We're pretty positive that everyone has heard about the disaster that was Fyre Festival by now. It seems to be the only thing that everyone's talking about since it happened a couple weeks ago. In case you missed it - Fyre Festival has been an idea that's been brewin' since 2015, when an entrepreneur named Billy McFarland met Ja Rule
- New York hip-hop extraordinaire, who has at least one song on all of your #TBT Spotify playlists - and the two shared a love of small airplanes and rap music. They promised Fyre Festival would be a tropical getaway to a private island in the Caribbean for a weekend full of incredible acts and "the best in food, art, music, and adventure."
Well, it wasn't any of that. It ended up being a complete shit show and numerous lawsuits have been filed against Ja Rule and McFarland. Well, now "It's Murda" for the rapper's career. So just for the hell of it - let's take a look at the rollercoaster of a career Ja Rule has had leading up to the disaster of Fyre Festival.
The Queens-born rapper signed to The Inc. Records (at the time called Murder Inc. Records) and in 1999, he released his debut album Venni Vetti Vicci
, which featured Ja Rule's first big single, "Holla Holla." The following year, Ja Rule released the follow-up to his debut album by dropping Rule 3:36
and Ja Rule quickly entered the peak of his career. On his sophomore album was "Between Me And You" with Christina Milian and "Put It On Me," which both kept the rise of Ja Rule's career on a steady incline.
At this point, Ja Rule was definitely feelin' like a million bucks. He had multiple songs on the Top 40 and Billboard Top 100 lists but when he dropped Pain Is Love
in 2001, Ja Rule finally topped charts with a number 1 single on the Billboard Top 100: "Always On Time" featuring Ashanti. Also on Pain Is Love
was "Livin' It Up" featuring Case, which also made it to number 6 on the chart. When you release three albums back-to-back with chart hits, it's hard to keep that momentum going.
The next few albums Ja Rule released is where we start to see his fame and success heading downhill. He went on to release three more albums, all with maybe
a hit on each - one of which being "Ain't It Funny" with Jennifer Lopez and "Mezmerize" with Ashanti. That's SIX albums in SIX years - at this point, Ja Rule was just asking to burn out. And so he did. In 2005, he decided to take a hiatus from making music. At the same time, The Inc. Records was under investigation for drug trades and Ja Rule left Murder Inc. This is when things became pretty sad for Ja Rule.
Just when he started to get back into music, Ja Rule was sent to prison for two years for tax evasion and illegal gun possession. In prison, Ja Rule's wife, Aisha Atkins, started rumors about her hubby saying that he was having relations with his cellmate. Which circled around the internet pretty quickly. Ja Rule's reputation and career was hangin' on by a thread. Before and after serving time in prison, Ja Rule attempted acting in a few movies - but nobody really remembers him in any of them (except for his tiny part in Fast And The Furious
). Poor dude.
Then we get to 2016, when Ja Rule and McFadden founded Fyre Media Inc. Fyre Festival was set for the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May. The two did everything wrong leading up to the festival so naturally, they were just setting themselves up for failure. They ended up blowing millions of dollars on celebrity endorsements and marketing that they had no money left to pay for the actual festival. They paid Kendall Jenner $250,000 to post one single Instagram post promoting the festival.
When the weekend arrived, festival goers showed up to a muddy island with no loading dock, minimal lighting and no proper plumbing, only to find relief tents with mattresses as their "luxury" accommodations. The "celebrity-status chefs" were whipping up sandwiches with just bread and flimsy, plastic-looking cheese and the attendees quickly became worried about their safety. Ja Rule and McFarland were so behind on paying the weekend's acts that artists and bands were immediately dropping out.
Ja Rule has multiple million dollar lawsuits filed against him for that weekend. And it seems like they just keep rolling in, accusing Ja Rule and McFarland of everything (even for providing bloodstained mattresses). Festival attendees said the organizers brought them to a remote island without proper food, water, shelter or medical help. Some said Fyre Festival was more like the Hunger Games
than Coachella and organizers spent the entire weekend slowly evacuating attendees off the island on tiny planes to go back to Miami. What a nightmare.
Basically, there's an extremely large chance that Ja Rule won't come back from this disaster. After his career peaked in the early 2000s, it's been all downhill for the Queens rapper. You had a good run though, Ja Rule. And "Ain't It Funny" will always have a special place in my heart.