Jay-Z has taken credit for giving Murder Inc. founder Irv Gotti his name, a revelation the rap legend shared during an appearance on the second episode of the BET docuseries, The Murder Inc Story. Hov, a longtime friend and collaborator of Gotti, says he decided to give the Queens native the moniker in an effort to give him a more imposing name.
“I remember [people would] be snappin’ on Irv, like, ‘Your name is ‘Irving’,” Jay-Z remembers of Gotti, whose real name is Irving Lorenzo, Jr. “‘Man, get outta here. Irving?’ And everybody laughing, ha ha ha.” In an effort to help put an end to the mockery, Hov suggested that Irv add “Gotti” to the end of his name, a nod to famed mobster John Gotti.
“‘Yo, you need a name like Irv Gotti,” Hov says of his conversation with the rising producer and A&R at the time. “We gotta toughen you up.’” According to Gotti, who ultimately took Hov’s advice, “like everything that Jay does, it stuck,” and the rest is history.
The episode also finds Gotti giving insight into the formation of the short-lived supergroup Murder Inc., which featured Jay-Z, DMX, and Murder Inc.’s flagship artist Ja Rule.
“The supergroup with Jay, X and Ja, I used it to push branding for Murder Inc. All I gotta do is put a hot track on, and they gon go at it,” Gotti explains. “If there’s a studio and the rappers is rapping, X is trying to kill you. Hov, you can’t tell Hov he ain’t the best. He thinks he’s f*cking the illest ever, and he might be. Rule has a Napoleon complex. If you think for one second he’s bowing down to anybody, no.”
Despite releasing multiple songs as a unit, as well as the hype landing the trio on the cover of magazines, the group, would disband without the release of a full-length album. According to Jay-Z, the members’ competitive streaks were the downfall of the group and why a proper album never came to fruition. “I think it was everyone’s ambition, everyone’s ego,” Hov reasons. “It was just three guys, three independent labels, three Black men, who were all fighting to be the best in the world.”
Murder Inc. would officially release two songs as a unit, “Murdergram” from Jay-Z’s Streets Is Watching soundtrack and “It’s Murda” from Ja Rule’s debut album, Venni Vetti Vecci.
Check out the clip from episode two of The Murder Inc Story and listen to “Murdergram” and “It’s Murda” below. The Murder Inc Story airs every Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on BET.
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