Ja Rule with Jaid Barrymore in February 2005
|Birth name||Jeffrey Atkins|
February 29, 1976 |
Queens, New York City, New York, U.S.
|Origin||Hollis, Queens, New York, U.S.|
|Occupation(s)||Rapper, singer, actor|
|Labels||Mpire Music Group, Fontana Distribution (current)
Def Jam (Former)
Murder Inc. (Current)
|Associated acts||DMX, Wanessa, Ashanti, Mary J. Blige, Irv Gotti, Memphis Bleek, Jay-Z, Lil Mo|
Born in Hollis, Queens, he debuted in 1999 with Venni Vetti Vecci and its single "Holla Holla". From 1999 to 2005, Ja Rule had several hits that made the top 20 of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, including "Between Me and You" with Christina Milian, "I'm Real (Murder Remix)" and Ain't It Funny with Jennifer Lopez, which both topped the US Billboard Hot 100, the Grammy-nominated #1 hit, "Always on Time" with Ashanti, "Mesmerize" also with Ashanti, and "Wonderful" with R. Kelly and Ashanti. During the 2000s, Ja Rule was signed to The Inc. Records, which was formerly known as Murder Inc. and was led by Irv Gotti. Due from his hits with his fellow collaborators, Ja Rule has earned four Grammy nominations, and has earned six top-ten albums, two of which Rule 3:36 (2000) and Pain Is Love (2001), topped the US Billboard 200. He is also known for some well-publicized feuds with other rappers, in particular 50 Cent and Eminem.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Music career
- 2.1 Venni Vetti Vecci (1999)
- 2.2 Rule 3:36 (2000)
- 2.3 Pain Is Love (2001)
- 2.4 The Last Temptation (2002)
- 2.5 Blood in My Eye (2003)
- 2.6 R.U.L.E. (2004)
- 2.7 Hiatus, departure from Def Jam and The Inc. Records (2005–2009)
- 2.8 The Mirror and Mpire Music Group (2009)
- 2.9 Pain Is Love 2, prison, book, television show, and Genius Loves Company (2012–present)
- 3 Acting career
- 4 Other ventures
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Feuds
- 7 Discography
- 8 Awards and nominations
- 9 Filmography
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Atkins was born in the Queens borough of New York City. He was raised as a Jehovah's Witness by his mother, health care worker Debra Atkins, and grandparents. When Atkins was five, his mother gave birth to a stillborn baby named Kristen, leaving him as an only child. (He talks about Kristen in the song "Daddy's Little Baby.") Atkins attended Public School 134 in Hollis, a school he has described as having a predominantly black student body. He said he got into many fights at the school because of his small size, so his mother transferred him to Middle School 172 in Glen Oaks, which he described as a "white school". Atkins earned his GED in February 2012.
Atkins began his rap career in 1993 with his hip hop group Cash Money Click. He told Curtis Waller of MTV News that his stage name "Ja Rule" came from a friend who addressed him by that name; other friends called him "Ja". In 1995, he made his first appearance on Mic Geronimo's "Time to Build", which featured Jay-Z and DMX, who were also in their early stages of their careers. In 1998 he had signed with Def Jam, and along with Amil, he was featured on Jay-Z's hit single "Can I Get A...", for which Ja Rule wrote the hook. It was going to be a Ja Rule solo song, until Jay-Z heard the track. Allowing Ja to attend the successful Hard Knock Life Tour alongside Jay-Z, DMX, Method Man, Redman, & DJ Clue?.
Venni Vetti Vecci (1999)
Ja Rule's debut album Venni Vetti Vecci was released in 1999, peaking at number 3 on the Billboard 200 with 184,000 copies sold in its first week. It eventually reached platinum status in the US due to the popularity of the hit single, "Holla Holla", which reached #35 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Rule 3:36 (2000)
Ja Rule returned in 2000 with his new single "Between Me and You", which featured Christina Milian. "Between Me and You" would end up getting Top 40 airplay and reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single "Put It on Me" featuring Vita and Lil' Mo reached number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video for "Put It on Me" also topped the MTV Video Countdown for a week.
