‘I Don’t Think I Was Portrayed Fair’: Ja Rule Reflects on Documentaries About Failed Fyre Festival, Saying He Didn’t Watch Them But He’s Sure They Wronged Him

Ja Rule has moved on from the headlines about the failed Fyre Festival.

The 2017 Caribbean music festival that promised big acts and luxury accommodations became the biggest musical fete that never was. The event was co-founded by Billy McFarland and the Murder Inc. Records juggernaut. It was used as a big-ticket occasion to help draw attention to the Fyre app, which was intended to help fans easily book their favorite artists and bands for performances.

Ja Rule defended himself after two documentaries on the Fyre Festival were released.
Ja Rule. (Photo: @jarule/Instagram)

Five years ago, however, social media users saw the Fyre Festival implode in real time online as attendees who paid thousands of dollars for concert tickets arrived in the Bahamas to a disaster. The luxury accommodations that were promised turned out to be FEMA tents, five-star meals were actually cheese sandwiches, and worst of all, there were no artists set to perform.

Ja’s reputation was not spared in the fallout. The “Pain is Love” rapper purportedly had little to do with the logistics of the festival and instead served as the face of Fyre and helped to market the Cochella-esque concert.

“It was unfortunate that what we did, it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to,” he recently told The Hollywood Reporter. He added, “Obviously, there was a lot of mistakes made in that situation. But listen, man, we live and we learn and we move on.”

When asked if he has watched either of the documentaries detailing the catastrophic failure, Ja said he has not and does not have any plans to do so. In 2019, Netflix released “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Was.” That same year, Hulu released “Fyre Fraud.” Both projects were laced with footage of Fyre Festival unraveling and featured interviews with several of the people who were involved with the concert.

Ja Rule. (Photo: @jarule/Instagram)

Ja is certain that the documentaries mischaracterize him, despite his decision to not watch either. “I don’t think I was portrayed fair. And of course they used me ’cause they needed the celebrity name on it as well,” he said.

He continued, “But I too was a victim in that. … Nobody tells the story that way. What I’m saying, they tell it like we were in cahoots and s—t, and that’s so far from the truth and Billy [would] sit down and say it himself: ‘Ja. He didn’t have anything to do with the things that I did, the criminal aspect and the things that I did.’”

In 2019, Ja appeared on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” where he said the biggest misconception about his involvement with the festival “is that I committed a crime.”

When McFarland failed to pull off the impossible, he was accused and found guilty of committing wire fraud. In 2018, he was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay $26 million to investors, attendees, and several others. This past March, he was released after serving four years.

In his first post-prison interview, McFarland told “Good Morning America” host Michael Strahan, “I was wrong, I messed up. I was so driven by this desire to prove people right.”

Ja has not allowed the collateral damage caused by Fyre to dissuade him from trying his luck with revolutionizing fans’ music experiences. In 2019, he launched the ICONN app and ICONN Media. The app allows artists to charge for doing live streams on social platforms and more. “I felt like this would be the next thing, even after COVID,” he explained to HipHopDX. He added, “How the content creators create and own their own content I knew that would be it, then lo and behold Web 3 is now the new thing that everybody is on because it’s all about owning your own content and content creators monetizing that. That’s what my platform was built for and that’s really what it’s all about.”

Back to top