Rapper Ja Rule Sentenced To Prison In NYC Gun Case

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Multiplatinum-selling rapper Ja Rule is going to prison, but he’s leaving fans with an album on the way.

The rapper-actor — whose gravelly voice, thuggish tough talk and duets with R&B divas made him one of rap’s stars in the early 2000s — was sentenced Wednesday to up to two years in prison stemming from a gun case.

Ja Rule, 35, pleaded guilty in December to attempted criminal possession of a weapon, resolving a nearly 4-year-old case. “My last day out,” he tweeted Tuesday afternoon, adding that he was spending it at the movies with his family.

Police said they found a loaded .40-caliber semiautomatic gun in a rear door of his $250,000-plus Maybach sports car, which they’d said they’d stopped for speeding as he left a star-laden concert at Manhattan’s Beacon Theatre on July 22, 2007.

Rap superstar Lil Wayne was arrested separately after headlining the same show. He later pleaded guilty to the same charge, spending about eight months in a city jail last year.

“Laws are laws,” Ja Rule said Monday on Good Day New York. “There’s nothing I could really do but own up to the situation.”

“You know, I try not to regret anything I do in life, because you go through life and you do things, and you man up to them. You own them,” he added.

Born Jeffrey Atkins, Ja Rule emerged as a hardcore rapper in the late 1990s but then became known for his collaborations with female pop singers, including Jennifer Lopez and Ashanti. He scored a best rap album Grammy Award nomination in 2002 with “Pain Is Love.” He also has appeared in movies, including the 2001 film “The Fast and the Furious” and 2003’s “Scary Movie 3.”

He’s recently been wrapping up a new album, “Pain Is Love 2,” but also has been trying to prepare himself mentally for prison. He lives in Upper Saddle River, N.J., with his wife and three children.

Meanwhile, he also pleaded guilty in a New Jersey federal court in March to failing to pay taxes on more than $3 million in income. He faces up to three years in prison in that case, though his lawyers are expected to try to arrange for his sentences to be served at the same time.

Ja Rule had some previous brushes with the law, including pleading guilty to assault for punching someone at a Toronto nightclub in 2004. He was fined $1,200.

He recently told TMZ.com he plans to keep busy behind bars by writing a book, getting his GED and possibly taking up the guitar.

“I’m gonna try to make good of my time while I’m inside,” he said.

Wednesday’s sentence made him the latest in a long line of rappers to do time. Hip-hop stars including Tupac Shakur, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Shyne, Mystikal, Gucci Mane and T.I. have been in jail or prison for periods ranging from months to years.

Under state prison policies, Ja Rule might be able to shave up to six months off his sentence by meeting requirements for good behavior and other standards.

What do you think of Ja Rule’s stint in prison? Will he “thug it out?” Sound off in our comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Geraldine Cruz

    I am a huge fan of JA and murder Inc. I just hope he hurries up and does good and gets his fine ass back out hear so I can bump his music. So in love. Everyone is just a bunch of haters!

  • Mrs. I. Understand

    As a mother of 4 sons I never allowed the sounds of rap music in my home. I did not condone it simple because of the graphic lyrics and the exploitation of young scantily clad young women in their videos.
    At the end of the day it’s sad when the young people glorify these young men, I don’t see the postive role model influence that they should be putting out.
    The rappers generate a great deal of money and live in mansions based on the sales of albums yet the young people learn nothing other than to be violent, use vulgar language and disrespect women because the women allow it. Hopefully this will again be a learning lesson for him, don’t carry a weapon and if necessary hire a body-guard who is permitted to do so.

  • MIssing him already

    Mr. Atkins is a fine role model for all of our young teens. He has shown them how to be upstanding citizens thanks to his outstanding lyrics.

    He has also taught today’s youth the importance of marketing, as he enters jail with a new album, which will sell quite well with his young fan base.

    His honoring his mistakes makes him a hero, given the denial of wrong postured with the likes of Anthony Weiner, Arnold Scwharzenegger, and Jim Tressel.

    What would this world be like if it weren’t for the likes of Ja Rule, T.I., Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne, Chi Ali, Tragedy, Prodigy, Turk, Numskull, Shyne, DMX, Black Rob, Mystikal, Husalah Death, Pimp C, Lil Kim, C-Murder, Foxy Brown, Maino, Ras Kass, Remy Ma.

    Fine upstanding musicians … I mean poets …. I mean orators, who have been circuitously sidetracked because of a little jail time, but will be missed like so many other sexagenarians such as my wife and myself.

  • Sarah Palin

    Didn’t he go to jail with Steven Segal in Half Past Dead?

  • MrJones

    He’ll be Rhym”in and tim’in.

  • nyc

    Another roll model for young black children going to prison ! There are soo many of these rappers making a ton of money and their criminals ! We live in such a violent society now ,it’s scary. Values are all off or gone. We are fudged up ! I ‘m glad to have experienced growing up in the 60″s.

    • MrJones

      I take it the hope change thing isn’t working for you either.

  • http://thecryptojournalist.wordpress.com The Cryptojournalist

    Don’t worry. Jeff Atkins will be singin’ Murda’ Murda’, you know it’s Murda’ Murda’, we singin’ Murda Murda’ Murda’


  • bushman

    why didnt he just get a license? with all that money he could of easily gotten a full carry handgun license.very easy to get when u a music star

    • jtorres

      For the same reason Plaxico Burress, Lil Wayne and every other “star” don’t get a license. They think they are too special to actually follow the law like the lowly peons do. God forbid. I’m glad he’s got to do time like everyone else…except Lindsey Lohan



  • Bored

    Mr. Atkins is 35, and still hasn’t taken the greatly-simplified GED exam?

    All these “performers” are boring and obnoxious. When will the public demand someone who can sing, not just constipatedly grunt endless obscenities?

    • jack

      I agree, all this music sounds the same, basically a modern day minstrel show for white suburban kids and any other moron who would purchase this garbage…they’re literally clowns on stage and have zero talent

      • jackdontknowish

        Your an idiot, you classify this music as purely appealing to white suburbinites and morons yet have never spent the time listening to political hip hop artist who focus on impacts in society. Before you want to categorize all “rappers” as the same research your assumptions.

  • Troy Reichman

    Dude is known to be a punk on the streets, his career didn’t take off
    until he started imitating the sound of another successful artist. But he’ll
    either spend his time in prison in a low-security camp, or more likely in
    Admin Segregation due to his celebrity status. If he does, by chance, end up in General Population, he’s got enough money to pay for protection…

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