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Murder Inc Online Exclusive Al Profit Interview

MIOnline recently caught up with one of Hoodstock's finest Al Profit make sure you give this a good read in my opinion Al gave us our best interview to date and he is a real intelligent dude. Show him love on his myspace @ And leave your opinions on our forum. First off can you tell us a bit about yourself and how did you get into the game?

Al Profit: My whole family, moms/pops/aunts/uncles/cousins were heavy into the revolution in the sixties and seventies....My pops was from Oakland but he met my moms when he came to NY to start the Corona, NY Chapter of the Black Panther Party.....My pops was very close to Huey P. Newton.....I was named after a Revolutionary Martyr named "Alprentice Bunchy Carter".....he was assassinated in 1969.....i was born in 1970...I've  been in the game for a while.....I mean.....I'm  35 years old.....I've seen hip hop from the beginning....i remember park jams in the late 70's early 80's....I'm from Queens....I was born in Corona, but  i  grew up in South Jamaica in the 80's....during "Reaganomics", and the  beginning of crack cocaine.....allot of my  close  family got  caught up in the Matrix  called crack! moms used to sing in a band...... so I grew up in the studio I've always been in game.....

MIO: How did you hook up with Black and Hoodstock?

AlP: Like I said....I'm from South side, but my girl was from "Woodhull", in Hollis.....we lived in "Rule's" building on 191st....she grew up on that block....That's how I met "Black"...Black opened a studio in the"Hood" and he needed a he founded "Hoodstock"....I was there from the beginning along with everyone else....I really miss that girl.....she was my heart....I still love her..."Shout out to Stacy from Woodhull and 191, she always supported my career!"
MIO: What projects are you currently working on like a solo project and can we expect anything to be released anytime soon from Hoodstock ?

AlP: I have had a few acting gigs in the past, I just finished  shooting a  romantic  comedy  set in  Manhattan. I was  also  briefly in the  "Interpreter",  with  Sean  Penn  and  Nicole Kidman.....They  played me,  gave me an  "extra" role......but  I got  some  bread  from that role.....and  it's really  about the experience anyway.....Right now I am in the final stages of my mixtape called "Hard-n-B"...a collection of hard but smooth joints from  Alprofit  and  Hoodstock...with a few guests....shout out to "TONY Sunshine" from Terror Squad....Him and "Buck Fifty" came through and blessed the track....BlackChild and Reg executive produced it....don't  expect to get an R-n-B CD.....the shit is "Hard!" and "B"......Everybody is on it.....of course Black, Shan, 720, Shadow,  Indi 191, Shan,  Chico's Son,  Caddy makes  guest appearance..."The Gift" and "Te Moore" is on a skit....."GUNZ Mud", from Harlem is on it...I'm on some conscious shit with this CD....talking about the problems that we face in our communities....drugs, life, death, being a single father, child support, sex and well as life lessons.... I have a song with "Rule" called "Bang! Bang! Bang!....but I don't know if of t will make the CD....because...we did it two years a lot of the shit that "Ja" is saying  is we are not dealing with those issues anymore....if you know what I mean...I am on the "Animal"  soundtrack...the movie with "Ving Rhames"... It's a solo song called "Get High  Wit  Me" Ft.  Indi 191 and Sekou 720....Ving hand picked the you know I got gassed....Right now! Black is in negotiations with Ving  for the soundtrack for Ving's next project called "Nat Turner", about Nat's life.....My conscious songs are what will make it a great fit....besides, I already wrote and recorded the song....It's called "Naturna" it's on the CD. Ving Rhames has been a good friend to Blackchild and Hoodstock....He's a good dude! Right now.....everybody is working on there solo projects...some key players got locked up, or either on the run....real street's like losing your running back or quarterback, right before the season...other people gotta step up.....and that is what is happening now....

MIO: You served 4 years in the United States Navy and served during Desert Storm/Desert Shield what was that like and how has it effected your life?

AlP: I had to drop out of college to start working, but working became I joined the Navy to try to get some real at bread....It was cool until Bush Sr.invaded Kuwait...that's when got real..I was always out to sea, in the Mediterranean sea. I must have seen every Mediterranean port from "Haifa, Israel" to Spain....even "Athens, Greece"...I had a tough time adjusting to the military, but I did it! It definitely tough me toughness.....I went to Norfolk State....that school was real hood...then I got stationed in Norfolk when I was in the Navy....It was like I never left. I was enlisted but I lived the  Civilian Life...nobody knew I was in the Navy.....I drove a ill car ,  had a condo and a motorcycle...I was doing my and a couple of other catz... but I was on the wrong route! a local nigga tried to murder me...I almost died....that's when I woke up....I think that I mostly became a man and grey up in the Navy....
MIO: You have been compared to Nate Dogg with your ability to rap and sing hooks almost perfectly. Do you feel you have a similar style to Nate Dogg, and will We hear u doing more Big hooks in the future, big hooks as in all thoose big big tracks Nate Dogg's been apart of?

