Album: Ja Rule

R.U.L.E. DEF JAM
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The Independent Culture

One shouldn't expect anything too groundbreaking from a rapper so pleased about being able to spell his own name. Even so, R.U.L.E. is enervatingly unoriginal stuff. Ironically, the title track prates on that "nobody does it like R-U-L-E" before repeating signature phrases coined by other (better) rappers, with Snoop Dogg's "murder was the case" joining references to Cypress Hill ("now I could just kill a man"), 2Pac ("all eyez on me"), Biggie ("ready to die") and Snoop again (the track title "What's My Name"). Almost everybody does it like R-U-L-E - or vice versa, in fact - only they did it several years earlier. It's not just phraseology that he borrows, either: his gruffly antagonistic delivery is clearly based on the sullen, declamatory styles of Biggie and 2Pac, while his subject matter is just a dreary rehashing of staple hip-hop clichés - the numbskull materialism, tosh about how "pimpin' ain't easy" and how "this [rap] game ain't nothin' but smoke and mirrors", a few desultory ac

One shouldn't expect anything too groundbreaking from a rapper so pleased about being able to spell his own name. Even so, R.U.L.E. is enervatingly unoriginal stuff. Ironically, the title track prates on that "nobody does it like R-U-L-E" before repeating signature phrases coined by other (better) rappers, with Snoop Dogg's "murder was the case" joining references to Cypress Hill ("now I could just kill a man"), 2Pac ("all eyez on me"), Biggie ("ready to die") and Snoop again (the track title "What's My Name"). Almost everybody does it like R-U-L-E - or vice versa, in fact - only they did it several years earlier. It's not just phraseology that he borrows, either: his gruffly antagonistic delivery is clearly based on the sullen, declamatory styles of Biggie and 2Pac, while his subject matter is just a dreary rehashing of staple hip-hop clichés - the numbskull materialism, tosh about how "pimpin' ain't easy" and how "this [rap] game ain't nothin' but smoke and mirrors", a few desultory accounts of old sexual liaisons, and misplaced pride about his small-arms cache and his general unpleasantness. Still, you have to marvel at the breathtaking cant of his memorialising "dead niggers" in "Life Goes On", just a few tracks after "Gun Talk", in which he advocates shooting as the instant remedy for the most insignificant slight or inconvenience. Who does he think he is - the President?

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