Born in the Hollis section of Queens in 1976, deep-voiced rapper Ja Rule had made many allies in hardcore rap by 2000. He was aligned with DMX's Ruff Ryders, Jay-Z's Rock-a-Fella label, and producer Irv Gotti's group Murder Inc. Ja Rule had only started recording in 1995, and by 1999, his single "Holla Holla" went gold and he was on Def Jam's Hard Knock Life Tour. Differentiating himself from his peers, he started a parallel acting career while consistently churning out hit records. His feature film debut was a starring role as the shifty friend of Pras (formerly of the Fugees) in Turn It Up, a film based on the solo debut record from Pras, Ghetto Superstar. He also appeared alongside Pras and superstar rapper Eminem that same year in the Blair Witch parody Da Hip Hop Witch. Ja Rule continued to play himself in films as a rap performer, but he also accepted straight acting roles. In 2001, he appeared in the street-racing action flick The Fast and the Furious, and in 2002, he was Steven Seagal's ally on death row in Half Past Dead.