AlP: It's been an honor when  I have  been  compared to  Nate....he is where I am tryna get.....he  started this  Hard-n-B I  say  good  looking.....

MIO: When you write your rhymes, what do you draw on for inspiration and ideas?

AlP: When I write...I always write from my personal inspiration...things that I have drawn from my personal life....unless...the hook is already written....

MIO: Amazen Grace recently told us that Tha Stock split into two separate groups can you explain the split who's still in in the group and who has left to form the other "Hoodstock"?

AlP: "Maze" is my man.....I think what Maze is talking about is what I said earlier...about real street or two catz got locked up and  or jumped at this point....we're just tryna recover from from loss of some key individuals....

MIO: With happend with Fatal & Hoodstock as far as everybody understood he was as good as a founding member of the group?

AlP: We fuck with Fatal.....he is family...Fatal and "Ja" are real tight....Fatal was fucking with Rule an Gotti on some other shit....Hoodstock linked of with Fatal because of Shadow....Shadow and Fatal are from the same hood in Newark, NJ...."The Bricks"....that is the Fatal & Hoodstock 
MIO: Has the group had any other names, previous to Hoodstock, Woodstock has been mentioned to name one and if so why the change to Hoodstock?

AlP: We are affiliated with other groups like Pov City, Woodhull Bullies and of course The Inc...but we dont have any other name.....

MIO: In your opinion why do you think Hoodstock has never signed a deal with The Inc after all Blackchild is one of the original members of the label?

AlP: Well in actually Sekou 720 has a production deal with The Inc....he produced "The Inc is Back" on Blood in my eye.....but I that when Hoodstock came along,  Gotti had bigger fish to fry....Gotti always show us love....were in every video, every tour, every show, He financed some our studio...and indi label..."Indastretzs"...Chris and IG always took care of did the rest of the staff at the INC.....Shout out to "Gutta"....big Hoodstock supporter...and BJ..

MIO: We first heard of Hoodstock in 2003 on Black Child's A Warriors Words and Ja Rule's Blood In My Eye is there any plans for you or other Hoodstock to appear on upcoming Inc/Mpire releases ?

AlP: That is always the plan.....but right now we are just doing our own thing....We got songs with Young Merce, The Gift, LLoyd....those are our people
MIO: How big a role does Reggie play in running the label where would Hoodstock be now if he wasn't involved?

AlP: There would not be Hoodstock without Reg....we call him "Go Hard".....but he makes things happen....Black does too "of course"....but Black is an artist and Reg is more in managemnent.....
MIO: Hoodstock has always been close with Fat Joe's Terror Squad there was even talk of a mix tape in the works, what is the situation between both groups today and what is like two big groups working together in the studio?
AlP: It's crazy.....Just natural chemestry....Hoodstock and "TS" have a couple of songs together....TONY Sunshine is real hood....dont let that RnB shit get you twisted...Tony is real!....Buck fifty spits fire.....Hoodstock definately fucks with "TS" the time when nobody was fucking with us because of that other dude.....Terror Squad showed us love....
MIO: What's your thoughts on the south running things at the moment and every rapper from the east claiming he is in the King of NY and they will bring the east back so who do you think can bring the east back ?
 AlP:I am feeling all them dudes from the south....T.I., Rick Ross, Young Joc, I fuck with all them dudes....I think that hip hop is changing....and we just have to roll with the punches.....The east coast has never left....its just the south's time to shine.....                  

MIO: Do you have any plans to work with artists outside of Hoodstock and can expect to see you on any other artist's upcoming releases?

AlP: Like I said.....I have just been tryna get my CD done.....I have been working with local queens artists...up and comming my man....Indeed Allah......and Unothadox....also young producers like Chrome.....he hid joints for Dip Set.....and older cats in the game like Ruler Divine....he did the Onyx projrcts and also the Lost boys shit...and I cant forget my man Kumasi from the Krucial Keys camp, we got some shit working
MIO: What artist out there are you feeling at the moment anyone you would like to work with in the future be it artist or producer?
AlP: Right now....I am listening to this cat named Rahiem Devaughn.....he is neo soul.....under the radar....but he is ill.....he is in the CD player......besides him you know i got Mary J's new shit, and NEO's new shit is far as rap.....ghost face new shit....Common has always been a favorite......But honestly....I would love to work with anybody that wants to work with me.....and anybody that is for the up lift meant of our people through positive music.