The second album, Rule 3:36, was released on October 10, 2000. It debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 with 276,000 copies in its first week, making it Ja Rule's first number one album. The album would be certified triple platinum by the RIAA.
Pain Is Love (2001)
Ja Rule released his third studio album, Pain Is Love on October 2, 2001. It is considered to be Ja Rule's most commercially successful album of his career. The album spawned three top 10 singles, two of them reaching number 1. The first single, "Livin' It Up", featuring Case, reached number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single "Always on Time", which featured Ashanti, ended up being Ja Rule's first number 1 hit to top the Billboard Hot 100. The remix of Jennifer Lopez's "I'm Real" which features Ja Rule, also topped the Billboard Hot 100. Like its predecessor, Pain Is Love topped the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 361,000 copies and was certified triple platinum by the RIAA. The album would also receive a Grammy nomination in 2002 for Best Rap Album. By 2007, 3.6 million copies of Pain Is Love had been sold.
The Last Temptation (2002)
The Last Temptation, Ja Rule's fourth album, was released on November 19, 2002. It featured two hit singles; "Thug Lovin'" (peaked at number 42 on the Billboard Hot 100), and "Mesmerize" another duet with Ashanti (peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100). The Last Temptation debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 237,000 copies and was certified Platinum by the RIAA in December 2002.
Blood in My Eye (2003)
Ja Rule's fifth album Blood in My Eye, was released on November 4, 2003 under the "Murder Inc." label, which renamed itself "The Inc." several days after the album release. The album was originally planned to be a mixtape, but Murder Inc. had ordered Ja Rule to release an album each year based on the requirements of his contract. The album was described as a "hate" album, directed at artists on G-Unit/Shady/Aftermath. It spawned one hit single, "Clap Back" which reached number 44 on the Billboard Hot 100 and had won him a Source Award for "Fat Tape" song of the year. It peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, selling 139,000 copies in its first week of release. It has since sold over 468,000 copies in the U.S. In October 2003, Ja Rule met with Minister Louis Farrakhan, who wanted to intervene and prevent escalating violence in the feud between Ja Rule and 50 Cent.
Ja Rule's sixth studio album R.U.L.E. was released in November 2004 debuting at number 7 selling 166,000 copies in its first week of release. Its lead single "Wonderful" featuring R. Kelly and Ashanti peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single was followed by the street anthem "New York" featuring Fat Joe and Jadakiss which charted at number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100. The third single was the love song "Caught Up" featuring Lloyd which had failed to make an impact on the Billboard Hot 100. The RIAA certified R.U.L.E. Gold on January 14, 2005, and by October 2007, the album had sold 658,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Hiatus, departure from Def Jam and The Inc. Records (2005–2009)
On December 6, 2005, The Inc. released Exodus, a greatest hits album whose only new tracks were the song "Me" and intro and outro tracks. Exodus was the last album on Ja Rule's contract with The Inc. After the release of this compilation, Ja Rule took a hiatus from recording music.
Meanwhile, in 2005, The Inc. Records had come under investigation because of drug trades by Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, who was associated with Irv Gotti. This led to Def Jam Recordings refusing to renew The Inc.'s contract. From 2005 to 2006, Gotti searched for other labels, until finally reaching a deal with Universal Records (part of the same company as Def Jam).
The Mirror and Mpire Music Group (2009)
After leaving Murder Inc. Records in 2009, Ja Rule founded his own independent label, Mpire Music Group and recruited new artists while still maintaining friendship with Irv Gotti. The Mirror was to be Ja Rule's seventh album and set for a 2007 release date. However, due to poor reception to singles (partly believed to be due to his beef with 50 Cent), it was pushed back. Tracks from the album leaked online, leading Ja Rule to re-record the album. He eventually decided to release it as a free download in 2009.
Pain Is Love 2, prison, book, television show, and Genius Loves Company (2012–present)
In February 2011, it was announced that Ja Rule had started working on another album called Pain Is Love 2, naming it after the original 2001 triple platinum album (Pain Is Love). It was planned to have production from the producers on the original Pain Is Love album in order to "recreate magic". Most of the production would be done by 7 Aurelius (who co-produced "Down Ass Bitch"), while Irv Gotti was the executive producer of the album. He had planned on releasing it June 7, although later decided to delay the release date in order to allow more time to perfect the "level and quality of the records" and to avoid "doing an injustice to [his] fans".
