Rule 3:36

No range and way too much negativity...

The jury is still out on Ja Rule. For many, he's a younger, not so versatile and less refined version of DMX. But although his voice is rugged, deep and raw, little of worth emanates from it. Too much "n***a" this, too much "murder" that. It all sounds a little too much like noise.

But 'Rule 3:36' does have its moments, including tracks like 'Put It On Me' and 'Love Me, Hate Me'. Indeed, the problem with this album mirrors the problem faced by the majority of contemporary hip-hop artists: while the album is full of quality tunes that sound nice in isolation, as a complete package, it lacks the versatility to take it to another level. Ja Rule is major talent, but he's similar to light-welterweight boxing champion Zab Judah. He's so talented, and wins almost strictly with talent, that he fails to learn the subtleties of his art. As long as Ja Rule continues to go platinum, he is unlikely to change his formula either. Who can blame him? But it doesn't make for interesting listening in the meantime.

There's not an outstanding tune on the album to the degree of 'Holla Holla' [from his debut album 'Venni, Vetti, Vecci'], but 'Rule 3:36' has already proven to be successful, having topped the Billboard chart on the week of its release. And if you like Ja Rule, you'll unquestionably love the album. Unfortunately, there's just no range and way too much negativity.

Derek A Bardowell
6 / 10

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