MIO: Finally Al thanks for taking time out to answer some questions do you have any message for  the Inc/Hoodstock fans out there ?
AlP: I appreciate the support from you and all our my new CD's the beginning of a new could hear some of my new shit on MYSPACE.......Alprofit

published on August 8 th, 2006

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Ashanti Returns to the Studio

GREENSBORO -- Ashanti Douglas doesn't have much to complain about.

The Grammy winning R&B singer and actor has a new album, new movie and new fashion and beauty book on the horizon next year, and she's in the midst of promoting her most recent flick, "John Tucker Must Die."

So when she stopped by the Greensboro Coliseum on Saturday to pitch her new skin care line, OPC-3 Beauty Blend, at the annual convention for the Internet marketing company Market America, she was quick to say even on her toughest days she wouldn't give up all that she's achieved.

"If you're happy on the inside, if you're taking care of yourself, then things just work out," she said.

Her work in "Tucker," a film about three high school girls who discover they're dating the same guy, is a departure from her previous role as a pregnant teenager in the 2005 Samuel L. Jackson movie "Coach Carter."

"I was in Jamaica recording when I first read the script, so I wasn't really focused on it, but then the director called me and said 'Dude, you gotta do this,' " Douglas said.

She's eager to test herself as an actor, and her next release is even further removed from characters she has played in the past.

In fall 2007, she'll co-star in "Resident Evil: Extinction" the third film based on the popular video game. The filming wrapped a month and a half ago in Mexico.

"I had bullets strapped across my chest; I did gun training, I shot a gun, we learned how to work with live animals," she said with a laugh. "But I won't say which kind. I don't want to give anything away."

She wasn't due on stage for a few more hours, but Douglas was already perfectly styled as she hustled through interviews in a green- and gold-toned, floor-length empire-waist gown. The 25-year-old tapped her perfectly manicured pink toenails on the carpeted floor while her 3-inch stilettos sat tucked underneath her coffee table.

She's well aware that everything she wears, says or does is subject to intense scrutiny.

"You just have to be conscious of it, and at the end of the day, that's the business," she said.

Douglas has been a force in the music industry since 2002, and says she wants to find a way to balance her two passions. Her most recent album was released in 2004.

"The main thing is, I'm working with different producers, using different ideas and sounds, and drawing from the ways I've grown in that time," she said.

After a few more rounds of interviews, photos and appearances, Douglas is ready to catch a flight out of Greensboro.

Where to now?

"Back to work," she said. "I'll be back in the studio, in L.A., working on the album tomorrow."

published on August 8 th, 2006

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Murder Inc Online Exclusive Arizona Slim Interview

MurderIncOnline recently caught up with one of The Inc's young inhouse producer Arizona Slim where he told us to look out for Ja's new album aswell as a new album from rock group P.O.D.

MurderInc-Online: For everyone who doesn’t know who you are, tell us your name, a little bit about yourself, and how you got into producing.

Arizona Slim: Name's Arizona slim. Originally from Jamrock raised in the Bx. I always had a love for the arts, my first love was painting and drawing and I also had an ear for music. I think that painting and making a beat are very similar cause it all creation. Taking a brush some paint and a piece of paper and creating something beautiful out of it that other people can appreciate and love. Making a beat is the same thing your taking sounds from a keyboard and a drum machine and making something that touches people all over the world. So you put those to things together and there you have it. I started making beats my 10th grade year in high school
and quickly made a name for my self.
Within a year I sold my first beat for 3,000 to a local artist. That's when I really started to take it serious. I was like damn I could do something I love and make lots of money from it. I knew I had some talent when the Ruff Ryders were interested in working with me and other older producers wanted me to work with them. And that’s starts the beginning of ARIZONA SLIM.

MurderInc-Online: We first heard of you for producing records such as "Still on It" and "ME", what was the energy like working on these songs? And have you been involved on any other INC projects prior to those ones?

Arizona Slim: The energy is always crazy at the crack house, especially when Gotti is around cause his love for the music is so real you could feel it. “Still on It” and “Me” were the first songs that got put out that I produced for The Inc.

MurderInc-Online: Who was the first artist you ever produced a song for, and how did that song turn out?

