Ashanti Recalls Double Take With Ja Rule at Hip Hop Honors

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John Kennedy / October 16, 2009

During Tuesday (October 13) night’s airing of VH1’s Hip Hop Honors, viewers watched today’s rappers do their best impressions of Def Jam icons, but one of the night’s most notable storylines was Ja Rule and Ashanti’s onstage reunion.

The two former Murder Inc. headliners took the stage to revive their hits “Down Ass Chick” and “Always on Time,” the duo’s first joint performance in years.

“[Ja] reached out to me,” Ashanti told VIBE Wednesday night, a day after the tribute show aired. “We were talking on the phone back and forth for a week or two before the show, and when we saw each other at rehearsals the first time in a long time he gave me a big ol’ hug. It was back to years ago. It felt good to be on stage [together].”

As feel-good and historic as it was, however, TV viewers actually watched the tag team’s second taped performance. Due to an audio malfunction, the first play of the classics was scrapped and Ashanti and Ja hit the stage for an unscheduled encore.

“I don’t think it was [DJ] Chuck Chillout’s fault, but something happened with the music to where it started [sounding like] chopped and screw. It was just like, wahh wahh!” Ashanti recalled, imitating Houston’s lethargic music effect. “I was like, ‘Whoa, what happened?’ I would’ve just automatically stopped, but I just saw that Ja kept it moving and they kept the record going so I was like, ‘OK, I’ma go with it’.”

She continued, “It threw Ja off for the verses. And the timing, everything was off, off, off. So when we finished, I was backstage, like ‘We gotta do this over.’ There’s no way we were going out like that!”

Another un-televised moment from Hip Hop Honors was the hatchet burying between DMX and Ja Rule. Ashanti had already split–the singer/actor had to do early-morning radio the following day to promote the 70th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, as protagonist Dorothy–but she was glad the on-and-off-friendly MCs made peace.

“I heard they made up. I was so happy,” Ashanti said. “Me and [DMX have] always been cool. We took a trip to Africa one time together and we were on the flight for, like, 100 hours. I was always like, it’s kind of awkward with, you know, where I was and who I was and then whatever it is that [Ja Rule and DMX] had between each other. So I was glad to see that they made up. That shows we can unite in hip-hop.”

Eminem, Foxy Brown, Kid Rock, Mary J. Blige, Method Man, Redman, Ludacris, and Scarface were among the nostalgic night’s many performers. -John Kennedy

Watch Ja Rule and Ashanti’s performance from VH1’s Hip Hop Honors here: