Always On Time
by Ja Rule (featuring Ashanti)

Album: Pain is Love (2001)
Charted: 6 1

Songfacts®:

  • This tale of relationship trials and tribulations was the first hit that the then little-known Ashanti was involved with. Ja Rule had originally planned to record this as a solo song, before Murder Inc boss Irv Gotti persuaded him to collaborate with Ashanti.
  • This became Def Jam's top selling single.
  • "If you listen to the track, it had these chords that just punch you right in the face," says Ja Rule, who handpicked the tune from five instrumental tracks written by producer 7 Aurelius. Irv Gotti didn't like it, but Ja didn't have time to argue, as the track was on its way out to Brandy.
  • With Pain Is Love being his third album, Ja Rule was under pressure to use a big-name artist for the single, but he had other ideas. "I wanted this to be fresh and new," he told Billboard magazine, "and Ashanti was fresh and new." The success of the duet launched Ashanti's solo career through Murder Inc, starting with the smash it "Foolish."
  • Ashanti's first public performance was singing this with Ja Rule on Saturday Night Live.
  • This is the second hit duet of the year for Ja Rule, who also landed a #1 with Jennifer Lopez for "I'm Real" (and again for "Ain't It Funny" that summer). Says the rapper: "I feel I took the hip-hop duet somewhere else. It was always an R&B and rap fusion. It was the rapper doing a 16-bar verse on an R&B record or maybe an R&B person singing the chorus. I do a little harmonizing when I rap, so I took it a little further. Ashanti is on the record just as much as I am."

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