If you were born after 2000, you likely are too young to know the hits of Ja Rule and Ashanti, but for those of us that grew up with those songs, the Natural Born Hitters Tour is a match made in heaven. The trek kicked off with two shows in one night in the heart of Time Square at PlayStation Theater in New York City. We had the chance to attend and cover the first show which was completely sold out and one hell of a party.
There was no separate Ja Rule set or Ashanti set, from the get go they graced the stage together to perform “Wonderful” a song they originally did with R. Kelly back in 2004. Ashanti had her time to shine with her backup dancers and then a very in shape, shirtless Ja Rule came onstage for his time deliver some “Thug Lovin’.” This back and forth collaborative concert was a treat for fans and shows the musicianship and respect both artists have for each other.
Hits were cranked out one after another as fans danced and sang to “Livin’ It Up,” “Between Me and You” and “I’m Real” just to name a few. A highlight of the night was when Ja Rule performed “Put It On Me” and Vita who is featured on the actual song came out onstage. The sold-out crowd sang whole versus to the Queens rapper, “Since we met it’s been you and I / A tear for a tear, baby eye for an eye / And you know that my heart gon cry / If you leave me lonely / ‘Cause you not just my love you my homie / Who’s gonna console me / My love / I’m outta control hold me / My love / Cause I’m yours” and Ja Rule was all smiles from ear to ear because of the energetic crowd.
Ashanti is a force to be reckoned with onstage, not only does she dip it low and bring it up slow but her impressive melodic vocal chops filled the venue continuously throughout the night. She spoke to the crowd and connected with them about relationships and the hardships that come with it. While many were excited to hear her perform her anthem “Foolish” a great moment of her set was when she unleashed “The Way That I Love You.” Her soul filled the room and with wavering note she captured eardrums and hearts alike.
The first show ended with their notable collaboration “Always On Time” and even though they ran a little late at the beginning, it was well worth the wait. Both Ja Rule and Ashanti have not aged in looks or in their energy and talent. Their music continues to make people sing, dance and feel well over a decade later. Fans will be waiting for tentative albums from both artists, Ja Rule’s forthcoming Coup de Grace and Ashanti’s upcoming Chapter VI.
If Ashanti and Ja Rule roll through your city be sure to check them out, click the button below for a full list of dates. Check out our photo gallery above of Ja Rule and Ashanti performing in New York City!