Beats, rhymes and life are three of the corners where hip hop intersects. Few other TV shows have been able to cover all of these angles in-depth and authentically quite like REVOLT TV’s “Drink Champs,” which thrives on its candid conversations with the biggest and most influential figures in the game. In honor of such a one-of-a-kind show, REVOLT will be recapping each weekly “Drink Champs” episode, so you can always catch the gems that are dropped in each lit interview.
In the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” Irv Gotti makes his return and much like his controversial debut appearance, provides a number of soundbites that are sure to ruffle more than a few feathers. A native of Queens, Gotti’s entrance into the music industry came as a DJ, affording him the opportunity to tour while rubbing shoulders with hip hop royalty. Building his network throughout the ‘90s, his career ascended after helping broker deal between the likes of JAY-Z and DMX with Def Jam Records, which resulted in the A&R being gifted with his own imprint, Murder Inc. Records.
Headlined by multi-platinum acts like Ja Rule and Ashanti, Murder Inc. was considered one of the hottest collectives in hip hop during the early aughts, accounting for a number of timeless jams that helped define the era. However, a legal battle between Gotti and federal investigators, who charged him, as well as his brother, with using Murder Inc. to launder money for convicted drug kingpin Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, nearly derailed his career. However, after being acquitted on all charges, the boss would slowly rebuild his empire by reinventing himself as the creator and producer of “Tales,” his rap-inspired series on BET. And with aspirations to reclaim his standing as one of the brightest minds in music, this new chapter for Gotti has only began.
To help give fans a recap of the conversation, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from the Irv Gotti episode of “Drink Champs.” Take a look at them below.
1. On The Possibility of a Murder Inc. Album Featuring JAY-Z, DMX And More
“A record maybe, but I tried really hard for two years... two times, I mean. After the second time, I was like, ‘It’s not happening’ and I just gave up.”
2. On Touring Overseas With JAY-Z
“I met JAY-Z in ‘87. Me and Jaz, we had the same management/production [company]. I was with this MC, Romeo, and Jaz was with this guy, Joss Productions. So I didn’t know, they paired us together. They wanted this fucking nigga from Marcy named Jaz to be the Fresh Prince, just to show you how stupid the industry is. Two niggas from Marcy and they said ‘You’re gonna be the Fresh Prince and Will Smith.’ They were doing Fresh Prince [with “Hawaiian Sophie]. Fresh Prince won a Grammy, he was the hottest rapper, they took them and said, ‘Do that kind of music.’ So we’re in London, I’m gonna be the DJ and JAY-Z was the hype-man. But really, it was crazy ‘cause they had us over there. Jaz was in the studio working all day, and me and Hov was running around London fucking with the bitches. And we developed a bond and that’s when JAY became my brother.”
3. On Picking Up Production Tips From Large Professor
“How did Irv Gotti learn how to make beats? The Extra P! He used to have the room, hook up the turntable, he’d have his SP-12, and the MP-950, and I was in this shit just [like], ‘I’ma fucking learn this shit.’ [I] didn’t know. Remember Slick Rick ‘It’s A Boy?’ It was called ‘It’s a Boy.’ It’s a remix. I watched that nigga do that shit in front of my face. I said, ‘I got it! I fucking got it. That’s how they do it, I got it!’ So, that’s a fun fact, that’s how I learned how to make beats cause I watched Large Professor.”
4. On Being Introduced To The Ruff Ryders
”There’s a guy called Chad Elliott, Dr. Seuss. He was my roommate on this fucking promo tour. That’s the beat guy, but he was working with Jodeci. So Dr. Seuss, Chad Elliott, he goes, ‘Yo, you like all that hip hop?’ cause I’m hip hop, I can’t help it. I love hip hop and he identified it. He said, ‘You should fuck with these guys up in Yonkers named Ruff Ryders... When we get off the tour, I’ma plug you with Waah and this rapper nigga named DMX.’ So, he does that. I go up to Yonkers to meet them.”
