Irv Gotti Talks ‘TALES,’ Nas Almost Signing to Murder Inc. on ‘Rap Radar’
After making his comeback with the hip-hop anthology series, TALES, earlier this year, rap’s unfiltered storyteller, super producer and label head, Irv Gotti, reflected on iconic moments throughout his career on episode 6 of Elliott Wilson and B.Dot’s Rap Radar podcast.
Gotti begins with Murder Inc 2.0, home to new signees Boogiie Byrd, Fitted Circle and Sir Preme. He puts his artists through a musical boot camp by playing his own beats and having them work their magic before deciding to work with them. “I’m judging them to see if they got something that I could fuck with or not, and each one of them passed with flying fucking colors,” he says.
When talk turned to TALES, Gotti also reflects on how he lost his relationship in his pursuit of greatness. “Sometimes I do regret it. But what I told her, if you gon’ make me choose TALES or you, you gon’ lose every motherfuckin’ time. So I said you could either smarten up or I’m out. Listen I’m on a mission. And I try to explain that to her. You gotta understand. The person who I am, I’m possessed by wanting to be great.”
Gotti also delved into his fallout with the Queens MC behind “Shit’s Real,” Mic Geronimo, though noting that they’re cool now. “Truthfully speaking, he shitted on me,” he says. “Unbeknownst to him, I [was] gonna become one of the biggest motherfuckin’ producers. I made your hit record so shut the fuck up and ride. He didn’t ride.”
The conversation also landed on DMX’s “We Don’t Give a Fuck,” which revealed X’s discontent with being compared to Ja Rule. ““Holla Holla” was ringin’ off and people was comin’ up to X, saying, ‘Yo I love that “Holla Holla” record.’ And if you know X, he’s mental. He’s like, “Fuck that! That n—a’s taking my style. N—as think he’s me.”"
Gotti also says he felt invincible during Murder Inc.’s heyday, because there was no escaping the label’s records on the radio. “You couldn’t go nowhere. If you got on a plane, I don’t care where you landed. If you turned on the radio, in 30 minutes, you heard one of my shits. I don’t care what station. It could be rhythmic, it could be urban, it could be Top 40. Unless you turned to heavy metal or motherfuckin’ country, you would hear my shit.”
Murder Inc.’s catalog also included notable collaborations with Bobby Brown and Jennifer Lopez. Gotti reveals that the latter was a power move to spite Mariah Carey, whose ex-husband, Tommy Mottola, was heading Sony Records, J.Lo’s label home.
“When Tommy Mottola called me to do the record, he only wanted me to do the record to spite Mariah Carey ‘cause we had just did kind of a duet record with Ja and Mariah. He only called for this record to fuck Mariah,” he says. “So I told him I want to do what I’m doing and have creative control ‘cause I knew I wanted to bring J.Lo to the hood. I said J.Lo has these big pop records but her shit don’t play in the projects.”
The result? Two Billboard Hot 100 chart-toppers with “I’m Real” and the “Ain’t It Funny” remix.
Gotti also keeps it 100 about almost signing Nas, who was previously feuding with Irv’s close friend, JAY-Z. “Yo, Nas wants to sign with Murder Inc. I immediately go to Tupac and Death Row. We’re about to fucking run the universe. Not one time did I think how this is going to affect my brother. And all money ain’t good money. I value my relationship with Jay [more] than anything.” The Queens rhymer then deaded talks about landing a deal with Murder Inc. once Irv Gotti shared his visions of what he calls domination.
He recalls of Nas’ former manager, Steve Stoute, calling him: “You can’t come around him talking all this domination shit. The guy said, ‘What if we die?’ Your reply was ‘I don’t give a fuck.’ [Nas] looked at you and he was out of there. The number was disconnected by the time he hit his car.”
Other highlights include Gotti discussing his early work with Ashanti before they parted ways, teaming with Vanessa Carlton, dreams of going pop and stories behind other iconic hip-hop records. Catch the latest RR episode below. Beware: the interview contains some TALES spoiler alerts.
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