Pain Is Love 2 was then slated for an October 11, 2011 release, but was pushed back to February 28, 2012. To make up for the delay, Ja Rule released a new track called "Falling to Pieces" which was produced by 7 Aurelius. The song samples The Script's "Breakeven". On October 2, 2011, another track called "Spun a Web" was released, which was also produced by 7 Aurelius and samples Coldplay's "Trouble". The following day a teaser music video premiered on YouTube and the official music video was released on October 11. Pain Is Love 2 was finally released on February 28, 2012, but by that time Ja Rule was serving a two-year sentence in prison for gun possession.
Also at the time Ja Rule was working on Renaissance Project which was to be a follow up album to Pain Is Love 2, however the album would eventually get scrapped. Recording sessions for the album took place primarily at Mpire Studios in NYC Studio during 2008 to 2011. Production was handled by Rule and several others, including Benzino, 7 Aurelius and Buck 3000. Most of the tracks that were originally meant for the Renaissance Project were transferred over to Pain Is Love 2.
Ja Rule was set to be released from prison on July 28, 2013, but on May 7, 2013, he was released early. He then announced that a new album is on the way and he is getting offers from major labels and artists wanting to collaborate with him. N.O.R.E announced that Ja will be on a remix to one of the tracks off his latest album, Student of the Game. He is then set to go out on his "40 Days, 40 Nights" tour. He was featured on the remix to the track "She Tried" which features Lil Wayne and Birdman, which is off N.O.R.E's latest album Student of the Game. On September 18, 2013, Ja Rule released a track titled "Fresh Out Da Pen". The track had first premiered on Hot 97. A few days later he released another new track called "Everything". Both tracks were produced by Visionary producers, Reefa and Myles William. On September 27, 2013, both of those tracks were released on iTunes for digital download. In September 2013, it was confirmed that Ja Rule and Irv Gotti have relaunched Murder Inc Records. In 2014, Ja Rule had released a memoir titled Unruly: The Highs and Lows of Becoming a Man, in which he reflects on his past struggles with a difficult adolescence in New York City and everything that followed, from breakout success and destructive rivalries to fatherhood and a two-year prison sentence. In July 2014, Ja Rule announced that his ninth studio album called Genius Loves Company will be released in 2015 Also in 2014, it was announced by MTV that Ja Rule alongside his family will star in the upcoming reality show Follow the Rules which was co-produced by Queen Latifah. A sneak peak trailer of the show surfaced on the internet in September 2014 and the show is set to premiere in 2015.
Aside from rapping, Ja Rule has established a career as an actor. His first film was a buddy movie with Pras, Turn It Up; he appeared in a minor role in The Fast and the Furious. he appeared in several movies including Back in the Day with Ving Rhames and Pam Grier and Half Past Dead as Steven Seagal's co-star. He also starred in the movies The Cookout with Queen Latifah and Assault on Precinct 13. In 2013, he starred in I'm in Love with a Church Girl.
In May 2015, Ja Rule made his first business venture by partnering with Billy McFarland (entrepreneur), the CEO of Magnises, a credit card service company to become the creative head and spokesman of that company
Ja Rule is a Christian. Ja Rule became a Christian in 2013 when he was promoting the movie I'm in Love with a Church Girl. Ja Rule has spoken about his faith saying, "I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing. I don't want people to misconstrue what I'm doing here. I'm taking baby steps, and I want to get closer to God. I feel it's something you should do in life."
In 2003, he allegedly punched a man in Toronto, who later sued. The issue was settled out of court.
On July 1, 2004, Ja Rule was arrested with Don Rhys for driving with a suspended license and possessing marijuana.
In July 2007, Ja Rule was arrested for gun and drug possession charges along with Lil Wayne, and Don Rhys who served eight months in prison during 2010 for attempted possession of a weapon stemming from the arrest. New York Supreme Court judge Richard Carruthers rejected Ja Rule's argument that the gun was illegally obtained evidence. On December 13, 2010, Ja Rule received a two-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to attempted possession of a weapon after the aforementioned 2007 concert. On March 8, 2011, Ja Rule's surrender date for his two-year prison sentence was set for June 8. His publicist said that Ja Rule will turn himself in to authorities. He went to Rikers Island first, then he was sent to a state facility in Upstate New York.
