The Terror Squad chief visited Stephen A. Smith’s Know Mercy podcast where he talked about Ja Rule reeling from his bad beef with 50 and needing something to get back on his feet. At the time, Joey Crack was dealing with grief Big puns untimely demise and an encounter with Murder Inc. founder Irv Gotti changed everything.
“So Big Pun just passed. I go through depression. Friends drop out. People don’t believe me,” he said. “I met Irv Gotti by chance… we both booked the same studio. It’s God. And then we tell jokes until seven in the morning. We never knew each other. Puns die.”
He continued, “Maybe three months later, I got a phone call in the middle of the night. You still have [a] house phone and it’s, “Joe, it’s Irv Gotti, it’s Ja Rule.” And they’re like, ‘Come to The Hit Factory.’ So I go down there with my wife and they press play and that’s it [Fat Joe singing ‘What’s Luv?’] “What love has to do must do.”
“These guys are what Drake is now, back then. Nothing but hits. They gave me a hit that changed my life. So I’m loyal. Whether we win or lose, I gotta stand by you.”
Fat Joe explained that the serendipitous connection led to him giving Ja Rule “New York” and “Wonderful” at the time 50 Cent and G-Unit were burying Murder Inc. As the story goes, Joe went to a Boston Celtics game with Irv’s brother, Chris Gotti, and on the way to the arena, the older Gotti played a version of “Wonderful” with Ja Rule singing the hook.
According to Fat Joe, he found the record to be “phenomenal” but felt that the Hip Hop community had already turned their backs on Ja and sided with 50. The record may not have been a hit, but an R. Kelly feature would do the job , considering how big of an artist he was back then, and Joe was willing to have it done as a favor to “What’s Luv?”
“I take the record, fly to Chicago, out of loyalty to those who saved me, and I convince R. Kelly to do the song,” Joe continued. “He didn’t want to do the song. He was like, ‘Yo, they got beef.’ I was like, ‘Yo, you gotta do it. This is my brother.'”
He added: “So things like that, 50 Cent hears this and he’s like, ‘Oh no, we gotta get the fat boy, we gotta beat him down…’ Because that’s almost like what we do , no disrespect to Ukraine, the US keeps giving them missiles and he’s like, ‘Oh no, this guy eats so I need beef with him.’
“Wonderful” was the lead single from Ja Rule’s 2004 album RULE and reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Murder Inc. lost the war against G-Unit while also dealing with The FBI raids their offices in New York City after being accused of laundering money for former drug kingpin Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff.
Following the success of “Wonderful,” Ja Rule struck gold again with “New York” featuring Fat Joe and Jadakiss, which peaked at No. 10 and No. 27 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs and Hot 100 charts.
The song and official music video struck a chord with 50 Cent, prompting him to drag Jadakiss and Fat Joe into his beef with Ja, dissing them on The massacre the track “Piggy Bank”.
Rewatch Ja Rule, R. Kelly and Ashanti’s “Wonderful” below.