5. On His First Time Meeting DMX
“The first time I met X, he was up in a fucked up project. I don’t know if it’s called Slobourne [Schlobohm] or whatever them projects up there are called, but they was more fucked up. Like when I went up there, it was different from Lefrak or whatever. It felt like a country project, like, they’re fucked up and you stay here niggas and don’t move. So, all of the windows were broken, the doors ripped off the hinges. So, I’m sitting outside waiting and this nigga X sticks his head out of one of the broken windows, which I’m like, ‘Yo, nigga, if you move, you gonna cut yourself.’ I’m sitting there waiting and you just see X, ‘What up dog? I’ll be out in a second,’ I’m like, ‘Yo what the fuck is going on?’ He could cut himself easily. And I met him and Waah, and they bought me an MPC60 and was like, ‘Produce.’”
6. On Why His Relationship With Damon Dash Soured
“I love Dame. Like, I truly love Dame. I came up with Dame and I don’t take it lightly, but I’ll give you a story. I wanted Dame to do a ‘Tales’ episode, but Dame, he’s different. I mean, I told Dame going in — he had OG Daniel, he was on the phone — and I was like, ‘Dame, you gotta listen, you gotta work with BET. I’m a boss, but I have a partner, you gotta work with BET.’ Here’s where it went wrong, he was asking me, ‘How much to shoot an episode?’ I said, ‘A million and change,’ he said, ‘Oh, I’ll make it a movie.’ I said, ‘Dame, I don’t need a movie from you and everything you do needs to be approved by BET. And I don’t need a movie, I need forty minutes with commercials. My hour episode is forty minutes.’ He said, ‘No, I’ll cut a 40-minute spot and then make a movie.’ But, I’m like, ‘Dame, we’re not giving you this money to do whatever you want, you have to work with us.’ So, I’m like, ‘You don’t need to do it’ ‘cause it was gonna be a clusterfuck.”
7. On His Relationship With Ashanti
“First of all, I want to say, ‘Ashanti, N.O.R.E. just asked me a question and I’ma answer it ‘cause I’m a G.’ But, me and Ashant it was all love. She was Murder Inc., she was family. And Ja says this a lot, he gives her an out. An out meaning, ‘The Feds was on us, nigga. You want this little 21-22-year-old girl to ride with you or whatever when the Feds is on you, nigga? Feds got a 98% conviction rate. I’m quite sure every nigga in her ear was like, ‘That niggas going to jail, start thinking of another way.’ So, what I gotta say with that is me and Ashanti was something I never experienced before.”
8. On Marital Drama During The “I Cry” Video Shoot
“I was shooting [the] ‘I Cry’ video in Baltimore. Shooting it in Cherry Hill, like, the hood. So the story goes: [My ex-wife] Deb, because she had a driver’s license that says Deborah Lorenzo, she went to the hotel and she got a room key. So, she came and I had the latch on, so she knew I was in there and I was in there fucking. Tumbleweed, I’ll give you her nickname, y’all don’t know who Tumbleweed is. I’m in there with Tumbleweed and Deb is knocking on the door, [yelling] ‘Yo, I know you’re in there, I know you’re in there.’ I’m butt-ass naked, I’m never opening the door, it’s gonna be bad. Tumbleweed is under the bed, she’s scared to death of Deb. [She’d] heard rumors, she’s like, ‘She’s gonna whip my ass.’ Probably so. I’m looking through the peephole and now the police is there ‘cause she was making a scene, Soon as the police put their hands on Deb, I opened the door, said, ‘Yo, get the fuck off Deb, don’t touch her.’ She snuffs the living shit out of me.”
9. On Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff’s Chances Of Being Freed From Prison
“They view Preme as a menace to society. You remember the Edward Byrne assassination, you’re a Queens nigga. Southside, Pappy, Fat Cat. That has a lot to do with Preme. If you remember, George Bush was in Queens talking about, ‘We’re gonna take these guys down.’ Preme didn’t do that, but he was riding with the niggas who did, so when Edward Byrne got assassinated, it bled over to me. Before my case, I got summoned out to New York by this big investigative reporter from The New York Times, that’s all I’ll give you, but huge. And he was like, ‘Gotti, this is all over Edward Byrne, even you.’ And I said, ‘What the fuck you talking about?’ He said, ‘They’re never letting Preme see the light of day. He was with the people that did that to Edward Byrne.’”