In July 2011, Ja Rule received an additional 28-month prison sentence for tax evasion, to run concurrently with his state term, failing to pay taxes on more than $3 million in earnings between 2004–2006. He was released from state prison on February 21, 2013, but was immediately taken into federal custody for the tax case, for which he had less than six months remaining on his sentence. Ja Rule was held in Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center and was set to be released on July 28, 2013. Ja Rule was released from prison early on May 7, 2013.
Before signing with Interscope Records, rapper 50 Cent engaged in a well-publicized feud with Ja Rule and his label Murder Inc. Records. 50 Cent claimed that the feud began in 1999 after Ja Rule spotted him with a man who robbed him of his jewelry and also because of Ja Rule "trying to be Tupac". However, Ja Rule claimed the conflict stemmed from a video shoot in Queens because 50 Cent did not like Ja Rule "getting so much love" from the neighborhood. A confrontation occurred in a New York studio where rapper Black Child, a Murder Inc. artist, stabbed 50 Cent, which resulted in him having three stitches.
In his book, 50 Cent details how Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff tried to resolve the conflict between him and Ja Rule. Allegedly, McGriff asked 50 Cent to leave them alone because of the money involved. 50 Cent insinuated the conflict had something to do with the shooting where he was ambushed and shot.
Since then, Black Child publicly insulted 50 Cent twice in "There's a Snitch in the Club", and "You the Wanksta". In both songs, Black Child details violent actions directed toward 50 Cent. The exchange of insult tracks released from both parties culminated in Ja Rule releasing Blood in My Eye, which was an album that returned additional insults to 50 Cent. Ja Rule eventually tried to quash the feud with 50 Cent by using minister Louis Farrakhan in a televised interview. However, the attempt at peace lost credibility as the interview was scheduled a day before Blood in My Eye was released. As a result, most fans, along with 50 Cent, dismissed the interview as a blatant publicity stunt. Because of the ongoing feud between the two, 50 Cent's labelmates Eminem, Dr. Dre, Obie Trice, D12, DMX, and Busta Rhymes also became involved and released tracks which insulted Ja Rule.
Ja Rule later released R.U.L.E. with the successful single "New York" featuring Jadakiss and Fat Joe in which Ja Rule took subliminal shots at 50 Cent. This single prompted 50 Cent to enter a feud with the two featured artists (see article on "Piggy Bank" for details).
Although it seemed that the feud was over, Ja Rule returned with a track entitled "21 Gunz". In response, Lloyd Banks and 50 Cent released the track "Return of Ja Fool" on Lloyd Banks' mixtape Mo Money in the Bank Pt. 4, Gang Green Season Starts Now. 50 Cent claimed in 2010 that Ja Rule's beef with him and Shady/Aftermath ruined Ja's career saying, "We just ripped the nigga apart and he hasn't and can't come back from it."
In an interview with MTV, Ja Rule stated that his album, The Mirror, would not be continuing any past feuds that he has engaged in. He said:
There was a lot of things I wanted to say, and I didn't want there to be any bitter records on the album. Because I'm not bitter about anything that happened [in the past few years].
In May 2011, it was confirmed that both Ja Rule and 50 Cent ended the feud. Ja Rule said, "I'm cool. We ain't beefing no more. We'll never collaborate. That's just what it is. You don't have to be at war with somebody, but it's also kind of like U.S. and another country that they may not get along with. We don't gotta go to war, but we're not friends either. But we can coincide inside of a world. He's doing him, and he's not thinking about me, and I'm doing me and I'm not thinking about him."