Arizona Slim: The first song I produced that got put out was on the under level. IT was Styles P and a group out of Yonkers called 354. I thought the joint was hot it got some play on the local air ways.

MurderInc-Online How did you hook up with The Inc/MPire and then end up becoming a in house producer ?

Arizona Slim: I met Chris Gotti when I was 19; my manager at the time brought some of my work down to the office and played it for Chris. After he heard the tracks he wanted to meet me. I kept in contact with Chris I kept bringing him tracks, then one day he gave me a call he told me wanted me to come work at the crack house...

MurderInc-Online: The inc is known for having one of the best in house production teams in the music game, What separates you from the other producers such as Chink Santana, 7, Artie Green etc.?

Arizona Slim: I think every Murder Inc producer has there own sound and there own feel, so that alone separates us. That's why The Inc artist rarely has to go look for out side production because whatever you can't get from 1 Inc producer you can get from the other.

MurderInc-Online: What production equipment is essential to a session of beat making at the studio?

Arizona Slim: Every producer uses different equipment, for me it’s the Mpc 4000 Roland x8, Alesis ion, motif x8 & Protools.

MurderInc-Online: What current producers in the industry have influenced you thus far in your career?

Arizona Slim: To be completely honest, and I'm not just saying this because I'm down with The Inc. When I was in high school that's about the same time Ja came out with his first album I was amazed with by the production on there. Then came the murders album. At one point that's all I used to listen to then when I heard Chink & Seven that definitely got me on my shit, I was like these nigga’s aint playing. But beside them Timberland, DRE, & Swizz Beatz. Those are the main ones.

MurderInc-Online: Do you have plans to work with any artist outside the Inc/Mpire?

Arizona Slim: If they cutting them checks hell's I love to work with talented people I have worked with other artists out side the Inc.
Check out the cocaine DVD’s there a artist from the Bronx named Young French on there that's the future of New York city hip hop put your money up.

MurderInc-Online: What cd is currently playing in your cd player right now?

Arizona Slim: The best of Barrington Levy.

MurderInc-Online: Describe the process of you making a beat. Are there certain rituals you go through, do you have to be in a certain mood?

Arizona Slim: Yes, I do have to be in a certain mood.

MurderInc-Online: Fans have stuck with The Inc, through all the good and bad times, and are thirsty for some music. Can you hint on what albums we can expect in the near future?

Arizona Slim: The new Ja Rule album is going to be crazy. This album, I think Ja is at his best.

MurderInc-Online: Finally, what’s next for Arizona Slim is there any thing you would like to let the fans know?

Arizona Slim: I'm working on some rock music with P.O.D. that will be in stores shortly you could check for that. Man I'm trying to do everything rite now. Just keep your ears open you'll be hearing about me...


published on August 6 th, 2006

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Ja Rule's Concert in East Affrica Review

Akon's show was Tanzania's biggest event of the year," said most Tanzanians after the Senegalese born US-based hip-hop artiste rocked the coastal town of Dar es Salaam in June.

But when the US rapper, Ja Rule took to the stage during the Fiesta Festivals held at the Leaders Club grounds in Dar last Saturday, everybody was convinced that Ja Rule rules and his was one of the biggest performances in the history of entertainment in Tanzania.

The sun shone, crowds that were dressed to kill came in their thousands and everybody said they wanted to see Jeffrey Atkins a.k.a Ja Rule performing alongside Ashanti though she didn't turn-up.

Carnivore in Nairobi

Ja Rule had confirmed Ashanti's absence just after touching down in Nairobi, Kenya on July 26, two days before headlining his first East African concert at the Carnivore grounds in Nairobi.

As rapper cum actor, Ja Rule was rocking East Africa, the 25-year-old Ashanti couldn't make it because she was trying to establish herself as an actress by promoting her romantic comedy, John Tucker Must Die, which is already in theatres and wrapping up scenes for her upcoming movie, Resident Evil. However, she was not missed because when Ja Rule took on the stage he pleased everybody.

While at the Carnivore show, Ja Rule handed over the key of a brand new Porsche during the Celtel Kenya Win a Porsche World Cup promotion.

In a press conference preceding the Carnivore show, Ja Rule said that he wanted to put up a show as memorable as the one he had given to the US troops at Germany's Ramstein Air Force Base in 2001 that left soldiers dancing on top of tanks and airplanes.

When he ended his performance, he left the audience yearning for more of him.

Kenyans got a chance of listening to Ja Rule's upcoming songs as he promised that, "this year is mine, last year was for 50 Cent."

