[WATCH] Ja Rule & Irv Gotti Talk Life In Prison, Why 50 Cent Won & Their Relationship With Ashanti

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After serving 28 months in jail (for tax evasion and attempted illegal gun possession) Ja Rule (real name Jeffrey Atkins) has opened up about his prison stint. With Murder Inc’s Irv Gotti by his side, both chat with Hot 97’s Angie Martinez about how the industry turned on them, how 50 Cent won and Irv’s relationship with Ashanti. Check out a few excerpts below.

On how prison, overall was for him: 
[Ja Rule] It’s been real crazy. Real reflective. You go through something like that…it changes you a little bit. You get a chance to really to be at one with yourself. A lot of late nights, by myself.
On Murder In having a nice run, musically: 
[Ja Rule] Then everything just went bad. It’s very, very roller coster ride. In some weird way, I kinda needed a break. I was dong a lot of crazy things. I was spiraling out of control…Everything. I was him (points to Gotti). I think I grew up a lot in prison.
On how he was treated in prison:
[Ja Rule] It was love. That was, weird to me. Being that I went thru so much, I was very physically ready to be aggressive, angry.
[Irv Gotti] You know where all the love that Rule and I got from? From authentic, real street dudes. Over the course of the years, that where the love started. It started with real gangstas, real dudes….
On why Murder Inc declined in the music industry: 
[Ja Rule] It was like…everything was going up so fast and then it shhhh…it was no slope. It was no dip. It was weird because I’m a really a fan driven artist. I take all pictures. I sign all autographs. I really, really love my fans. For me it was like wow. I think alot ppl think I was angry at the fans. I did a lot for my fans. I went into a dark place and everything was dark for me. Everything I wantd to do was angry. It wasn’t fun anymore. I like to call it the LeBron syndrome.
[Irv Gotti] Rule’s the best person. He’s one of one. I don’t met a lot of people, artists. For me, when he was inside, I was listening to a lot of Ja Rule….I’m like, ‘Yo my man get busy’. I said, ‘He deserves the best from me..He deserves that.’ With the people, its like we’re good dudes…Like everything came at us. I couldn’t enter into a new agreement…I’m sittin’ there tryna organize things and I gotta do it with nothing. No executive wants to come near you. Def Jam, they started a campaign. I usta say, ‘You can’t blame Def Jam.’
On Murder Inc taking an L, compliments of 50 Cent: 
[Ja Rule] It was a lot going on in that time frame. You got the federal indictment. He was part of the juggernaut at that moment. They was very, very big at what they were doing as well. We didn’t have a label as a home anymore…It was easy for him to get ppl to turn on…And there was things that were behind the scenes…We couldn’t go to award shows. They would make calls, ‘If Murder Inc is in the buidling Em is not gonna perform…We would get calls from BET….’
On their chances of succeeding and redeeming themselves: 
[Irv Gotti] I am extremely confident in anything and everything I can do. I think our chances are–we’re gonna rule the world again. You know why I say that? I’m not stoppin’. I’m relentless. Until the goal is met? Oh, I’m coming.
[Ja Rule] I’m just happy we back together and we in a good space and we havin’ fun. If there was social media, back when all of these things were happening, I think we woulda had a better chance to explain ourselves…so social media is a really, really big thing. It gets you closer to your fans.
On what’s their relationship with Ashanti: 
[Irv Gotti] Ashanti’s written entertainment. We’re good. We talk, but just honestly, I wish it was better. I wish…I have nothing against being around her. I don’t know if she feels the same way…Bottom line with Ashanti, I I love Ashanti. It’s only because I love that girl.
[Ja Rule] We went through our lil thing…Brothers and sisters get into arguments.
Watch the full interview below.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4