In September 2013, in an interview with Angie Martinez on The Angie Martinez show on HOT 97, both Ja Rule and Murder INC CEO/ Producer Irv Gotti acknowledged 50 Cent not only took a toll on Ja Rule's prominence, but along with the Federal Indictment, damaged Murder Inc as a music label. Both Ja Rule and Irv Gotti explained an experience of when they both first heard 50 Cent's single, In Da Club, on the radio and stated the record was "so dope," they had a problem. During the interview, the duo also explained a few experiences surrounding the rap feud including being blackballed from various award shows where the feuding rapper would perform. Both rappers went on to say 50 Cent was a hustler and liked his entrepreneurial mentality and they have no problems with him 10 years on. Ja Rule plans to write a book surrounding the whole experience. 
The conflict escalated when Ja Rule released "Loose Change", in which he insulted 50 Cent, called Eminem by the name "Feminem", called Dr. Dre bisexual, and claimed that Suge Knight knew of Dre "bringing transvestites home". The song also includes lyrics that insulted Eminem's family (most notably his daughter) and acquaintances. After the "diss" track mentioned earlier, Eminem made the song "Go To Sleep" with Obie Trice and DMX and "Do Rae Mi" with his group D12 respectively.
Busta Rhymes joined the conflict when he was featured on the track "Hail Mary 2003" with Eminem and 50 Cent. The song, which is a remake of Tupac Shakur's song "Hail Mary", was done partially as a response to Ja Rule's remake of Tupac's song, "Pain" (re-titled "So Much Pain"). The rappers felt Ja Rule could not compare to Tupac, and so they made the track, mocking him for trying to "imitate" the deceased rap icon. Eminem prevented Ja Rule from appearing on any of the "new" Tupac songs he produced, including those on Loyal to the Game.
In October 2002, rapper Foxy Brown dismissed reports of recording a track with rivals Nas and Ja Rule that was "potentially" a diss to Jay-Z. During a Thanksgiving week in 2002, while on Doug Banks In the Morning, Ja Rule stated that he "[couldn't] stand Foxy Brown." Brown reportedly heard Ja Rule's comments via a radio while she was helping her mother clean her house. Going against her manager's wishes, during her own interview with Doug Banks, Brown informed Banks that she was "flabbergasted" by Rule's comments and criticized the hosts for setting her up by throwing her name in a manner like: "What do you think of Foxy?" Brown further solidified that she was angry at Rule's response, primarily because she never met him.
The incident provoked Brown to record the unreleased, "Get Off Me". In the record, Brown targeted Ja Rule and Eve and lashed homophobic remarks by denouncing Rule as "a faggot ass rap dude". In 2005, Ja Rule and his two bodyguards were initial suspects in the killing of Willie "Willie Bang Bang" Clark, whom authorities linked as a "revenge" that stemmed back to a robbery case involving Foxy Brown's brother. In 2007, in the midst of Foxy Brown's indictment for assaulting a prisoner, radio hosts asked Ja Rule what his words would be toward Brown if he saw her in jail. Rule responded: "Aww man. Hold ya head ma, you'll be alright. Shit."
In January 2003, while co-hosting 106 & Park: Prime, singer Lil' Mo sent a shout-out to 50 Cent, just seconds after she premiered a Ja Rule video. The incident sparked an outrage with Ja Rule and the Murda Inc. clique. Mo had told the press she assumed BET was going to edit out the shout, furthermore she didn't think the gesture would cause such an uproar. In response, Ja Rule released the diss track "Loose Change," which targeted Eminem, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Chris Lighty and Lil' Mo. Rule rechristened Mo as a "bitch", and credited himself as the reason why she had any hits. Mo refused to fire back, stating that she "had better things to do." However, in May 2003, Mo released a freestyle diss to Ja Rule, where she rapped, "Used to be my homie, used to be my ace, now I can't stand you, yeah I wanna slap the taste out your mouth."
In April 2003, additional controversy surrounding lack of recognition and payment for Lil' Mo's contributions on records "I Cry" and "Put It on Me" was brought to attention. Mo told MTV News, "Those two records ["I Cry", "Put It on Me"] ruled 2001. The whole world knows that [...] If I speak the truth, I can't apologize. I helped that brother sell 3 million records, and I don’t have a plaque [for Rule 3:36]." Mo went on to contrast the situation with Jay-Z, where the Brooklyn-native rapper gave Mo recognition; a plaque, a thank you card and a bottle of Cris for her work on "Parking Lot Pimpin'". In 2005, Lil' Mo filed a lawsuit against Ja Rule, Murda Inc. and Def Jam Records for over $15 million. In 2010, the two reconciled. Lil' Mo stated that she ended the dispute due to the declination of Ja Rule's career and noted that "life is too short [...] You just never know what people are going through." In 2011, the two reunited and recorded a track together titled, "U & Me".
