If there was one quote that Ja Rule most likely follows in his life its "stick to what you do best". While one could question if what Ja really does can even be considered in the same sentence as the word "best", but nevertheless Ja certainly has found a formula that has worked for him and the whole Murda Inc. crew. The formula, well it's simple. Watered down production with a touch of pop overtone combined with thugged out imagery rivaling the late great 2pac and of course catchy pop vocals. This is the formula that Ja Rule & Irv Gotti have endlessly rode to death the past few years, churning out big commercial and pop hits.
However, while mainstream America and the pop world have loved every minute of it, it seems as if Murda Inc. has forgotten where they have come from, the streets. While Ja may sell an abundant amount of records, the streets simply have lost all respect for him. While he tries real hard to keep his image as hard as possible, its quite hard to take the man seriously when he's prancing around screaming "its muuurda" while singing a sappy love ballad with Ashanti. Nevertheless, Ja seems to be content with his niche in the game and continues his usually antics on his 4th solo recording "The Last Temptation".
Following in the footsteps of his previous two efforts, "The Last Temptation" pushes the boarder between the pop world and gimmick rap. The lead single "Thug Lovin" featuring Bobby Brown, "Mesmerize" featuring Ashanti, "Emerica" and "Rock Stars" are all pitiful played out efforts from Ja showcasing why he is conceptually and lyrically one of the worst emcees in the game.
Of course the theme of "murda" always plays a big part in any Ja Rule album, this one being no different. "Murder Reigns", "Murder Me" featuring Cadillac Tah and The Neptunes produced "Pop Niggas" are all your typical efforts pitting Ja Rule in the "thug role" he so wishes to play. His 2pac like style and persona comes through in full force for most of these tracks, but its evident Ja is trying real hard to play the role. More boring efforts come from the East/West Deathrow collaboration of "Connected" featuring Eastwood & Crooked I, "The Last Temptation" featuring Charli Baltimore and "The Pledge Remix" featuring Nas & Ashanti.
There are only two types of Hip-Hop fans that would basically fall into the category of appreciating what Ja Rule has to offer on "The Last Temptation". Those that have followed the man his whole career and somehow appreciate it and those who follow the man simply because of his appearance and pop status. The rest, including the Hip-Hop community, is getting quite tired of the Ja Rule/Irv Gotti formula. And no matter how hard Ja tries to win back the hearts of the Hip-Hop community he abandoned years ago, it will never happen. And as the saying goes "he's aright, but he's not real".