Rapper Ja Rule Wows Dominican Crowd

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Rapper Ja Rule (search) became the first internationally known hip-hop star to perform in the Dominican Republic with a spirited concert before several thousand fans.

About 3,000 people packed into Santo Domingo's Quisqueya Stadium on Sunday night to hear the 29-year-old multi-platinum artist, far less than the 20,000 that organizers had hoped for.

The low turnout was blamed on a flight delay that forced Ja Rule to postpone the show originally scheduled for Saturday by a day.

The crowd waited patiently for two hours before Ja Rule came on stage at midnight and tore into past hits like "Holla, Holla," "Never Again" and "Pain is Love" in a well-received set that lasted just over an hour.

"I love Dominican people," the rapper told local Channel 9 television in an interview to promote the concert, billed as the first by a top international rapper in the Caribbean country.

Ja Rule was later joined on stage by actor Vin Diesel (search), who greeted the crowd and chatted with the rapper. Diesel was in the country scouting locations for an upcoming film.

Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffry Atkins (search), has cut six albums since debuting in 1999. Although he made his name in "gangster rap," most of his biggest hits have been hip-hop inspired ballads.