As part of Complex’s “Magnum Opus” series, Ja Rule, Irv Gotti, Lyor Cohen, and a handful of other music industry insiders discussed the creation of Ja’s “Put It On Me,” and the moments that led to the record being created.

The Inc founder Irv Gotti first touched on Ja Rule’s contributions to Jay Z’s “Can I Get A,” which was featured on the Brooklyn, New York rapper’s Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life album. According to Irv, Ja Rule wrote the hook to the song, and initially wanted it on his own album.

Irv went on to explain that when Ja Rule’s Venni Vetti Vecci album didn’t bring in the numbers they had hoped for, Ja blamed the lackluster sales on “Can I Get A” not being featured on his album.

“The minute he rapped I was blown away…He said ‘Just give me the record and we can put Ja on it. And you gon’ break Ja,’” Irv Gotti said. “I said ‘Let me ask Ja.’ I said ‘Ja, what you think?’ It’s no disrespect to Jay Z in any way, shape, or form. He gave ‘em the hook, the bounce to it. And then Jay wrote his verse. And he wrote Amil’s verse, so Ja didn’t write his verse, but Ja wrote the hook. And we gave him the aura of the record…Ja would get in interviews and he would openly say ‘If he had ‘Can I Get A’ that could have been my other single. And what it did for Jay it could have did for me.’ And he wasn’t wrong in saying that, but Jay didn’t like that.”

According to Ja Rule, with his second album he completely switched up his style and focused on making more mainstream records. He says “Put It On Me” was a song written with his wife in mind.

“After the first album, I’m being compared to a wannabe DMX, a wannabe Tupac,” Ja Rule said. “So, I go through that. So, I say ‘You know what? The second album I’mma do something that nobody’s expecting.’ So, I grow my hair out…DMX and Pac don’t look nothing like this. So, I changed my look…This is the mother of my children. This is the woman that I love. She’s not understanding this whole ish right now. I’mma make a record that talks directly to her. Because for me, being a recording artist, what better way to express yourself to your woman or to the world then through song? But when I heard the beat, it came to me like that. ‘What would I be without you?’”

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