Getting topless

The singer cum actor of the Half Past Dead movie who came wearing jeans and a black T-shirt became topless as it got hotter and hotter on stage.

At one time, the crowd tried to lure him into jumping into their arms but his bodyguards who travelled with him from the US repeatedly blocked him.

He ranted, talked and sang, and the songs that attracted wildest cheers were Holla Holla, Thug Loving that features Bobby Brown, Livin' It Up, Put It On Me and Always On Time that features Ashanti.

However, his hit New York, which features Mystik and Fat Joe, seemed to be the crowd's favourite as it got the wildest applause.

The loud speakers and his loud voice helped to cover the shouts from the audience as they sang along in chorus, "Nigger (brother) I'm from New York..." The New York song never corrupted Ja Rule's belief of being an African as he kept referring to the audience as his brothers and sisters.

The artiste who physically appears rather lighter than he looks in photos and videos had told Kenyan press that his being in Africa was his return to the motherland. "I'm proud to be a black man."

The two days Dar es salaam Fiesta, where Ja Rule performed started on a low note, but people were optimistic about a world-class show as the emcees kept reminding them that the "world's number one rapper Ja Rule" was coming on shortly.

Starting at around 3p.m. with a football match, bands began their performance at around 4 p.m.

The security was as tight as it could have been when an American superstar like Ja rule made his first appearance anywhere outside the states.

The Leaders club was filled to capacity with barely enough room for anything else apart from dancing.

However there were several power outages before 10 p.m. and people were anxious, thinking that it could disrupt Ja Rules highly anticipated, but things normalised thereafter.

This is the second superstar in Uganda's neighbourhood in the space of just one month. Uganda is yet to get a big star after Sean Paul's performance in April 2004.

published on August 5 th, 2006

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New Ashanti Book to be released in 2007

Jump at the Sun, an imprint of Disney Book Group's Hyperion Books for Children, dedicated to the mission of creating high quality children's books that celebrate diversity, has added Grammy Award winning artist Ashanti to its roster with her life and style guide, ASHANTI STYLE, set to release in fall 2007.

From one of the music world's most popular young icons, ASHANTI STYLE is an electric, behind-the-scenes, autobiographical account of her life and style that will also include fashion and beauty tips and a photo insert. It is co-written with Orlando Lima, who is the former Executive Editor and Editor-at-Large at Vibe. The deal was negotiated by Kelli Martin, Senior Editor, Jump at the Sun and Ashanti's special projects manager Stephan Dweck and lawyer Jerome Leventhal.

Ashanti stormed the pop charts with her debut album, Ashanti, going all the way to #1 and staying there for 10 weeks, garnering legions of loyal fans and earning her the nickname "Princess of Hip Hop." Ashanti went on to sell more copies than any other female artist's debut album in history, winning the singer eight Billboard Music Awards and a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. Her follow-up, Chapter II, debuted at the top spot as well and quickly went platinum within a month of its release. She made her telefilm debut in "The Muppets' Wonderful Wizard of Oz," and starred in the feature films "Coach Carter" and "Bride and Prejudice." Ashanti's debut book, Foolish/Unfoolish: Reflections on Love, a book of poetry debuted in 2002. She resides in New York.

Ashanti can be seen in the motion picture "John Tucker Must Die" which opens this Friday, July 28th and in "Resident Evil 3: Extinction" out in fall 2007.

Jump at the Sun launched in fall 1998 with the mission of celebrating the African American experience and culture. The imprint takes its name from the advice given by Lucy Potts Hurston to her daughter, the Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston. She urged young Zora to aim high in life - to "jump at the sun." It is an imprint of Hyperion Books for Children, a unit of Disney Publishing Worldwide. Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) is the largest children's publisher in the world, with 274 children's magazines published and 120 million children's books sold each year. DPW publishes books and magazines in 55 languages in 75 countries, reaching more than 100 million readers each month.

published on July 31 st, 2006

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Ashanti In Teen People Magazine

She’s a self-proclaimed “summer girl,” but Ashanti sees fall as a fashion opportunity. “I love browns, reds and rust colors,” says the singer-actress, 25, who’s currently filming her fifth big-screen flick, Resident Evil: Extinction, and recording her fifth album (both are due out in 2007). And what about the cool-weather look she sports here? “You can never go wrong with a fitted sweater and some pumps!” she says. “It shows off the figure a bit, but it’s still classy.”

Below are two pictures of Ashanti from the magazine and a video behind the scences of the photo shoot for the magazine.

