“Always on time”, the Ja Rule track about relationship trials and tribulations, featuring Ashanti is cemented in relationship hall of fame as one of the songs that lover’s mixtapes were made of.
The song was the first hit that the then little-known Ashanti was involved with. Ja Rule had originally planned to record this as a solo, before Murder Inc boss Irv Gotti persuaded him to collaborate with Ashanti.
The track went on to become Def Jam’s top-selling single.
“If you listen to the track, it had these chords that just punch you right in the face,” says Ja Rule, who handpicked the tune from five instrumental tracks written by producer 7 Aurelius.
Irv Gotti didn’t like it, but Ja didn’t have time to argue, as the track was on its way out to Brandy.
With his third album “Pain is love”, Ja Rule was under pressure to use a big-name artist for the single, but he had other ideas.
“I wanted this to be fresh and new,” he told Billboard magazine, “and Ashanti was fresh and new.”
The success of the duet launched Ashanti’s solo career through Murder Inc, starting with the smash hit “Foolish.”
Ashanti’s first public performance was singing this with Ja Rule on Saturday Night Live.
This is the second hit duet of the year for Ja Rule, who also landed a #1 with Jennifer Lopez for “I’m Real” (and again for “Ain’t It Funny” that summer).
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