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The Ja Rule 25: A track-by-track guide to preseason college football rankings

Ja Rule Ja Rule encourages you to listen to his 25 most essential songs, and to read this post. (Donna Ward/Getty Images)

By Martin Rickman

Two very important lists were released in the last few days: the preseason college football AP Poll and Complex's list of the "25 Most Essential Ja Rule Songs." Because I care about you all very much, I assigned one of each of the 25 Ja Rule songs to a particular team in the Top 25, then provided my reasoning.

Each song is linked so you can listen to the track and read the Complex write-ups. But keep in mind: Many of the songs include explicit language. They are Ja Rule songs.

No. 25 Oregon State: Ja Rule "Falling To Pieces" (2011)

One false step and Oregon State will fall to pieces, much like the Beavers did in 2011. The team faded down the stretch a bit after a 6-0 start last fall, and it’s up to coach Mike Riley to make sure things don't get away from the team this year. Oregon State's early-season slate is favorable, but the Beavers will need to find stability and limit mistakes at the quarterback position.

No. 24 USC: Ja Rule feat. Lil' Mo & Vita "Put It On Me" (2000)

Most people who aren't extensively familiar with the Ja Rule catalogue still know “Put It On Me.” Most people who don't know a lot about college football still know USC. Both aren’t exactly at the top of their game.

This also works because it's fun to yell “WHERE WOULD I BE WITHOUT YOU / I ONLY THINK ABOUT YOU / I KNOW YOU’RE TIRED OF BEING LONELY / SO BABY GIRL LANE KIFFFFFINNNNNN.”

No. 23 Wisconsin: Jennifer Lopez feat. Ja Rule & Caddillac Tah "Ain't It Funny (Murder Remix)" (2002)

A fitting beginning to the Gary Andersen era, and a little must-needed brevity. Plus, I'm pretty sure “it must be the a**" is a mandatory on every Badger offensive lineman's scouting report, for their impressive posteriors.

No. 22 Northwestern: Mic Geronimo feat. DMX & Ja Rule "Time To Build" (1995)

Up and coming. Hungry. It’s the Northwestern Wildcats. Time to build. No more playing around.

No. 21 UCLA: Ja Rule feat. Ronald Isley "Daddy's Little Baby" (2005)

Like father, like son. Jim Mora Jr. will always take the lyrics “Life ain’t all about cheddar diamonds and leather” to heart.

No. 20 TCU: Ja Rule feat. Lil' Wayne "Uh-Ohhh!" (2007)

One of the better Ja Rule beats, "Uh-Ohhh!" often gets buried beneath the rest of Ja Rule's songs, much like TCU is buried beneath the rest of the teams in Texas. But it's fighting to get out, fighting for relevance, fighting to break free.

No. 19 Boise State: Fat Joe feat. Ja Rule & Ashanti "What's Luv?" (2002)

This is a free association pick. I just closed my eyes and the first person who popped into my head was Chris Petersen. I’m sure this says a lot more about me than it says about the correlation between “What’s Luv?” and the Boise State football team. But so does creating a Ja Rule college football Top 25 in the first place. Maybe I should seek professional help.

No. 18 Nebraska: Ja Rule feat. Ashanti "Mesmerize" (2002)

This song is about Taylor Martinez’s throwing motion. I’m sure of it.

No. 17 Michigan: Cash Money Click feat. Mic Geronimo "4 My Click" (1994)

A classic that may need to be dusted off and kept in a less humid area (for the last time, the basement is a horrible place to store records), “4 My Click” still plays. Like the Big Ten, the base beat is hypnotic and an easy way to lose yourself for a few minutes (or hours). Plus, thinking about Brady Hoke yelling “It’s 4 my click, nothing but my click representin’ cash money” is more than a little entertaining.

No. 16 Oklahoma: Ja Rule feat. Bobby Brown "Thug Lovin'" (2002)

Let’s go to Ja:

““Bob! Crazy Bob. I've known Bob for a long time.”

Hello.

No. 15 Texas: Ja Rule feat. Jennifer Lopez "I'm Real (Murder Remix)" (2001)

The way they walk. The way they move. The way they talk. The way they stare. The way they look. Their style, their hair. Everybody wants to know, is Texas reaaaaallllllll? And they can’t go on without Mack.