Behind The Scenes Video

published on July 31 st, 2006

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Ashanti Speaks on Cassie, Busta & Run Dmc

She sings, she dances, she acts, she's Nelly's main squeeze and she's working on her new LP. "John Tucker Must Die" and "Resident Evil: Extinction" star Ashanti says she's feeling new singer Cassie, but when it comes to the old school, Busta Rhymes' old crew does it for her. "I was a huge Leaders of the New School fan," she said. " 'Scenario,' oh my God! That was my joint. 'Doon, doon, doon!' Gotta put Run DMC in there. I used to have a purple boombox. My mom bought me the vinyl record [with] 'Whose house? Run's house!' So I dubbed it to tape and brought it out on the block in my purple boombox."

"John Tucker Must Die!" came in at #3 This Week< at the Weekend Box Office for the July 28 - 30 weekend. The movie brought in a Weekend Gross of $14,075,000</b>. The Movie came in right after Miami Vice. ($25,195,000) & "Pirates of the Caribbean": Dead Man's Chest ($20,492,000).


published on July 31 st, 2006

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John Tucker Must Die In Theatres Today !!!

Ashanti's Newest Movie "John Tucker Must Die" is in theatres across America and Canada Today !!! So make sure you go out and support The Inc's Princess Ms Ashanti by going to watch it in your local theatre and help it become this weeks #1 movie.

published on July 28 th, 2006

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Ja Rule Talks About Upcoming Concert in Africa and New Album

Controversial Murder Inc hip-hop head, Ja Rule, is in Nairobi to rock Carnivore tonight, in a sold out concert. In an exclusive interview, Charles Otieno talked to the multiple Grammy nominee and actor.

Ten years since an American artiste performed here, Ja Rule (Jeffrey Atkins) has landed on Kenyan soil. The former teen prodigy arrived on Wednesday for a three-day visit, during which he plans to hold a concert at the Carnivore grounds. He will also hand over the keys to the winner of the Celtel Kenya Win a Porsche World Cup promotion. He leaves on Saturday for Dar-es-Salaam, where he will hold another concert, before jetting back to the US.

The rapper is only the third major hip-hop act to perform in Kenya after Coolio and the Lost Boyz, back in 1996. "It’s going to be totally off the chains," said Ja Rule in a telephone interview from New York. "It about the Rule. I’m a live wire act and all my fans should come and check me out electrifying. If Nairobi is crazy then I will be more crazy tonight."

The rap phenomenon, who rose to fame with his distinctive growl and amazing stage presence, will perform some of his greatest rhymes and a few songs from his upcoming album for Kenyan fans to sample.

"I have a new incredible album coming out and it is the best album of my career," he says. "I love Kenya and I love travelling abroad. I cannot wait for the show," he adds.

The rapper’s new album follows hot on the heels of another great album, Exodus Greatest Hits (2005). He has been on tour for a couple of weeks now.

"Everybody in Nairobi, I cannot wait to see ya’ll, It’s gonna be crazy with Murder Inc in the building."

Ja Rule, however, rubbished rumours that Ashanti was coming to town. He explained that the chanteuse was otherwise occupied. "Its just the Rule because the bunny is too busy working on an album and finishing a movie," he says. He also shed light on Ashanti’s pregnancy rumours. It has been alleged that the comely singer was expectant with rapper Nelly or Murder Inc’s producer, Irvi Gotti’s child. "The bunny is not pregnant," Atkins said firmly.

According to international reports, a yearlong probe into an alleged financial link between Irvi Gotti and a New York drug gang called the ‘Supreme Team’ culminated in a raid on Murder Inc offices last year. American authorities are reportedly investigating whether or not money from drug trafficking helped Gotti (real name Irving Lorenzo) break into the music scene. Specifically, US police are reportedly investigating an alleged link between Gotti and Kenneth McGriff, the convicted head of the ‘Supreme Team’. The New York Times also reported that authorities are looking into allegations of money laundering and a number of attacks.

Ja Rule has also been embroiled in a vicious fight for supremacy with In da club rapper 50 Cent and his group, G-Unit, in the rap industry. Trouble began when Ja Rule spotted 50 Cent alongside the man who had supposedly robbed Ja Rule of a necklace. 50 Cent alleges that, at the time, he did not know this fact. However, Ja Rule claimed that 50 Cent started the feud himself because he didn’t like that Ja Rule was getting "too much love" in New York city according to his interview with the minister of the Nation of Islam. Later, 50 Cent visited the set of Ja Rule’s video 4 Life, which was being shot on Jamaica Avenue in Queens, a centre point between both their neibourhoods of Southside Jamaica and Hollis.

