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The Inc Records

Among one of hip-hop’s most successful producers, New York’s Irv Gotti is founder and CEO of The Inc. Records, as of 2006 a co-venture with Universal Music Group. His credits include chart-topping albums and singles by Ja Rule, Ashanti, DMX, Jay-Z, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Mary J. Blige and Fat Joe. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Gotti’s spacious and bass-heavy arrangements often featuring female vocalists were nearly ubiquitous on Top 40 and hip-hop radio. As a measure of his success, at one point in 2002 three Gotti-produced singles simultaneously occupied spots in Billboards’ Top Ten - "Always on Time” (Ja Rule), "What's Luv?" (Fat Joe) and “Foolish” (Ashanti).

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Irv Gotti is the founder and CEO of The Inc Records. He discusses his record label and explains the history behind its name.

Shoot Date:
November 2006
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Murder Inc is my record label and is a very talented record label. And it was formed and conceived and thought of I believe in 1999. That’s when I got my deal. A lot of people have this thought on why I named my company Murder Inc and I will now explain it to you here on exactly. Some people may have heard it before; you may hear it now for the first time. But I was watching – well first of all I had success with J-Z and DMX. And I didn’t sign J-Z but I was a big part of Rockefeller Records when they started. Then I became an A&R director with Def Jam, I signed DMX and Ja Rule. DMX went on to sell 5 million albums with his first album and then another 4 million albums with his second album. We put out both of his albums in the same year which was ground breaking. And then I helped J-Z with “Hard Knock Life” album. I produced the “Can I Get a Record” and he still went on to sell like 6 million albums. And in Def Jam decided to give me a label deal. So I had to think of a name for my label.

And one day I was watching Arts & Entertainment and they had this special on – it was gangster week and with gangster week they was profiling different gangsters from Al Capone to Lucky Luciana to John Gotti. So one day on gangster week while I was watching the profiled Murder Incorporated. Murder Incorporated was a group of contract killers I think started by Ellwood Anastasia. And there was a group of contract killers who put out hits for the mob. And when I seen it and was looking at it Murder Inc came across the screen and then got riddled with bullets. And they was like ___ hit man. And in the record business we all thrive to put out hits. So I thought it was a good play on words and a good thing like Murder Inc put out hits. I’m gonna name my company Murder Inc and I’m gonna put out hits. So that’s exactly how the name got conceived, Murder Inc Records, because I thought it was a cool think to borrow from what they was doing back there. They was contract hit man; that I’m a contract hit man. And I put out hits meaning records, hits not killing anybody. Little did I know I was gonna have to go in court because I made up this name or whatever. I think I still would have named it because I really love the name. It sticks on people’s heads whether that’s good or bad that was another reason I wanted to keep it becuase the name kind of stuck in people’s heads. After you heard it one time you kind of remembered it and I kind of liked it. And even if it jarred or why would you do that and it’s so violent or whatever. I didn’t care. At that point I was just like you’re gonna remember it and that’s the only thing that matters to me. So that’s how Murder Inc was conceived and I founded it all on my own in like 1999.

With songs I always look for something to sing along factor. I’m a big shower singer. Most people are shower singers; when they hear a song and they like it in the shower they usually sing the song. So I pride myself on making music that everyone could relate to and is kind of easy that even a child could understand it and it’s catchy and it makes yo uwant to sing along with it. And I think those make for a very big records. So it’s definitely something that when I go into any idea of making music, marketing, anything, I want the consumer to be able to see it, identify with it and got it very quickly. You know most of the times it goes into the music business philosophy when you’re making a record. If I play a record for you I really honestly believe I gotta sell you in that first 15 to 30 seconds. That you need to get it and like it and after you like it in that 15 to 30 seconds then you’re gonna listen more and then you’ll catch what I’m trying to say. But I really got 15 to 30 seconds to sell you. When it comes on it better be hot and it if it ain’t hot I’m gonna lose you. It’s definitely part of what I do and a concept and philosophy of my thinking.

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