No. 14 Notre Dame: Ja Rule "Holla Holla" (1999) / Ja Rule feat. JAY Z, Vita, Caddillac Tah, Memphis Bleek & Busta Rhymes "Holla Holla (Remix)" (1999)

Just going to leave this right here from the Complex interview:

“I got that beat in the ninth inning and I created what I call my stutter flow. That’s when you got the doubling up on the verses with the lyrics. It was catchy, it was creative and it became my lead single. Sometimes God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes he’s not there when you call, but he’s always on time.”

So God is a Notre Dame fan and a Ja Rule fan. Makes sense.

No. 13 Oklahoma State: Ja Rule "Clap Back" (2003)

Back to Ja:

"'Clap Back’ was just raw energy. I remember getting that beat from Scott Storch and I was like, ‘Man, this is hard. This is for the streets.’ And I just went in on it.”

Mike Gundy is for the streets.

No. 12 LSU: Ja Rule feat. R. Kelly & Ashanti "Wonderful" (2004)

An ode to the Hat. Finally.

No. 11 Florida State: JAY Z feat. Amil & Ja Rule "Can I Get A ..." (1998)

Jimbo Fisher loves Rush Hour. It is practically his favorite movie. No, really, ask him. (Do not ask him.)

No. 10 Florida: Ja Rule feat. Lil' Mo "I Cry" (2001)

Just play this over the Gators’ offensive possessions. You’ll be surprised how well it fits.

From the venerable Celebrity Hot Tub: “The obvious thing to do here would be to say something about Florida's offense and tears, but that's well worn territory. Still, "when I cry, you cry, we cry together" could easily be the story of an unlicensed dentist accidentally deploying tear gas in his basement office, and if that's not Florida, what is?”

No. 9 Louisville: Cash Money Click feat. JAY Z & DMX "If It's On It's On" (1996)

Teddy Bridgewater and the Cards aren’t listening to any of fans' "not elite" or "easy schedule" comments. The schedule was set a long time ago. Teams take the road they were given and make the most of it. The offense better be clicking early because there’s no room for error. “Stake out your money spot.”

No. 8 Clemson: Mary J. Blige feat. Ja Rule "Rainy Dayz" (2002)

When Clemson inevitably Clemsons itself, the opening bars of this Mary J. Blige banger will play and the heavens will open up. The sun will shine again, Dabo. Yes it will.

No. 7 Texas A&M: Ja Rule feat. Case "Livin' It Up" (2001)

#YESSIR

No. 6 South Carolina: JAY Z feat. Ja Rule & DMX "Murdergram" (1998)

Clowney comin’. “Cause dead or alive when I arrive it's Murda.”

No. 5 Georgia: Ja Rule feat. Charli Baltimore "Down A** B****" (2002)

The lyrics, Mark Richt edition: "My lady / Got me seekin capital game when I spit sixteen / Whether points or sixteens in the doors of cars / A star is born / In the hood, made a name live on, B-O-B-O, ladies, feel me"

No. 4 Stanford: Ja Rule feat. JAY Z "Kill 'Em All" (1999)

People keep thinking Stanford is out there just being a bunch of smart kids. They keep underrating the Cardinal and making fun of the tree. David Shaw and company just let their play do the talking, to the tune of three consecutive BCS berths.

No. 3 Oregon: Ja Rule feat. Christina Milian "Between Me and You" (2000)

Ja claims he had something to prove between his first and second albums, and he “didn’t wanna be known as the ‘Holla Holla’ guy.” Oregon doesn’t wanna be known as the Chip Kelly team. The Ducks have something to prove and have to show they’ve learned something.

No. 2 Ohio State: Ja Rule feat. Fat Joe & Jadakiss "New York" (2004)

Where is the highest percentage of non-Ohio State graduate Buckeye fans? In New York / New York.

No. 1 Alabama: Ja Rule feat. Ashanti "Always On Time" (2001)

Consistency is important. Nick Saban is always on time. I like to think Paul Finebaum is his Ashanti.

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