For the past two years, it has been hard to ignore Ja Rule and his Murder Inc. crew. From Irv Gotti’s production to guest vocals from Ja and Ashanti, teaming up with the Murda fam has brought success to quite a few acts. Hell, it even got Fat Joe to go topless on MTV. The last album from the I.N.C. front man saw more than its share of radio hits. So now causing more sales and controversy than before, there is a lot of weight on his shoulders.
The Last Temptation doesn’t break any new ground, but then again, did you expect it to? The radio joints are here, the current airwave infection from “Thug Lovin” showcases Bobby Brown sinful interpolation of Stevie Wonder’s “Knocks Me Off My Feet.” The proven pairing of Ja and Ashanti shows up on “Mesmerize”, as he ends up singing just as much as her and the the duo creates another bad boy/down ass bitch love anthem. Another no-brainer for a hit is the collab with The Neptunes, on “Pop Niggas”, where the Star Trak boys beat are destined to return “the Rule” back to the club.
The title track “The Last Temptation”, featuring Charli Baltimore, tries to take you back in the day, but it should be taken away, as all of these platinum plaques have him falsely convinced that he can sing. Chuck comes harder than him on the track and easily outshines. Also the case on “Connected”, where Death Row’s Eastwood and Crooked I rip Irv Gotti’s and Chink Santana’s stereotypical West Coast sounding beat to shreds, only to be followed by a weak 2Pac impersonation from Ja. Alert - if you ever liked the song “Anniversary” by Tony Toni Tone, skip past “Murder Me”, as it will make you wish sample clearances were harder to come by, with Rule and Cadillac Tah having a girl beg for sex and murder as one in the same.
The Last Temptation boils down to Ja singing more and trying too hard to be a thug. Some times on point and with a cocky delivery, while others he sounds uneasy and not confident in himself. He’s a rapper, an actor, a singer (?) and coming off more bi-polar than ever - he’ll bang your girl one second and holla “muurrrrddder” the next. Love him or hate him though, he has nothing to prove to anyone. He has his fan base and that is who this album might appeal to. Hopefully his last temptation is to sell more records, before finally returning to the streets and being him self.
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