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Pain Is Love is the third studio album by American rapper Ja Rule. Produced by Irv Gotti, it was released on October 2, 2001, by Murder Inc. Records, Def Jam Recordings. The album received a mixed reception from critics. Pain Is Love debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and was supported by four singles: "Livin' It Up", "I'm Real (Murder Remix)", "Always on Time" and "Down Ass Bitch". It was certified triple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for selling over 3,000,000 copies. The sequel of the album, titled Pain Is Love 2 (2012).

Pain Is Love
An image of a shirtless man wearing a white doo rag with the album title tattooed on his left chest breast, standing behind a red brick wall.
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 2, 2001
GenreHip hop, R&B
ProducerIrv Gotti, Lil' Rob, Ty Fyffe
Ja Rule chronology
Rule 3:36
Pain Is Love
The Last Temptation
Singles from Pain Is Love
  1. "Livin' It Up"
    Released: July 3, 2001
  2. "Always on Time"
    Released: October 30, 2001
  3. "Down Ass Bitch"
    Released: March 19, 2002


Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [2]
The A.V. ClubUnfavorable[3]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[4]
HipHopDX     [5]
Los Angeles Times    [6]
Rolling Stone     [9]

Pain is Love received generally mixed reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 59, based on 10 reviews.[1]

AllMusic's Jason Birchmeier praised the album for fine-tuning the formula set by Rule 3:36 of having R&B crossover singles and hardcore rap tracks to balance out the whole record.[2] An editor from HipHopDX said that hardcore tracks like "Dial M for Murder" and "Worldwide Gangsta" felt like forced attempts to bring back Ja's thug persona, but praised the album for having tracks that contain ear-grabbing lines and good beats, saying that "Pain Is Love is another positive establishment that will indeed create more popularity and more fan acknowledgement for Ja Rule."[5] Steve 'Flash' Juon of RapReviews found Ja's singing voice on some tracks intolerable but gave the album credit for containing tracks that display Irv Gotti's producing talents and Ja's adequate lyricism, concluding that, "Ja Rule will live up to the latter half of his name and dominate the charts for the latter half of 2001 with an album that is undoubtedly his most solid release to date."[8]

Soren Baker of the Los Angeles Times gave credit to the singles "Livin' It Up" and "I'm Real" for being the album's strong points but criticized tracks like "The Inc" and "Worldwide Gangsta" for being bland and less effective, saying they "recycle hard-core themes without adding any clever phrasings or creative beat work to compensate for their ordinariness."[6] Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club criticized the album for lacking substance to go with the catchy pop hooks and Ja for making what they perceive as failed attempts to copy 2Pac, specifically on the penultimate feature track "So Much Pain" concluding that "even at less than his best, 2Pac still conveys a sense of urgency and purpose that illustrates incontestably the huge chasm separating the real deal from a canny imitation."[3]

Commercial performanceEdit

Pain is Love spawned two number one hit singles, debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart with sales of 361,000 copies in the first week and was certified multi-platinum in the United States.[10] It also received a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album in 2002 but lost to OutKast's Stankonia.[11]

Track listingEdit

1."Pain Is Love (skit)" 1:18
2."Dial M for Murder"Irv Gotti, Ty Fyffe3:32
3."Livin' It Up" (featuring Case)Irv Gotti, Lil' Rob4:17
4."The Inc." (featuring Caddillac Tah, Black Child & Ashanti)Irv Gotti3:56
5."Always on Time" (featuring Ashanti)Irv Gotti4:05
6."Down Ass Bitch" (featuring Charli Baltimore)Irv Gotti, 7 Aurelius5:31
7."Never Again"Irv Gotti4:19
8."Worldwide Gangsta" (featuring Caddillac Tah, Black Child, Boo & Gotti)Irv Gotti3:20
9."Leo (skit)" 2:18
10."I'm Real (Murder Remix)" (featuring Jennifer Lopez)Irv Gotti4:12
11."Smokin' & Ridin'" (featuring Jodie Mack & O-1)Irv Gotti4:51
12."X" (featuring Missy Elliott & Tweet)Irv Gotti5:02
13."Big Remo (skit)" 0:19
14."Lost Little Girl"Irv Gotti5:00
15."So Much Pain" (featuring 2Pac)Irv Gotti, Lil' Rob5:03
16."Pain Is Love"Irv Gotti5:04
Sample credits

"Dial M for Murder"

  • "Castle Walls" performed by Styx

"Down Ass Bitch"

"Livin' It Up"

"Pain Is Love"

"Pain Is Love (Skit)"

"So Much Pain"



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[25] 3× Platinum 300,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[26] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[27] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[10] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Reviews for Pain Is Love by Ja Rule". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Birchmeier, Jason. "Pain Is Love - Ja Rule". AllMusic. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Rabin, Nathan (October 3, 2001). "Review: Ja Rule: Pain Is Love". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
  4. ^ Browne, David (October 8, 2001). "Pain Is Love". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  5. ^ a b DX Staff (October 12, 2001). "Ja Rule - Pain Is Love". HipHopDX. Cheri Media Group. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Musicians Craft Sounds That Transcend Pop". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. September 30, 2001. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  7. ^ Robinson, Wendy. "Ja Rule: Pain Is Love". PopMatters. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Juon, Steve 'Flash' (October 2, 2001). "Feature for October 2, 2001 - Ja Rule's "Pain Is Love"". RapReviews. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  9. ^ Sprague, David (October 2, 2001). "Recordings: Ja Rule, Pain Is Love". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on October 31, 2001. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  10. ^ a b "American album certifications – Ja Rule – Pain Is Love". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  11. ^ "2002 GRAMMY WINNERS". MTV News. Retrieved June 25, 2015.
  12. ^ " – Ja Rule – Pain Is Love". Hung Medien.
  13. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH.
  14. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 9, 2002". Chart-Track. IRMA.
  15. ^ " – Ja Rule – Pain Is Love". Hung Medien.
  16. ^ " – Ja Rule – Pain Is Love". Hung Medien.
  17. ^ "Ja Rule | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart.
  18. ^ "Ja Rule Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  19. ^ "Ja Rule Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  20. ^ "Year-End Charts: Billboard 200 Albums - 2001". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  21. ^ "Year-End Charts: R&B/Hip-Hop Albums - 2001". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  22. ^ "ARIA Charts - End of Year Charts - Top 100 Albums 2002". ARIA. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  23. ^ "Year-End Charts: Billboard 200 Albums - 2002". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  24. ^ "Year-End Charts: R&B/Hip-Hop Albums - 2002". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  25. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Ja Rule – Pain Is Love". Music Canada.
  26. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Ja Rule – Pain Is Love Show". Recorded Music NZ. June 18, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  27. ^ "British album certifications – Ja Rule – Pain Is Love". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Pain Is Love in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.