake bullshit. Ja can’t sing or carry a damn note, he did not sell as much records as Drake, and he for damn sure wasn’t a teen actor like Drake was lol the comparison don’t make sense. Yeah he harmonized but he wasn’t a singer!
— Alexander S (@alexfirth21) September 16, 2021
Ja Rule more mushy then Drake , hearing Ja Rule songs again… I owe Drake an apology 🥴🤣 pic.twitter.com/n4w3gR6y28
— KCBayBoi🌉 (@Yabbit650) September 15, 2021