Venni, Vetti, Vecci: 20th Anniversary

Ja Rule: Venni, Vetti, Vecci
Def Jam Records 1999

By: Mic Cool

Just over 20 years ago in late 90’s, Jeffrey Atkins aka Ja Rule appeared on Mic Geronimo’s “Time To Build”.

Rising producer Irv Gotti already put his stamp on Jay-Z with production on Jigga’s Reasonable Doubt. Then he helped groom a young and hungry DMX, but his eyes were fixated on Ja Rule. Irv wanted to get Rule out of his TVT deal and needed him to go solo. There was a video station called “The Box” where if u called in the most times your video would get played. Irv called in multiple times to play the first Ja Rule video “Holla Holla”. This would go on to be Ja’s first single, but before that was officially released, Rule on was Jay-Z’s smash single “Can I Get A” along side Amil to be featured on the rush hour soundtrack. Irv Gotti originally had this beat reserved for Ja, but Jay liked it so much that he needed it as his next single.

Critics continuously compared Ja Rule to DMX and 2pac. This is something that would ignite a minor feud between DMX and Ja. Irv Gotti had great working relationships with both Jay-Z and DMX and they were supposed to form a supergroup with Ja Rule called “Murder Inc.”, but egos got in the way. A couple of songs on Venni, Vetti, Vecci had all three artists on it. The Hard Knock Life Tour started in 1998 while all three artists were hot. Def Iam signed Ja off of the strength of DMX and Jay-Z’s deals. Def Jam allowed Irv Gotti to create a sub label called Murder Inc. He then signed Ja Rule as his first solo artist.

Enter 1999, June 1st to be exact, and the release of the much anticipated debut album from Ja Rule is released. Venni, Vetti, Vecci opens up with “The March”, an intro that hypes up the first song; “We Here Now” witch unloads with lyrical fury . Irv did all the production on the album. “World’s Most Dangerous” and “Let’s Ride” were catchy as hell, thus The Inc. finally had a sound . Wherever they wanted to take it. “Holla Holla” was ahead of its time . “Kill em all” had Jay-Z on the hook. “Nigguz Theme” was about brothers hating on each other. “Suicide freestyle” featured R&Bb singer Case, and had a biblical theme going off top. “Story to tell” was a journey like Slick Rick tale. “Count On Your Niggas” is as tale about loyalty. “It’s Murda” is the quintessential posse cut with Jay-Z and DMX… they ran it no doubt. “E-Dub and Ja” was a bit surprising. You wouldn’t think it would happen, but Erik Sermon and Ja Rule went bar for bar. “Murda 4 Life” featured Roc-A-Fella Records second in line, Memphis Bleek. This track was so strong that it was also featured on Bleek’s freshman album. The heartfelt “Daddy’s Little Baby”, featuring Ron Isley is about his first born daughter. “Race Against Time” would question immortality, while “Only Begotten Son” closes out the LP in true fashion, with its religious theme intact claiming once and for all…Ja came, he saw, he conquered…Venni, Vetti, Vecci.

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Why did Tupac create Makaveli?

Tupac Shakur Makavelli
Apple Music
By Mic Cool

In November of 1996, 2 months after he was killed, Tupac Shakur released his first posthumous album under the pseudo name Makaveli entitled Tha Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. 

Let’s start with why 2pac went under the alias Makaveli for just this album in 1996. When incarcerated at Clinton Correctional facility circa 1995 he read a lot of books one influenced him the most; The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli. Machiavelli was an Italian philosopher from the Renaissance Era whom is credited with the creation of modern political science. In his book The Prince, Machiavelli described immoral behavior, such as dishonesty and the killing of innocents, as being normal and effective in politics. The book gained notoriety due to claims that it teaches “evil recommendations to tyrants to help them maintain their power”. This is basically the philosophy of lying, cheating, or doing whatever you need to get ahead or to control your power over others. Due to the anti political message, The Prince made Machiavelli the target of the state leaders of the time, this lead to the belief that Machiavelli faked his own death in order to trick his enemies into thinking he was dead witch is another reason people believe 2Pac is still alive. 

In 96 he released a crowning achievement “All Eyez on me” a double disc but months later Tha Don Killuminati: the 7 Day Theory was recorded in six days and written in three, showcasing 2Pacs tremendous work ethic. Now something else that’s interesting is in the title; “Don Killuminati”. Supposedly the illuminati was and is a secret group within the entertainment business sacrificing artists if they don’t bow to their orders hence kill the Illuminati or, Killuminati. 2pac at the time was trying to end the East vs West war and leave Death Row Records, stopping the violence by bringing peace. Although he was still in a battle against Bad Boy Records, he claimed this was only meant to boost sales and create controversy.

This LP represented his artistic resurrection. Known for being very tounge in cheek it opened up with a scathing dis record “Bomb First” (My 2nd Reply) fresh off the heels of “Hit em up” it goes hard, sending shots at a lot of East side/ New York artists such as the Notorious BIG, Junior Mafia, Puff Daddy, Nas, Jay-Z, and Mobb Deep. The next track was the prolific “Hail Mary” where he details his demise, eerily he died 2 months earlier in September in Las Vegas at a Mike Tyson boxing match. “Toss it up” featured the R&B duo K-Ci and JoJo, a follow up to the smash hit “How Do U Want it”. Track 4 “To Live and Die in L.A.”, described why he loved Los Angeles, California and why he wouldn’t mind dying there. “Blasphemy“ questioned religion and why god would allow evil to happen to the urban community for so long. “Life of an Outlaw” and “Just like Daddy” are both posse cuts with his road dogs The Outlaws, telling everybody who they were while talking that thug literature. “Krazy” was a heartfelt song asking his mom for forgiveness and celebrating the homies he lost to the struggle. “White Manz World” pretty much was him saying the white man, the government, the cops, do nothing but harass African Americans and they were fighting back. “Me and my Girlfriend” is the original Bonnie and Clyde. Talks about a girl down to ride with him, or as many interpreted, he was talking about his gun. “Hold ya Head” gave hope for the future while “Against All Odds” not only closed out the album, it bottom lined his attitude after being shot and double crossed. 

Makaveli was 2Pacs fifth studio album, released just nine months after the iconic double disc, All Eyez On Me. This was the third of three albums he owed Death Row Records to fulfill his contract. The RIAA has certified Tha Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory 4x Platinum. 

Rest in paradise 2pac, thug life lives on.