Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
When Ja Rule actually sounded ill
Nathanial Grogan | CH, NC | 04/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 12" maxi-single is probably forgotten by most cats nowadays, but it's actually worth a look. What it showcases is something I never thought existed: A dope Ja Rule, and I say this as someone that despies Ja. Anyway, "4 My Click" contains the first and only two singles that Ja's group Cash Money Click (himself + Chris Black + 0-1) released during their short-lived stint on TVT Records in 1995. The single went nowhere, but Def Jam president Lyor Cohen saw the "Get Tha Fortune" video and decided to sign Ja. Knowing what I know today, I would call that a mistake, but in retrospect, it would have seemed like a good move at the time.
Anyway, the two songs (each available here in three versions - radio, explicit, instrumental) might not impress at first listen. "Get Tha Fortune" is an obvious attempt at mimicking the RZA's production style, with a sparse, simple drum loop and an odd bell-drop sample - the fact that Chris Black is an obvious Raekwon-wannabe only makes a Wu Tang comparison easier yet. "4 My Click", which features CMC's labelmate Mic Geronimo, is an equally obvious attempt at aping another popular style of the time, the West Coast's G-Funk; the track relies upon a much-overused "More Bounce To The Ounce" sample for the bass grooves and whiny synthesizers.
What makes these two songs work in spite of the unoriginal production? Quite simply, Ja Rule himself. From the first bar on "Get Tha Fortune", he drops the sort of heat that nobody who grimaces at the memory of "Always On Time" remembers he's capable of dropping. He doesn't blow you away with punchlines or complex multi-syllable rhyming, but his mic presence is impossible to deny - he immediately establishes himself with charisma and a rapid-fire delivery that rivals even Ice Cube's or Chuck D's in terms of raw energy. The fact that he outshines Mic Geronimo on "4 My Click", who I've always thought is a lyrical heavyweight himself, makes it immediately clear just how dope he was, and COULD have been had he not become complacent to hall out low-rent thug cliches and cheesy love ballads intended for crossover success, all while proclaiming himself the next Tupac.
Now, of course, Ja Rule has become one of the most despised cats in the game, and honestly, I can say he probably deserves it, given that he helped water down the sound of East Coast hardcore rap in the early-2000s' (though admittedly, so has his biggest rival, one Curtist "5-0" Jackson). But even as a bonafide Ja hater, I can't deny how much I like "4 My Click" - I'm glad my man slipped me this, because it's an excellent reminder of how hungry young MCs' will sell their souls for the almight dollar. Ja Rule may have "got tha fortune" doing that, but it ain't done nothing for his credibility."