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Ashanti InterludesLive Cover 2022

Source: JD Barnes / for HelloBeautiful

If you’re going back and reminiscing about music in the early 2000s, the duo of Ashanti and Ja Rule clearly dominate the scene. And we take some time to break down exactly how that came about.

Be sure to watch Ashanti’s @hellobeautiful Interludes Live on TVOne on Sunday (July 17) at 9p/8c on @tvonetv.

Hip-Hop and R&B have had a long love affair thanks to some choice collaborations. But it can safely be said that once Murder Inc. labelmates Ashanti—who is the latest cover star over at our sister site Hello Beautiful—and Ja Rule teamed up, they pushed such collaborations to become a new art form under the keen production of Irv Gotti. Here, we give a rundown of their best collaborations that kept them at the top of the charts and still keep fans hoping for that joint album both promised back in 2018.

1) ”Always On Time”, 2001

This track off of Ja Rule’s third album, Pain Is Love saw him at his critical peak after bursting onto the scene in 1999. Ashanti had just signed with the label and got the opportunity to be a guest on the song after Brandy was unable to. The track would be an instant hit, topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks, making it the songstress’ first number-one single on that chart and Rule’s second.

2) “Down 4 U”, 2002

Irv Gotti wasn’t going to take his foot off the gas where Ja Rule and Ashanti were concerned. That was solidified with the release of the compilation record Irv Gotti Presents: The Inc., with “Down 4 U” being the lead single. The duo were joined on the track by Vita and Charli Baltimore, and the single would snag the sixth spot on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released. The accompanying music video also got some attention, featuring veteran actors Clarence Williams III and Eric 
Roberts as cops along with cameos by Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston.

3)“Mesmerize”, 2002

Ashanti would hop on this upbeat love ballad from her labelmate’s fourth album, The Last Temptation and solidify the artistic union that epitomized “thug loving”. Right down to the music video showing the two playfully switching up styles and linking up at a carnival in an homage to Grease.

4)”Rain On Me (Remix)”
, 2004

The remix to Ashanti’s 2004 hit had “smash” all over it, from the Issac Hayes “The Look of Love” flip to Ja Rule’s closing verse after Charli Baltimore and Hussein Fatal. Definitely one of those tracks that had the corners and the clubs bumping. The grittiness would be further exemplified in the video.

5) ”The Pledge” Remix

The duo would connect again to make another smooth track, this time featuring Nas. Hearing all three seamlessly flow on the single makes this track one that many might need to revisit.

6) “Wonderful”, 2004

This track from the R.U.L.E. album featuring now-disgraced singer R. Kelly wound up being a sleeper hit, earning Ja Rule and Ashanti a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group that year. And the video shows everyone at their bling-era best.