Ja Rule Just Joking About Banksy Search But Now I Got Some Leads

11/18/2017 12:20 AM PST

Ja Rule Says Banksy Tweet was a Joke, But Now It's Getting Real

EXCLUSIVE

Ja Rule says he was just playing when he said he was looking for Banksy, but then things got real ... and now he's hoping to score a meeting in a dark alley somewhere.

We got the rapper at LAX Friday and asked him why he's trying to find the anonymous street artist ... but he's pretty secretive himself. What's interesting is he claims he got some "real feedback" from people who know Banksy ... but our guy's not really buying it.

He does tell us he's got a new project coming soon, and suggests he wants to collab with Banksy on it -- if he can find him.

So, Banksy, if you're reading this ...