Rapper Ja Rule is readying his first release since 2009’s free digital download, The Mirror.

In an interview with MTV and XXL (footage below),  the rapper explained that his next project would no longer be titled Venni Vetti Vecci 2010.

“I changed the name of my album from Venni Vetti Vecci 2010, first of all, Venni Vetti Vecci  was my baby; that was my first album,” explained Ja regarding the title change. “You can never duplicate that era in time. That was my whole life’s work in that album up until that time.”

Ja Rule then explained that a trip overseas gave him some perspective about the direction of his next album. “And then number two, I went to Africa  — it took on a hold of me, when I was doing my album and the whole project, what I was going through right now, with the new beginning, I’m not with Murder Inc. anymore, but they’re still the family. I’m on my own venture, so it was a sign of a new beginning, new ambitions, new everything. They built this statue out there, it’s called The Renaissance, and it’s a statue of a man holding his baby on his shoulders with his wife in his arms, pointing to the heavens. To me, it just symbolized what I’m about right now and just the word — fresh start, I said that’s what I want to call my project, The Renaissance Project and it represents what I’m about…”

(September 11, 2010)

UPDATE: Today (January 3, 2011), Ja Rule tweeted that his seventh album will release before his upcoming prison sentence:

Renaissance Project will be dropping before I go in #Supportrealhiphop!!!less than a minute ago via TwitBird