Throwback Thursdays Vol 29

Not only have the past 28 throwbacks helped Heads alike reminisce on old school hip-hop, but arguably more importantly, it has educated the ‘newbies’ amongst us on where the genre has grown (or declined) from and highlighted the artists important in shaping its direction.

We have covered all time greats, undisputed for their contributions to the genre; lesser known artists; and finally artists who don’t get the credit they deserve.

Up this week is Ja Rule. An artist touched on briefly in TT 8, yet on the strength alone of this track deserves his own TT dedication. This is the track to silence any of Ja Rule’s critics.

1999 and Ja’s debut LP Venni Vetti Vecci, alongside DMX’s It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot signaled a greatly welcomed shift from Diddy and Mase’s ‘Shiny Suit Era’. Featuring a slay of Murda Inc and Def Jam counterparts and a solid late 90′s crisp array of production saw VVV attributed with mostly positive reviews amongst critics. Its partial success saw Ja Rule propelled quickly into the limelight alongside Jay-Z and DMX whom he would tour with in order to promote his work. Just over a year later saw Rule’s second release in the form of Rule 3:36 and the decline of Ja as we know so well. But that isn’t what today’s TT is about.

Only Begotten Son appeared at number 19 of Ja’s debut 20 track album. After much of the same previously this track appeared from nowhere and showecased a side of Ja Rule his audience were yet to see: a vulnerability.

A deep, cinematic intro sees Ja’s amended rendition from John 3:18 before a beautifully piano-laced beat eases in and we are guided into the opening lines of the track’s chorus. Ja then lays down three powerfully painful verses aimed at his father in which he accuses him of  neglect growing up. Ja proves that he is as capable with the pen as he is with the mic because after several listens you realise Only Begotten Son draws strong parallels with the relationship of Christ and God…

First Verse:

” Why would you leave somethin you love here to die
In the cold
And it grows
Like a concrete rose
Beautiful ain’t I?
Till I withered and died
In them same streets you left me in
Screamin Lord let me in
I don’t know where to begin
Since I lost yo love
But then again your love
Was strictly for the drugs
I dont know whether to hug
Or to fill you with slugs
Fuckin them whores
Instead of claiming what’s rightfully yours
Pierced a hole in my heart from all the pain you caused
With no direction you left your first born lost
Give or take a few
Cause my hate for you
Grew, over the years
Through blood, sweat, and tears
I wanted to be just like you
My father figure, now I want to fight you
You bitch nigga, left me ‘lone
And parts of me never out grown
The fact that you left home
But moms was so strong
Don’t let them get you fed
This world is yours she said
Now nothin is stoppin me but two to the head
In life there’s more to come when it’s all said and done
You lost one love, your only begotten son ”

For me, this track is not only the centerpiece of the album but of Ja’s misguided career. It forms part of my top 10 tracks of all time and is Ja’s ‘Fuck You’ to any of his doubters.

Ja Rule – Only Begotten Son

Murray’s BDK Rating:ger

Up Next Week…

A track I promised from one of the genre’s earliest pioneers in alternative hip-hop.

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