Ja Rule, the New York rapper who became famous in the early 2000s and is closely associated with Ashanti and Jay-Z, delivered an epic performance at Soi 11’s Sugar last night.
Despite the name of one of his biggest hits, though, he isn’t actually always on time — the staff ferried most guests into the sold-out gig at around 10pm, saying that he would go on at about 11pm. Ja didn’t take the stage until 2:30am.
Long waits and tired people aside, he did put on a hell of a show, winding it down sometime after 3:30am. Too bad many of the showgoers had already gone home by then.
The tickets went for THB875 a piece. For weeks leading up to the show, my friends had been predicting that the early 2000s superstar would run out, yell “Murrrrder” from stage right, again from stage left, and then call it a night.
However, he delivered a skillful, energetic show, playing all of his hits and playing it up with the crowd: smiling, interacting with the audience, jumping offstage, and showing off his still-present 6-pack.
Ja opened with “What’s Luv,” his 2001 song with Fat Joe and Ashanti, and from there, moved into his other Ashanti collabs: “Always On Time” and “Mezmerize,” getting the audience to sing Ashanti’s part.
He switched gears partway through the show, moving into his more rap-heavy tracks like his joint effort with Jay-Z, “Can I get a…”.
Like me, you might have heard some of the horror stories — other rappers, past their prime, touring small clubs in Asia, only to deliver anticlimactic performances. A friend of a friend saw Ja Rule’s show in Dubai this past Sunday, though, and called it the best night of his life. That gave me hope (and the resolve to stick around for him to show up).
Ja is currently touring the region: He played Phuket on Tuesday, is playing in Manila tonight, and will make a stop to perform in Singapore this Friday. Later this month, he’ll return to the States to play three dates with Ashanti in Beverly Hills, California; Pensacola, Florida; and Norfolk, Virginia.