In 2006, it was reported that Irv Gotti had reached a three year deal with Universal Records. This deal was supposed to bring about a return to that “platinum sound” that Gotti had created during his time at Def Jam. He had it all planned out, a new album from Lloyd, then Ja Rule, then Ashanti.
Things started off great, Lloyd released a hit single, “You,” followed by his platinum-selling, Street Love album. He created a new energy at the label and Ja Rule began making his rounds in 2007. It felt like Ja Rule had finally reclaimed his spot, he was out late in the summer promoting a new single with an album set for a fall release.
Ja Rule released two singles, “Uh Ohhh!” and “Body.” The songs were not bad, but they never became hits. As a result, Rule’s project was pushed to the side for a new Ashanti album and a new Lloyd album. For a year after, the label made no buzz aside from the mixtape scene.
In 2009, Ja Rule reemerged from the shadows promoting a new album to be released sometime in 2009. It is now clear that is not happening, but him coming out led to Newz making rounds, along with Irv Gotti.
Gotti first came out to reveal that he was dropping Ashanti from Murder Inc. Then Lloyd said that he was off of the label, Irv came out to say that Lloyd was still on the label. Blok Gang/Murder Inc. rapper, Newz revealed that the entire label was still intact. Finally, Lloyd actually left the label earlier this month.
There were once rumors of Ja Rule also leaving the label, but he is still with the label, as is Ashanti. Ja said that she will probably remain with the label as soon as she and Irv Gotti forgive each other. For those keeping count, the deal with Murder Inc. and Universal is now up, it has been three years.
Initially, there were rumors of Irv Gotti moving Murder Inc. to Atlantic Records to become the CEO in 2005. That deal never materialized, but it may happen now. Kevin Liles recently left the label, as has Sean Combs, a likely candidate for replacement. The next candidate in line as a replacement was T.I., but he is imprisoned.
Meanwhile, Irv Gotti remains a force within the industry. He has deep connections and he has relationships with a lot of artists that find themselves without labels. Artists that are currently without deals include Eve, DMX, and many other acts.
Throughout the summer of 2009, Irv Gotti hinted act the possibility of Murder Inc. entering a distribution deal with Atlantic Records. The label is currently searching for an executive with a great track record in the industry to take over as president and CEO. Now that Sean Combs is gone, who would be better than Irv Gotti?
He created a roster of talent with Murder Inc. and with Atlantic Records behind him, he could rebuild that roster. Ja Rule still has talent, as does Ashanti and they still have chemistry. Getting those two back in the studio may mend all fences that were previously broken. He has existing relationships with people at Atlantic/Warner, so a deal is possible.
Once the label secures distribution, they can begin to make music once again. Irv Gotti has relationships with Eve and DMX, as mentioned, but he is also close to Nas, The Game, Rick Ross, Fat Joe, and other veterans in rap. He could easily convince them to sign with his label by granting them imprints.
This time around, Irv Gotti said that he has something special up his sleeve. He has been working with Ja Rule, who says that he is working on a special album and Ashanti has also began working on new music. Before the end of the year, the label will make an announcement and 2010 may be the year that Murder Inc. becomes a label again.
With Bad Boy Records on the way out, it would make sense for Atlantic to help Irv Gotti rebuild Murder Inc.