Sounds like Murder Inc.'s heavy-hitters from the early 2000s are coming back to kill the game with some new music. "Always on Time" collaborators Ja Rule and Ashanti are going to record a joint album, Ashanti confirmed to Entertainment Tonight at the BET Awards on Sunday, June 24.
"Listen, me and Rule, it's so funny because we've been talking about that for so long, but I think now he's like, 'OK, now it's time to do it,'" Ashanti told Entertainment Tonight. "So we're going to carve out the time and make it happen."
Ja Rule, who also dropped hits like "Mesmerize," "Wonderful" and "Down 4 U," with the singer, seemed to be inspired the success of another famous duo's recent collaborative effort. After Beyoncé and JAY Z released their surprise album, Everything Is Love on June 16, Ja Rule fueled the rumors, tweeting, "Iconnic [sic]... The Carters... New album is dope!!! @ashanti I think we should do one of these joint albums haha." The "haha" left fans skeptical, but Ashanti's confirmation was music to their ears.
Of course, it hasn't been so long since Ashanti and Ja Rule gave us a nostalgic reminder of their past musical mashups. Back in 2016, the duo linked up again to record "Helpless" for Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton Mixtape, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
During another video interview with Entertainment Tonight last November, Ashanti also revealed that Hamilton's Eliza was inspired by her relationship with Ja Rule. "So when me and Ja went to see the play and went backstage, I was just like, 'Oh my gosh, that's crazy!'" she said "So [Miranda] was really emotional just seeing both of us. It's like his vision came to life. It really was such a moving experience because for him to say that we inspired the play is crazy."
In case you were wondering: That relationship has always been platonic though. "I don't know what it was with us two," she added. "From the first time we met, it was like, 'Oh, that's my brother!' 'Oh, that's my sister!'"
Ashanti has said it's their "organic," "natural," and "really genuine" chemistry that makes them such a natural pairing. And regardless of how much time passes, she told Billboard last year that they can always come right back to where they started:
"Like, me and Ja could not see each other for months or years, but when we get onstage, it looks like we've been hanging out all day, every day. Sometimes, we dress in the same color and we won't know. I was looking at some of our footage, and one of the shows we did in Australia — it was the last show — I had on all-white and he had on black and white, and we were like, "Oh, what the? What just happened?" [Laughs] We be on the same wave."
While it was naturally a difficult decision, she also told Billboard that if she had to pick her top three favorite collaborations with Ja Rule, they would be: "Always on Time," "Mesmerize," and "Down 4 U."
The man who's one-half of the power couple who apparently inspired this upcoming joint album was once super close to also collaborating with Ashanti on "Foolish," her 2002 hit single. "Initially, Irv [Gotti] had called JAY-Z to come and rhyme on the bridge of "Foolish,"" she added. "Jay was ... in the car and on the way to the studio to record it with me." According to the singer, Gotti, who founded Murder Inc. Records, called JAY-Z 10 minutes later and said she was "going to hold this whole record on her own."
Since then, Ashanti has certainly proven she can do just that as a solo act, but fans of her and Ja Rule's past hits certainly will be looking forward to the duo's upcoming blast from the past.