“Always on Time” by Ja Rule (ft. Ashanti)

Ja Rule’s “Always on Time” is a classic rap song involving sex, guns, thug life and name dropping of celebrities such as Kirkland Pee-Wee and Don Bishop.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Ja Rule's Always on Time at Lyrics.org.

The song starts off with Ashanti singing that she will always be on time, whenever he (Ja Rule) calls. However, what could have started off as a love song soon evolves to Rule saying she’s not the only lover in his life – in fact, she was made aware of it before engaging with him. He would travel all the way to get some ass, only to leave for another booty call after.

This ultimately angers the female (as would any) that she decides to call their relationship off with a letter. She even goes to the extent of scratching his Benz with his key and cutting up the car’s leather. Despite all this chaos, Rule exclaims that he lives “money over bi–hes” and that he has “two or three hoes for every V”. This simply means that love isn’t part of his world and he’d do anything for the money, and that he sees women as possibly a past-time.

Kirkland Pee Wee

Kirkland Pee Wee (who Ja mentions in this song) played American streetball from the 60s when he was studying in Charles Evans Hughes High School in Manhattan, New York. He was also a drug dealer and ultimately got sentenced to jail in 1971.

He played basketball in prison during his time in Federal Correctional Institution, La Tuna in Texas from 1981 to 1988. Rule idolizes Kirkland as a “playground legend” in this song and even compares himself to being one. We can only assume the idea of juggling ball(s) would be equivalent to juggling hoes.

I play hard, there’s so many women I fathered

Rule could be portraying an egoistic vibe when he says the above. That statement ironically comes off as childish – especially if you know how expensive raising children can be, it really isn’t something worth bragging about.

With what seems like a reverse psychology move, blaming the female about how she doesn’t come home sometimes despite their special bond (probably because she’s doing the same thing he is towards him), it quickly spirals back to him wanting to be the alpha player.

Don Bishop

Don Bishop, born Donald Campbell and otherwise known as Don “Magic” Juan, started off as a pimp in 1966. He was highly influenced by Iceberg Slim and Superfly, sporting flashy cars and clothes.

In referencing Bishop, Rule says, that he is “built like the Don Bishop/Gon” and that he keeps “this money green Benz and my hoes as my witness”. This sounds to me as just another example of his previous statement “money over bi–hes”.


“Always on Time” comes off as an unrequited love song where the female, portrayed by Ashanti, is wanting Rule to be hers after having given up her all for him to no avail. Maybe it’s in our genes, but we females always tend to feel we can change someone ‘bad’ – in this case, a player. At first, it could have been a simple arrangement, but feelings of jealousy ultimately get in the way. Evidently, Rule doesn’t change his ways and even dismisses her feelings in some sort with “but we share something so rare, but who cares, you care”.

Lyrics of “Always on Time”

When was “Always on Time” released?

This hit song was recorded and performed by hip hop icon Ja Rule in conjunction with fellow New York songstress Ashanti. It officially came out on October 30 of 2001. The track was issued as the second single from Ja Rule’s third studio offering, “Pain Is Love”.

“Always on Time” experienced huge success in many regions across the globe. It dominated the charts of multiple countries. In the US, it soared to No.1, making it Ja Rule’s 2nd single to achieve this feat. And for Ashanti, this became her first-ever No.1 hit in the US.

In the UK this duet peaked at No.6 and entered the top-10 on the charts in places such as the following:

  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Switzerland

Awards and Accolades

Although “Always on Time” was a big hit in several parts of the globe, it did not earn Ja Rule and Ashanti many award. However, it received a few recognitions including being certified Platinum by the BPI and Gold by ARIA.


Ja Rule authored this along with fellow American hip hop star, Channel 7. They were assisted by the song’s producer, Irv Gotti. Ashanti did not contribute to the writing of “Always on Time”.


This track has not been covered by many recording artists. A few of the artists who have covered it include Unwrapped and Streetwize. Their versions were released in 2002.

Always on Time

Ja’s “Pain is Love” Album

“Pain Is Love” was made public through a joint effort by record labels, Def Jam and Murder Inc. The project’s official issuance date was on October 2 of 2001.

In addition to “Always on Time” this record was accompanied by two other powerful singles. “Livin’ It Up,” being the first single and another No.1 hit from the album, was issued in the summer of 2001. The final and third single, “Down A-s Bi—h,” came out in March the following year.

“Pain Is Love” peaked at No.1 in the US and in New Zealand. It also achieved chart success in other parts of the world including the UK and Canada, where it reached No.3. In Australia, this project reached No.6.

This hip hop and R&B project has been certified triple Platinum in the United States and Canada. It has also been Platinum-certified in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  

In 2002, this album earned Ja Rule a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Rap Album”.  The award was given to hip hop duo OutKast for their fourth studio project, “Stankonia”.

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