To ring in the new year, music fans of a certain age were treated to a couple of familiar faces on Friday night (December 31).
Reuniting for Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, R&B star Ashanti and rapper Ja Rule performed in Times Square in New York City, giving fans renditions of their past hits, “Mesmerize” and “Always On Time.”
“Right now,” said host Ryan Seacrest, “we’ve got two incredible artists who took the hip-hop and R&B worlds by storm with both of their solo hits and incredible collaborations.
“This one debuted 19 years ago this month and immediately hit the Billboard Hot 100—performing ‘Mesmerize’ and ‘Always On Time’ in Times Square. Give it up for Ja Rule and Ashanti!”
Dressed in fabulous big coats and hats perfect for the chilled temperatures, the two took the stage and brought the magic.
Famously, the two collaborated in the early 2000s on several tracks. “Mesmerize” came out on December 16, 2002, on Ja Rule’s album, The Last Temptation. It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 2003.
“Always On Time” came out the year prior in 2001 on Ja Rule’s album, Pain Is Love. In February of 2002, the track hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for two weeks.
Since then, the R&B star and the rapper have been linked. The two also put out the song, “Wonderful,” in 2004—officially on Ja Rule’s fourth album, R.U.L.E. And that track also features the now-disgraced singer, R. Kelly.
Ahead of the performance, Ja Rule previewed their collaboration for New Year’s Eve, posting an elegant photo of the pair on social media and writing on Twitter, “Great way to cap off a great year!!! Catch me and Sis tonight shutting down Times Square… Happy New Year y’all…”
Photo: ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua