New York has proven to be a breeding ground for enterprising spirits. So much so, that the term “New York artist” has become synonymous with grit and entrepreneurship. One thing’s for sure, the concrete jungle has ideal conditions for developing Hip Hop legends, like our beloved Ja Rule; who we all know is “always on time” with exactly what the culture needs. The New York native has gifted yet another jewel to Hip Hop, the Vibes Concert Series: an immersive experience in which iconic artists such as Raekwon and Ghostface of the Wu-tang Clan perform their treasured body of work. It’s a chance for the pioneers to not only showcase their genius but give the world a peek into the strokes. Industry Rules sits with Ja Rule to discuss the Series and learn more about the man who always seems to be ahead of the curve.
RA: Vibes Concert sounds like a super dope experience. You’ve said it’s like behind the music meets storyteller. How did the idea come about?
JR: I just wanted to do something dope for Hip Hop, for the culture. I wanted to give artists their flowers. These are artists who deserve to be enshrined in the industry. These are legendary artists, iconic artists. It’s [disheartening] because in Hip Hop, there’s like a sense of cannibalism. We eat our own in Hip Hop. When you’re old, we’re ready to throw you away. In other genres there are artists that are up in age, and they are legends and icons. So, I don’t want Hip Hop to be any different. I want to give all of our legends, icons, and some of my personal heroes, that stage to shine and to get their flowers. It’s a way to show the younger generations where it came from and how it started. So that, ultimately, they can keep the torch going.
RA: What is the vibe of the Vibes Concert? How does it work?
It’s very similar to those shows that you see that are concert series, but it’s also its own thing. It’s artists doing their classic albums. That really dope body of work that we all love. A lot of the time, they never get to perform those records that we love the most. I did my album first, “Pain is Love”, and I did records that I never performed; and it felt so good. It’s also refreshing for the artist, to be able to perform some of these records that we haven’t performed in years, or never performed before. The story behind the music are also a big part of it. How did you come up with some of these records? What was the thought process? What were you going through when you made this crap? All those things are part of the Vibes.
RA: When can the masses experience this Vibes?
The concerts will be streaming exclusively on Iconn Live, you can get the App at the apple store and the Apple TV store. Get your subscription to Iconn originals so you can watch.
RA: From the Iconn Live app, to NFT investing, to now the Vibes Concert. You seem to be an innovator. Where do you think you got your entrepreneurial spirit from?
It comes from the inner child in me I guess, always wanting to be creative. I tell innovators and creators “never grow up on the inside! You gotta grow up on the outside, but on the inside you gotta keep that inner child. You know that curiosity that children have. That imagination to stretch things, to find things, and to figure out things. Those things you can’t let die.” For me, I keep those things alive in my body, in my soul, in my spirits. It keeps me creative and keeps me wanting to do the next thing, or to find out what could be the next cool thing that people will gravitate towards. To me, the only thing close to that is having children; watching your children grow in your image, and repeating the things that you’ve said, and then growing into your mini me. Having an idea and seeing it through, there’s nothing more fulfilling.
RA: I also think that New York breeds a lot of entrepreneurs. How do you feel about the New York rap scene now and the New York Drill scene?
Hip Hop has its changes every few years. It goes through a metamorphosis, you know, it’s no different with the drill scene. I like some of it, and some of it I don’t love. I’m 46 now so I can’t love everything, but I try to keep an open mind. I got kids and they keep me young and fresh and into what’s going on. I listen to a lot of music, all genres, you know I get it. But we have a responsibility too in Hip Hop, in that we have to realize that music is very influential to young minds that are impressionable. I realize that now. I didn’t when I was 20 years old, so I’m also not super critical, but I do realize we have a responsibility.
RA: You obviously know a thing or two about making a classic. What does it take to create music that stands the test of time?
I don’t know, you know because it wasn’t a conscious effort. I was just making music that I felt in my heart. One thing I would say that I did consciously; I don’t date music in ways of naming cars or things that put you in a time, where it’s like okay this had to be made in the 2000s. I try not to leave those kinds of trails, but relationships will never grow old so that’s why my music has aged very well.
The Iconn Live app can be downloaded via the App Store or wherever you get your apps. The app features timely updates and past performances of the Vibes Concert Series. You can continue to follow Ja Rule via Instagram @JaRule.