Ja Rule Questions Why Prosecutors Are Targeting Rappers With RICO Charges

Ja Rule on Uncensored (Credit: TV One)

According to Ja Rule, hip-hop artists are being unfairly targeted by prosecutors for rapping about “sh–t that they’ve seen.”

The rapper will be featured on this weekend’s episode of the TV One interview series Uncensored.

In addition to talking about his life and career, Ja Rule slams prosecutors around the nation for using RICO charges — the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act  — against rappers.

“Just think about this. They put RICO charges, RICO, on rappers. It was created for the mafia to be able to get lower-tier criminals to give them the same charges as the f–ing bosses,” Ja Rule says in a preview clip for Uncensored. “What the f–k does that have to do with music, and hip hop and rappers?”

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RICO charges allow for extended criminal penalties and prosecutors are using rap lyrics as evidence, a practice Ja Rule says is unfair.

“Ninety percent of the rappers, the s–t that you hear them rapping about is sh–t that they’ve seen, they may have experienced in their lives, but they’re not doing it, per se. I can sympathize with this because I understand it.”

He mentions how his former music label, Murder Inc. Records, was targeted by federal agents in 2003.

“We went through the same thing, this is how our charges were brought against us — money laundering, racketeering, like real mob charges for a record label,” Ja Rule says.

Other hip hop insiders have been targeted as well.

In 2022, prosecutors filed RICO charges against Atlanta rappers Young Thug and Gunna, along with 26 of their associates from “Young Slime Life” (YSL), a rap collective which prosecutors allege is a violent street gang.

Gunna pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge in December 2022 “to end my personal ordeal,” but maintained his innocence. He was sentenced to five years in prison, with four years suspended. The remaining year was commuted to time served and he was released, according to Atlanta news station WSB-TV.

Young Thug is currently on trial.

Ja Rule has previous convictions for weapons possession and tax evasion, and last month was denied entry into the United Kingdom because of his criminal record. But he says he’s not a gangster.

You can hear more from Ja Rule this weekend on Uncensored.

The series is executive produced for TV One by Eric Tomosunas, Keith Neal, Jay Allen, and Nikki Byles. Rachel Valley produces for Swirl Films.

The episode airs Sunday, March 10 at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT.