Photographer: Roger Erickson.
Each song on Ja Rule's 11-track Icon anthology reached the Top 11 of Billboard's R&B Singles chart. It's a rare budget-line release that can claim a straightforward approach to its selections. Unless you factor the absence of songs headlined by other artists that feature the MC -- such as the Murder Mix of Jennifer Lopez's "I'm Real" -- there are no objections to be made, not when the disc is clearly aimed at casual fans. Icon summarizes a remarkable run of roughly five years, from 1999's "Holla Holla" through 2004's "Wonderful," when Ja Rule was one of the most commercially successful crossover rap artists. ~ Andy Kellman