Early success cost rapper Ja Rule his freedom - because his first big pay cheque allowed him to buy more drugs. The I'm Real hitmaker was a teenage dealer when he and his Cash Money Click bandmates scored a record deal with TVT Records - and the trio blew all its signing fee on street drugs. He recalls, "The little bit of money that we got to split, we decided to put it together and, 'Let's go buy some drugs. This way we would have more drugs than we ever had.' "So now we have more money to fund our drug deal, which was great for us. But then (bandmate) Chris Black got arrested and went to jail for five years. "I did get arrested too. I got caught with guns and some drugs." The rapper - real name Jeffrey Atkins - was handed five years probation, and Cash Money Click were dropped. He adds, "The record company's like, 'OK, we were looking for a three-man group. There's only two of you guys. What are we going to do?' "Things were kind of in turmoil so the deal fell apart... We put out one single... We put out two videos and that was it."