Rap’s supergroup that never really took off, Murder Inc., has taken center stage in the five-part docuseries about Murder Inc. Records. At the helm of the show is Irv Gotti, the label’s co-founder. The first episode aired this past Tuesday (Aug. 9) on BET.
In the first chapter, Gotti details how he came to launch the label. He is also joined by rap royalty JAY-Z, and rapper Ja Rule in re-telling how efforts to launch the rap group Murder Inc. stalled before it ever really got a chance at stardom.
In the late 90s, Gotti conceived the idea of using JAY, Ja, and DMX to form what could have been one of the hardest-hitting rap groups in hip hop history. The trio recorded a handful of records including “Murda” and “Murdagram.” Individually, DMX and Jay were already blazing the charts with their solo efforts, and Ja was beginning to build a name for himself in the industry.
“The supergroup with JAY, X, and Ja, I used it to push branding for Murder Inc.,” said Gotti during one of his several interview interludes. “All I gotta do is put a hot track on and they gone go at it. In the studio, rappers is rapping and X is trying to kill you. Hov, you can’t tell Hov he ain’t the best. He thinks he’s the illest ever, and he might be,” the music executive continued. But, just as the artists were picking up steam, the group crumbled.
“Hov has a Napoleon complex. If you think one second that he’s bowing down to anybody–no. You can only imagine the electricity in that studio with JAY, X and Ja,” said Gotti. Aside from the memories and the records, all there is to prove that moment ever happened is the “legendary XXL cover with JAY, X and Ja, Murder Inc.”
When it comes to pointing a finger at someone for the group’s demise, JAY said the onus does not fall on just one person. “I think it was everyone’s ambition and everyone ego,” he said. “It was just three guys, three independent labels, three Black men who are all fighting to be the best in the world,” added the business mogul.
Elliott Wilson, former XXL Magazine editor, chimed in by adding, “I know it pains Irv to this day he was never able to take that project to the finish line.” That may be true, but Gotti is still proud of what he accomplished with the biggest hip hop stars going into the 2000s. “For me, it wasn’t about money, it was just about me wanting to make 10 to 12 songs with the illest guys. My ambition was to dominate the world,” he said.