- Studio albums
- 1999: Venni Vetti Vecci
- 2000: Rule 3:36
- 2001: Pain Is Love
- 2002: The Last Temptation
- 2003: Blood in My Eye
- 2004: R.U.L.E.
- 2009: The Mirror
- 2012: Pain Is Love 2
- 2015: Genius Loves Company
- Compilation albums
Awards and nominations
|2001||Put It on Me||Source Hip-Hop Music Award - Single of the Year||Won|
|Put It on Me||MTV Video Music Awards - Best Rap Video||Nominated|
|2002||I'm Real (Murder Remix)||MTV Video Music Awards - Best Hip-Hop Video||Won|
|Always on Time||MTV Video Music Awards - Best Hip-Hop Video||Nominated|
|Ja Rule||American Music Award - Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist||Nominated|
|Put It on Me||Grammy Awards - Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group||Nominated|
|Pain Is Love||Grammy Awards - Best Rap Album||Nominated|
|Livin' It Up||Grammy Awards - Best Rap/Song Collaboration||Nominated|
|Ja Rule||World Music Awards - World's Best-Selling Rap Artist||Won|
|Ja Rule||BET Awards - Best Male Hip-Hop Artist Artist||Won|
|Ja Rule||GQ Men of the Year Award - Musician of the Year||Won|
|Ja Rule||Teen Choice Awards - Male Artist of the Year||Won|
|Ja Rule||NAACP Image Awards - for Best Rap/Hip-Hop Artist||Won|
|Pain Is Love||Soul Train Music Award - Best Rap/Soul or Rap Album of the Year||Nominated|
|2003||Thug Lovin'||Source Award - R&B/Rap Collaboration of the Year||Won|
|Ja Rule||American Music Award nomination for Favorite Hip-Hop/R&B Male Artist||Nominated|
|Always on Time||Grammy Awards nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration||Nominated|
|2004||Clap Back||Source Award - Phat Tape Song of the Year||Won|
|2009||Fly||MTV Video Music Brasil - Hit do Ano (Song of the Year)||Nominated|
|2000||Turn It Up||David 'Gage' Williams||Alongside Jason Statham and Pras.|
|2001||The Fast and the Furious||Edwin||Plays a supporting role as a street racer.|
|2002||Half Past Dead||Nicolas 'Nick' Frazier||Though a sequel was made, Ja Rule did not star in it.|
|2003||Pauly Shore Is Dead||Himself|
|2003||Scary Movie 3||Agent Thompson||Minor role|
|2004||The Cookout||Bling Bling/Percival Assmackey|
|2004||Shall We Dance||Hip Hop bar performer|
|2005||Back in the Day||Reggie||Alongside Ving Rhames|
|2005||Assault on Precinct 13||Smiley||Supporting role|
|2006||South Beach||Donnie Fox||T.V. Series "The S.B."(episode 7)|
|2008||Ja Rule:2005||Himself||A concert from his 2005 European tour, plus bonus tracks and interviews.|
|2009||Just Another Day||Himself|
|2009||Don't Fade Away||Foster|
|2009||Kiss and Tail: The Hollywood Jumpoff||Himself|
|2010||Wrong Side of Town||Razor||Alongside wrestlers; Batista & Rob Van Dam|
|2012||The Cookout 2||Bling Bling||Sequel to The Cookout|
|2013||I'm in Love with a Church Girl||Miles Montego||His real son plays the younger version of himself, Miles.|
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The first school I went to was all-black, PS 134. I used to fight every day, and got my ass kicked every time, so my mom figured I should be bused out — you know the busing thing in Boston? So they bused me on out to a white school, MS 172, where it was a little bit better. I didn't have any black friends there, but I learned how to deal with that situation and get along.
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- [dead link]
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