“I Just Want To Get Closer To God”: Ja Rule On The Struggle To Balance Rap And His Faith, And Why He Disapproves Of Mase’s Return To Hip-Hop
Last year, Ja Rule revealed that after getting out of prison and working on the movie I’m In Love With A Church Girl, he gave his life to God. Yes, he got saved. At the time, he made it clear that such a change didn’t necessarily mean that he was going to do Christian rap or anything like that: “I don’t want people to get confused. I’m not going to be putting out a gospel album.” But since then, he’s admitted that sometimes he feels conflicted about doing rap and trying to uphold his faith.
In an interview with The Breakfast Club late last week, he spoke on life since he decided to be souled out for Jesus, his past as a Jehovah’s Witness, how this new walk has impacted his music, and why he doesn’t want to end up like Mase.
His Past As A Jehovah’s Witness:
Ja Rule used to be Jehovah’s Witness but his mother was banished for “associating with worldly people” and because she couldn’t live according to the religion. She was cut off from the family…until Ja blew up and became a household name as a rapper. When that happened, they welcomed him and his mother back with open arms again: “I was just happy to see my moms happy again, to have her mother back in her life again and have her brother back in her life…I just wanted my family to be one again.”
“When I went to jail and came home I kind of reconnected with God by doing the I’m In Love With A Church Girl movie. We did like a church tour. I reconnected with God in a different way. I was going to these churches: We went to T.D. Jakes, Smokie Norful, all these different churches we were going to. They were great churches, but I didn’t feel like they were talking to me–until I went to Hillsong right here in the city. A pastor named Carl Lentz came out on stage and started preaching. I kid you not, the church was inside a club. They turn the club into a church on Sunday. You walk inside of the church and it’s dark in there. The disco ball is still in there and you see the lights and you’re like ‘Damn, this is different.’ Then you get in there and everybody is dressed just like you. Dressed like us right now. It really gave me the feeling of come as you are. It was a a different type of crowd. Then the pastor comes out, Carl Lentz, and I kid you not, Envy, he had on what you got on right now. When I seen him he had some Js on, jeans and a T-shirt. He started preaching, and I felt him. I felt like he was talking to me. And I got saved at that church, me and my wife got saved. I had to push her up on the stage like, “Cmon we going to do this together, I ain’t going to do this alone [laughs]”
Feeling A Little Confused/Conflicted About The Right Path To Walk:
“I started speaking to Carl, and I’m like, ‘I don’t know how to do this or take this because you know what I do for a living. I’m not gonna start making gospel records.’ He told me, ‘Ja, take baby steps. Walk in YOUR path.'”
Why He Can’t Get With Mase’s Way Of Doing Things:
“I’m confused. He’s confusing me. I don’t know how to take it because I’m like ‘is that allowed?’ I don’t know. I’m not saying I’m the gospel, great godly man. I’m not the authority to speak on these situations. It don’t feel right [within his own spirit] and I don’t know if that’s accepted in the church. I know when he came back last time he went back to the church. He did a big sermon, he got like a preacher voice and everything, it was the funniest s**t. He was talking about how he came back to the industry because he wanted to test himself. It was crazy but yo, they stood up and were clapping. I’m very confused by what Mase is doing. I don’t know if that’s cool or not. I wouldn’t play with the Lord like that, and that’s why I told Carl and let him know, ‘I took this walk but I’m not ready to go all the way.’ I’m still making rap music and I’m still going to do my music and do it where it feels good to me. I still want to do music and I still want to act. I saw Jamie Hector [Marlo from The Wire] and he’s a church dude. I didn’t know that. So I’m like, alright, so you can be in the movies and curse and everything and still go to church and be cool? I don’t know what’s cool and not cool and I just want to make sure I’m doing the right thing. I don’t want people to be on my Twitter like, ‘I thought you was a holy roller?’ I don’t want people to misconstrue what I’m doing here. I’m taking baby steps and I want to get closer to god. I feel like it’s something you should do in life. I’m a very spiritual dude and I feel like you should have your one-on-one with God. And I get the whole church thing…but I was against it for a long time.”
The whole interview is great, but you can check out his thoughts on his faith and more around the 27:00 mark.