A native of Hollis, Queens, 21-year-old Ja-Rule, otherwise known as Jeff Atkins began his career guesting on Mic Geronimo's "Time To Build," the b-side to "Masta I.C." in 1995. From that Blunt/TVT Records appearance, the gravel-voiced MC was able to land a deal for his group, the Cash Money Click, on the same label. Unfortunately, the trio, which also featured MCs Nemesis and Chris Black, only dropped one single, "4 My Click/Get The Fortune," before Chris Black was incarcerated.
After that, Ja's career experienced a three-year lull until he signed with Def Jam in 1998. One reason for the delay was his difficulty in extricating himself from his deal with Blunt/TVT. Irv Gotti, who executive-produced Mic Geronimo's first album The Natural secured a meeting with Def Jam head Lyor Cohen, who was so impressed with Ja that he hired Gotti as an A&R representative.
Ja is now seeing double-duty as a member of both DMX's Ruff Ryders camp and Jay-Z's Roc-a-Fella click.
He is also a member of the super-group Murder Inc., which includes X and Jay-Z , named for the Gotti-headed Def Jam imprint.
In 1998, Ja put in some guest work on a few Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam releases: "Murdergram" on Jay-Z's Streets is Watching Soundtrack, Jay-Z's "Can I Get A..." and "Gangsta Shit" from DJ Clue's The Professional. His debut solo album Vetti, Venni, Vecci was released in 1999. The leadoff single "Holla, Holla" went gold and the video features Ja frolicking in Rio De Janiero with a plethora of scantily-clad women and Ja and Gotti cruising the streets in a souped-up lowrider. Ja was also a part of Def Jam's Hard Knock Life Tour, the highest grossing rap tour in history.
After Chris Black is released from prison there are plans for another Cash Money Click album. Nemesis is also working on a solo project.