Owning a music label is one thing, but owning one that rakes in the dough is another story.
Music is embedded in the DNA of Murder Inc. founder Irv Gotti. He went from being the man that was Jay-Z’s first deejay, to the man calling the shots for one of the hottest labels in the industry during the 2000s. Thanks to heavy hitters like Ashanti, Ja Rule, and Lloyd, Gotti’s label was unstoppable — until it wasn’t.
Taking Over The Industry
“We were a huge label, not just in the United States of America,” said Gotti during a previous interview with VladTV in 2019. “What people need to realize is when we did that record, ‘I’m Real,’ with J Lo, that record was not just number one here, it was number one in every country in the planet earth.”
He further explains how the energy from the record caused a domino effect for his label due to Jennifer Lopez’s nod to Murder Inc. — despite not being on the label.
The J Lo Influence
“All of that J Lo international energy transferred over to Murder Inc.,” Gotti recalled. “And so when that happened, Ja and Ashanti benefited because we were selling like four-five million records in the states [with] another two or three outside the states.”
A Cause For Celebration?
Gotti says the label’s overall gross revenue totaled half a billion dollars, which for most people would be a means for a celebration. However, as for Gotti and Murder Inc., it put a target on the label’s back.
Murder Inc.'s Run In With The Government
“The government stopped me from making the money,” Gotti said during the interview. “When the government came in at that time, Murder Inc. was doing like over $100 million in billing for like two years in a row.”
He further explained claimed that his 50/50 joint venture with Universal Music Group was about to allow him to pocket nearly $65 million out of the $150 million profit accrued due to the success of the business.
However, the government put a halt to him receiving those earnings due to the infamous raid led by federal agents and New York Police Department investigators on Jan. 3, 2003.
Coming Out On Top
“They was giving me a check for like $65 million, and that’s why the government came in,” Gotti claimed during the interview. “It was a chess move to destroy me and take all of my money.”
The label was hit with money laundering and conspiracy to money laundering charges.
How Is Irv Gotti Doing Today?
As previously reported by AfroTech, Gotti said he inked a $300 million deal with Iconoclast.
“I raised $5 million for me to shoot my movie, and I used my music catalog as collateral. When I did that, it opened up a can of worms,” he told Billboard. “My good friend Zach Horowitz, who used to be the CFO for the Universal Music Group, called me and was like, ‘Irv, are you interested in selling [your catalog]?” My guy Walter Jordan was always telling me, ‘Irv, you’ve got money there.’”
He continued: “Then Zach said he knows Oliver Chastan, and he’s the best and pays top dollar. We met and it was a love fest — Oliver felt my energy and the deal didn’t take long, a couple months. I’m a very spiritual person, and it’s God and my dad who passed away on Nov. 1 looking out for their boy. It’s very surreal, but I would give every dollar of the $300 million to get my dad back. But he’s with me and I feel his presence.”