In the early 2000's you couldn't turn on your radio without hearing a Ja Rule and Ashanti song. Their albums and singles as individual artists were successful, but when they joined forces, they created songs instant hits. With classic songs like, "Always On Time," "Down 4 U," and "Mesmerize," it's no wonder they are coming back together to release a joint album.

Hailing from Hollis, Queens, Ja Rule made his debut in 1999 with his first studio album Venni Vetti Vecci  lead by the single "Holla Holla." From 1999 to 2005, Ja Rule would reign as one of the top-selling hip-hop artists, thanks to his infusion of R&B and rap in his songs. He was one of few rappers that sang about love, making him appeal to both male and female audiences that loved hip-hop and R&B.

Ashanti was discovered as a teenager and signed to Murder Inc. in 2001. After generating buzz following her appearance on Big Pun's "How We Roll,"  she teamed up with Fat Joe and Ja Rule for the hit single, What's Luv?" In 2002, Ashanti released her self-titled album, Ashanti. The album sold over half a million copies within the first week. This album placed her at the forefront of R&B in the early 2000s.

The duo first collab appeared on Ja Rule's third studio album, Pain Is Love in 2001. The single, "Always On Time," shot straight to the top the charts spending two weeks at No. 1 of the Billboard 100. Ja Rule and Ashanti would go on to make close to a dozen songs together after this single.

In celebration of Ja Rule and Ashanti's announcement of their joint album, we took a detailed look at their discography and ranked the songs they created together.

 

In 2001, Ja Rule released his third studio album Pain Is Love. He teamed up with Caddillac Tah, Black Child, and Ashanti on the track "The Inc." While the album had some hit singles, "The Inc." fell short in creating the vibe of a gangsta crew that they were going for. Ashanti appears at the end and adds her soft vocals to complete the Murder Inc. crew, but the song missed the mark on creating a memorable crew anthem.

In 2004, Ja Rule released his sixth studio album entitled R.U.L.E, he was making a comeback from his previous album Blood In My Eye that didn't do well on the charts. The uptempo song served as a reminder to fans that Ja Rule was here to stay.

Ashanti sang Ja Rule's name on the catchy hook and the dynamic duo had a song that put them back together in the studio.

After the success of Ashanti's first self-titled album in 2002, she didn't wait long to release a follow-up album. Chapter II was released in 2003 and the hit singles, "Rain on Me," "Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)," and "Breakup 2 Makeup" were all on this album.

Even though "Sweet Baby" wasn't released as a single it's one of those songs that can easily become a favorite because of its chill and laid-back vibe.

Ashanti released her third studio album Concrete Rose in 2004, "Turn It Up" featuring Ja Rule was originally supposed to be the first single off the album. The uptempo song was produced by Irv Gotti and Jimi Kendrix, it gave Ashanti a different sound than what fans were used to from the songstress.

A decision was made by her label for the song to be released as a buzz single and "Only U" became the first single off the album. The buzz single was strong because the album itself went on to sell a million copies.

Ashanti hit the ground running in 2002 when she released her debut self-titled album, Ashanti. When her first single "Foolish" dropped it flooded airwaves and was followed by two more hit singles, "Baby," and "Happy."

In 2001, Ja Rule released his third studio album, Pain Is Love. The hit single, "Always On Time" is on the album and features Ashanti. When Ashanti released her album, she kept the momentum of "Always On Time" and released a part two to the song.

"Leaving (Always On Time, Pt. 2)" didn't do as well as its predecessor but it is a gem on the album.

In 2002, Murder Inc. Records was a force to be reckoned with; the label was producing hit albums and singles under the direction of CEO Irv Gotti. Gotti released the compilation album Irv Gotti Presents: The Inc. The album featured songs from all the artists on the label. "Down 4 You," was the first single off the record and featured Ja Rule, Ashanti, Vita and Charlie Baltimore.

The song became an instant summer jam and hit the top 10 on the Hot 100. The video showcased all of the artists on the label and cemented Murder Inc. as a powerhouse in hip-hop and R&B.

In 2002, Ja Rule released his fourth studio album, The Last Temptation; it was a follow up to his 2001 album Pain Is Love. Ja Rule always showed loyalty and love to his Murder Inc. fam, and this song wasn't any different.

As rumors circulated about Nas signing to Murder Inc., Ja released the remix to "The Pledge" featuring the Queens rapper,  Ashanti, and Tupac Shakur. As usual, Ashanti was on the hook adding her vocals to make the song catchy, and fans ate it up. While Nas never officially signed to the Inc., the video became a historic moment for the label.

After releasing Blood In My Eye in 2003 and going to war with 50 Cent along with the entire G-Unit crew, Ja Rule came back in 2004 to release R.U.L.E. Although the album didn't do as well on the charts as he past albums the single "Wonderful," featuring Ashanti and R.Kelly reassured fans that Ja Rule was back and still had some hits left in him.

During the peak of Ja Rule and Ashanti's reign at the top, Ja Rule released the single "Mesmerize" off his fourth studio album, The Last Temptation. The song is fun and catchy, Ja Rule used his singing skills and rumors that he and Ashanti were secretly having an affair to his advantage.

In the video, the duo remade the classic film Grease,  with Ashanti as Sandy and Ja Rule as Danny. Ja Rule sings his way throughout the video while trying to express his love for Ashanti. The song peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 making it Ashanti's and Ja Rule's fourth top ten hit as a duet.

When "Always On Time" hit radio airwaves in 2001 it was an instant hit. The song paired with the video introduced fans to Ja Rule and Ashanti as a dynamic duo. The single was Ja Rule's first number 1 hit to top the Billboard Hot 100.

The song was written by 7 Aurelius, Ja Rule, and Irv Gotti. What many people don't know that initially Brandy was supposed to appear on the track, not Ashanti.  Could you imagine all of the future hits the duo would have missed if Ashanti wasn't on the song?

 

 

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