It's a testament to the power of marketing that Ja Rule has managed to sustain a showbiz career as long as he has. Neither particularly talented nor especially charismatic, Rule has surfed the mainstream wave on a marginal ability to imitate forefathers such as Tupac and DMX. He's also had lots of old-fashioned good luck. His star-making appearance alongside J. Lo in "I'm Real" was inoffensive, but when Rule started taking on Eminem and 50 Cent in high-profile battles, most assumed he'd lost his mind. Rule's fourth solo effort won't do much to stave off the backlash that was already threatening to eliminate the remaining shards of his street cred. The first single, "Clap Back," is probably the best song of the lot, but it's hardly a triumph -- particularly after Benzino shows up to flap his gums. Most of the other tunes take a similar tack, and Rule's preoccupation with 50 Cent revenge fantasies gets old quick. With only about an EP's worth of actual material (filled out with eye-rolling skits, half-baked sequels and tired freestyles), Blood feels very much like the stopgap effort that it's obviously intended to be.