Ja Rule and How Twitter Forces Comedic Fiction Into Reality

(@ruleyorkcity via Instagram)

It doesn’t matter what you say. Did you say it first? Did you say it loudly? Did people think the mere thought of your statement being true was entertaining? Then congratulations, you own the truth. You just dictated reality for thousands, perhaps millions, of people in 2019 because you gave them the (funniest/saddest/most controversial/most believable) version of it available.

Fuck you.

This is Twitter culture. While there are many subcultures on Twitter, it’s obvious the platform has a collective vibe. A mob mentality more fickle than Minnesota weather. Twitter decides who and what it likes and dislikes based on the latest headline, then decides what is true and false about these entities based on its latest feelings. Complex, a leading online publication highly aware of how this all works, tapped into a dormant yet powerful undercurrent of Ja Rule contempt yesterday. Shameful is an understatement to describe their targeted harassment of the artist.

The clip is of Ja Rule introducing himself to a crowd of Milwaukee Bucks fans as the headliner of a 90s-themed halftime show in Fiserv Forum. Based on the clip shared by Complex, there was dead silence in response to Ja’s crowd-warmup efforts, including a lighthearted joke about headlining a 90s show as a 2000s artist which appeared to fall flat. The audio, even in Ja Rule’s speaking, sounds a bit distant.

It didn’t take long for a number of phone-recorded clips from fans who attended the game to surface in the replies of Complex’s tweet. Every other clip shared from the halftime show features clear audience responses to Ja Rule.

Also considering Complex’s clip is procured from actual TV footage, the capacity for them to have edited the audio versus fans uploading from their phones is much higher (in case anyone cares that much about verifying this shit).

Was he bringing the house down? No. But the cheap Fyre Festival and 50 Cent jokes wouldn’t come as quickly to a post captioned, “Ja Rule gave Milwaukee Bucks fans a cool little set for nostalgic 90s night.”

Speaking of Fyre Festival, it is well-documented knowledge that Ja had nothing to do with the fraudulent financial and marketing activity that led to its downfall. And as far as 50 goes, his commitment to high levels of pettiness make him an easy person to cast as the protagonist when he’s fucking with someone that Twitter is either neutral about or dislikes. Given his long history with Ja Rule—including dethroning Ja as hottest hip-hop artist in the early 2000s decade—any trendy pop culture news source knows trash Ja Rule takes drive crazy engagement numbers.

In the same way I know Breitbart editors laugh at people freaking out over their thinly-veiled lying and fear-mongering, I’m sure Complex’s editors chuckle and say “Nice work” at the sight of a piece of content like the latest clowning of Ja Rule. But what are we? What is news and information these days other than our favorite brands’ opinions—or bold-faced lies—about what actually happened? And to a source as big as Complex, what is news and information other than giving people the best story to talk about?

People haven’t necessarily changed because of Twitter culture—the average adult will go to impressive lengths to protect their opinions and beliefs about the world. The only thing that has changed is our ability to make what we wish was true actually true.

All this Ja Rule mockery proves is that people want him to continue being a laughingstock. Despite his unfortunate PR, the truth is he isn’t nearly as pathetic as we paint him out to be. It’s one thing if a celebrity constantly abuses their platform to manufacture clout (e.g. Soulja Boy, Logan Paul). It’s another when people are super-gluing negative stories on a person’s public image to justify the shitty jokes they safely tell behind a screen.

Millions of young American adults can name several Ja Rule hits off the top of their heads. Not many of us can pick out a time Ja Rule has actually embarrassed himself. All of Ja’s worst moments in the public eye since his fall from hip-hop/pop royalty (i.e. Dave Chappelle’s monologue, 50’s emergence, Fyre Festival, 50’s continued trolling) have been the work of others either using him as a punching bag or unfairly taking his name down with them.

The fact Ja Rule hasn’t truly lashed out at the countless lames who get life from playing with a man’s reputation is impressive to me. There is so much more Twitter can be used for. Instead, this is what I have to spend my time writing about. Thanks for reading.


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