Another Friday, another episode of “The Fat Joe Show.” This week Joey Crack welcomes hip hop legend LL Cool J and music executive Irv Gotti. The conversations circulated around the music industry, the impact and relationships both have built over the years. The guys also discussed money — $50 million worth to be exact.
“It was like $50 mill,” Gotti shares regarding a conversation he had recently with his Merrill Lynch banker. After double-checking for clarity, he notes he was “very happy” once she disclosed his worth. “I was like for a n**ga from Hollis, Queens, and grew up dirt poor, a lot of love but no money...” he said.
For him, the news came as a surprise although he’s worked independently throughout the years bringing some of the industry’s hottest artists such as Ja Rule and Ashanti to the forefront. Even today, Gotti’s production credits have reached the small screen with shows like “Growing Up Hip-Hop: New York” and “Tales,” which was the biggest show on its network until COVID-19 hit. Gotti also brought back his label, Murder Inc., with a slew of new artists despite a history of lawsuits and industry beefs.
“I’m back in the game, full-fledged. I’m back at these n**gas,” he stated. “I’m doing phenomenal on TV ... I have five TV series.” On top of that, he signed a deal with Warner Bros. mid-summer for a project named “Supreme Team.” While in Atlanta, he shared the pandemic hit home when it slowed the progress on his hit TV show, however, he found another blessing with his new artist SNF.JT. “I got like three albums of hit records, real talk,” he admitted.
Among other things to get popping during the pandemic is a distribution deal that Fat Joe inspired the producer to obtain. Gotti said, “Crack was like, ‘Gotti, if you don’t go independent and get all of the money yourself, you’re a f**king idiot.’” He goes on to say JAY-Z even told him he’d cut communication if he accepted anything short of a distribution deal. With the deal still on the table for his newest addition to the game, he held certain details for the sake of the contract. However, Gotti went on to explain how they beat a 50/50 deal in favor of the distribution.
“I told you, ‘Yo I can’t sign this [50/50] deal.’ I said, ‘I signed a 50/50 joint venture 20 years ago. I’m not, I can’t do it,’” he detailed. Throughout the negotiation, he stood his ground and let the big execs know, “I’ll take a distribution deal. I own all of the masters, I get the majority of the money, and I still want to use your label,” which he will receive upon signing under the new Murder Inc. umbrella.
“For the first time, I’m like damn, I’m so excited because you know with Murder Inc. with Ja [Rule], Ashanti, and Lloyd, my Murder Inc. Presents albums, I was doing $120 [million] to $150 million in business a year, and I did that for like three, four years,” Gotti continued. Still, on the topic of money, he shared the biggest check he’s ever received was about $15 million. With a laugh, he added, “Crack I’m telling you right now if I could go on a run like that right now that generates that much money, and I’m getting the majority of it...” he concludes in an astounded expression.
Fast forward to the present, Joe makes a comment on the history Gotti’s had with his artists, noting no one speaks negatively on the money they made while working with him. “I over-pay,” Gotti responds. “Especially if you turned out to be like Ja or Ashanti or whatever.”
Now with more in his pockets, the executive, producer, and entrepreneur has the leverage to play his cards his way. In 2020, Gotti’s resurgence to the top transcends not only music, but nearly every avenue of entertainment with or without the beefs and controversies.