He says that 50 Cent wanted to be part of the shoot since the hip-hop heads come from the same hood. Word is 50 Cent supposedly greeted Ja Rule with a "What’s up?", to which he replied, "A’ight, what up?" Apparently, that wasn’t good enough.

50 Cent then ‘dissed’ Ja Rule to bring attention to himself. When he made the record, How to Rob, 50 Cent talked about how he was going to rob all the major rappers and artistes. He released another track Murder, I Don’t Believe You, (Life’s on the Line). This set Ja Rule’s head spinning and the moment they saw each other after the track was released, it was an immediate brawl confrontation. "We don’t like each other," he admits. Ja Rule released a track Loose Change. In the song he ‘dissed’ Shady/Aftermath camp, Busta Rhymes, Lil’ Mo and manager Chris Lighty. The Shady/Aftermath cats, Eminem, 50 Cent and Busta retaliated in freestyle Hail Mary over the same 2-Pac beat. Some of 50 Cent’s lyrical low blows included calling Ja Rule, Irv Gotti, Blackchild and Caddillac Tah names in various tracks.

Benzino joined the fray and ‘dissed’ Shady/Aftermath alongside Ja Rule in abrasive retort, Guess Who Shot Ya. Obviously, Ja Rule wasn’t absolved from levying disrespect. On Guess Who Shot Ya’ he rhymes, "Your heart ain’t cut for the code of the streets/ You’re wondering, ‘Is it Murder who shot me?’" over the same beat Notorious BIG rapped to for his Who Shot Ya. Ja Rule recorded the song the night before he laid his vocals down for Loose Change, on which he implies that Eminem’s daughter, Haile, might grow up to be a "slut" like her mother. In an earlier interview, Ja Rule is quoted as saying that 50 Cent accused the Inc of being false tough guys. The two sides later had a scuffle while staying at the same hotel in Atlanta, where 50 and Ja were booked on the same bill. The violence hit its zenith in 2000 when 50 suffered minor stab wounds at New York’s Hit Factory studio when the Incsters rushed him. Blackchild claimed responsibility for the stabbing, saying he acted in self-defence, because he thought someone was reaching for a gun.

Born in 1976, Ja Rule exploded out of nowhere with his debut Def Jam album, Venni Vetti Vecci and its successful lead single Holla Holla. The Hollis, Queens, native had actually paid plenty of dues before being catapulted to superstar status.

Ja Rule made his first appearance on Mic Geronimo’s 1995 B-side, Time to Build, and Jay-Z’s Can I Get A… a massive urban radio and MTV hit from late 1998. He moonlighted in the Cash Money Click collective, which scored a deal with TVT Records that, unfortunately, only resulted in a sole single, 1995’s Get the Fortune. He was later signed on with Def Jam and released his debut album Venni Vetti Vecci (ostensibly taken from Julius Caeser’s famous line ‘Veni vidi vici’, meaning ‘I came, I saw, I conquered), in 1999. The album featured Jay-Z and DMX on It’s Murda. The lead single Holla Holla went platinum. Ja Rule’s affiliation with both the Ruff Ryders and Roc-A-Fella camps guaranteed him plenty of appearances on a host of artists’ albums, including the massive Ruff Ryders, Vol 1 album. Following the success of 1999, Ja Rule retreated from the spotlight for the majority of 2000, returning in October with his follow-up album, Rule 3:36.

Ja Rule has also established a successful career in film. He has appeared in ten movies including, Rob Cohen’s blockbuster The Fast and The Furious in 2001, Don Michael Paul’s Half Past Dead with Steven Segal in 2002, David Zucker’s smash Scary Movie 3 with the Wayans brothers in 2003, The Cookout with Queen Latifah in 2004 and Shall We Dance? with Richard Gere in 2006. Atkins is an only child and was brought up by a single mother as a Jehovah’s Witness. He says that being a Jehovah’s Witness is a very strict religion and they have something called "disfellowshipping" or "disassociating" if you do something outside their beliefs. And they have a lot of beliefs that are hard on kids, hard on human beings. "You can’t hang with worldly people, people outside Jehovah’s, and so my mom got disassociated from it because she liked to go out with her co-workers and have a drink or two."

published on July 28 th, 2006

Ashanti icon

Ashanti Speaks About New Album and John Tucker Must Die

Ashanti stars in Fox's teen comedy John Tucker Must Die, which opens Friday. She plays Heather, the head cheerleader who participates in a vengeful scheme against John Tucker, her unfaithful boyfriend and the school's biggest heartthrob.

