Editor’s note: This concert, scheduled for Jan. 19, has been postponed until April 19.
Ja Rule’s voice is a special, gruff thing. The New York City rapper always had a seasoned and worn style of rap-singing, even when he first emerged on the scene with his debut album nearly 20 years ago.
Now Rule has attained a kind of real-life venerable status. He had numerous hits in the aughts. You may remember “I’m Real.” He did some time in prison for tax evasion and weapons charges. He came out and wrote a memoir and some songs that touched on the experience. He’s become a film actor, and his family has been the subject of a reality show.
Ja Rule may have been ahead of his time in blending in semi-sung refrains with bragging verses. The warm rasp of his voice might warrant comparisons — strictly in timbre — to Louis Armstrong. Rule’s hit “Put It On Me” is weird, with peculiar intonation paired with a slashing dissonant piano backing part that sounds almost like Indonesian gamelan. Rule has been saying that his forthcoming album, said to be called “Coup De Grace,” will be his last.
Ja Rule performs at the Webster Theater, 31 Webster St., Hartford, on Friday, Jan. 19, at 7:30. Tickets are $36 and $40. 860-525-5553 and webstertheater.com