IGN FilmForce recently got the chance to chat with Ashanti during a roundtable interview in Los Angeles.

Q: What was it about doing John Tucker, or this kind of movie, that appealed to you?

Ashanti: It was a totally different character for me. I had just come off of Coach Carter and I wanted to show that I was diverse. It was a different demographic. It was younger, more lighthearted.

Q: Can I ask how old you are at this point?

Ashanti: 25.

Q: So is it easy for you to go back to those dark days of adolescent angst?

Ashanti: It was easy, but I must say my high school years were cool. I didn't have a dark period. I had a good time.

Q: Have you ever taken out revenge on a jilted lover, or boyfriend?

Ashanti: Yes, but not as good as these girls. I wish that I would have done it a little better.


Ashanti; click for more pics from John Tucker Must Die.

Q: What did you do?

Ashanti: I found out that, you know I wasn't giving up the goods. My boyfriend went out and got the goods from an older chick. I found out and I kind of just overly, overly ignored him. Like if you were sitting right here and you were him, I would say "Oh, hi! How are you!" to all of his friends. I passed him right through him and never returned his calls or pages.

Q: Did your high school have a John Tucker type?

Ashanti: There were a few John Tuckers in my high school, yeah. I didn't date them though.

Q: What message would you like to send out to the Players of the world?

Ashanti: Oh, it's gonna come back around, ten times harder. Believe me.

Q: What do you look for in a guy? Is it hard for you, particularly since you're an actress and a musician, is it hard for you to find guys who look past that aspect of you and see you for who you are?

Ashanti: Well what I look for is just sincerity. Humor is a must for me. You got to be able to make me laugh. This world is so filled with smoke and mirrors. I'm a very down to earth type person so I appreciate sincerity.

Click the pics for a gallery of stils from John Tucker Must Die.

Q: What's happening with your music carer ?

Ashanti: We're in the middle of recording. We're taking it slow and mellow. I'm kind of sliding into this Hollywood walk right now.

Q: Is there a natural transition then, from one to the other?

Ashanti: For some people it is. Other people are comfortable and find themselves better at keeping it at singing.

Q: So why has music taken a back seat now to your acting?

Ashanti: Well, I think it's time. I've been out since 2002, dropping albums. I wanted to do something different.

Q: How do you see your discipline paying off for you now?

Ashanti: I think my motto is to always remain focused on what it is that you're trying to accomplish. It's so important to never limit yourself, to find yourself in a box. To not reinvent yourself. The challenge is definitely what is the catalyst to the growth as a person and as an entertainer. I think it's so important to always try and do something different and new.

Q: How is your new album going to sound? Is it different than what you've done before?

Ashanti: It's obviously going to be very different. It's been a year, and it's going to be my fourth album.

Q: Will it define more who you are now as a human being?

Ashanti: It's definitely got some growth to it. With me doing so many other things, a lot of life experiences along the way. I would say so.

Q: How have you grown as an artist in the last five years?

Ashanti: I am not a good decision maker, that's one of the things I don't like about myself. And I think growing up forces you…You have to make certain decisions in this industry. It will determine your future. So that's one of the things that I have accomplished. I used to sit for hours deliberating over the same things.

Q: Was singing always in your blood, or was it acting when you were young? And what do you aspire to be ultimately?

Ashanti: I never saw the singing or the acting. I was into forensic science. This whole thing kind of happened accidentally. I never woke up one day and said, "Oh, I want to be a singer," or "I want to be an actress." So I didn't intend for this to happen, but once I sunk my teeth into it, it became such a passion. I'm a writer, and I love to get my thoughts down on paper and have other people relate to it.

Q: So are you interested in writing a film script as well?

Ashanti: You know I started. I started writing an animation script. I haven't worked on it for awhile, but it had some cool ideas in it.

Q: How do you keep balance in your life?

Ashanti: One thing that JaRule told me very, very early in my career was never let this become a job. Never let it become a nine to five, because you might as well just be doing a nine to five. So it's so important to try and have fun and get those life experiences in while you're doing so much work. As an artist it's 24/7, even when you are on a vacation, it's very important to remember that you're doing this because you love it and because it's a passion.

Q: What do you do when you're not performing?

Ashanti: When I'm not performing? I'm looking for the next big thing.

Q: So what is the next big thing?

Ashanti: Well, we actually just wrapped Resident Evil: Extinction, which is a totally different character for me. I get to shoot a 9mm, and I'm walking around with bullets hanging around across my chest.

published on July 28 th, 2006

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