When Irv Gotti created Murder Inc. Records, they experienced tremendous and unexpected success. Right after the demise of Bad Boy, it was Murder Inc. that had taken over. Not only were they riding the hits of Ja Rule and Ashanti, but the production team was also creating hits for Eve and Fat Joe. The summer of 2002 was the best summer for the crew, but no one expected it to be their last good run.
The fall of 2002 would mark the return of 50 Cent. Two years prior, he had released his debut album, Power of the Dollar. On the album, he had choice words for Ja Rule. In addition to dissing the front-man of the label, he also name-dropped Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff. McGriff happened to be one of the closest friends to Irv Gotti. His mention of Supreme led to a federal investigation that landed him in prison. In retaliation, 50 Cent was shot several times.
Following the release of 50 Cent’s 2002 album, Guess Who’s Back?, he was contacted by members of Shady Records. They ended up signing him to Shady Records and after Dr. Dre heard the album, he signed him to Aftermath Entertainment. In 2003, he released his official debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’. The album ended up solidifying 50’s position in rap and it eliminated Ja Rule and Murder Inc., for the time being.
After the fallout, there were more hits from Murder Inc., but after those few hits, the label was dropped from Def Jam. They were dropped from Def Jam because of a federal investigation, in the end, Irv Gotti would be cleared of all charges, but the damage was done. In 2006, Gotti was able to regroup and he got his artists together. Before the end of that year, he signed a deal with powerhouse, Universal Motown.
Only months after the deal was in place, Lloyd released Street Love. The album was a moderate success and it was to be followed by an album for Ashanti. However, she was working independent and she did not want to release an album in 2007. The plan was to reintroduce Ja Rule to the mainstream rap circuit. But, he was not properly promoted, so he ended up falling flat. With Rule not packing the punch that was expected, the deal with Universal fell through.
Last year, the deal lapsed and Irv Gotti said that he would eventually sign a deal with Atlantic Records. It was the same deal offered to the Gotti in 2005. He laughed at it, then, but now he is more than willing to accept it. Under the terms of the deal, Irv Gotti would retain ownership of the Murder Inc. label and have full control of Atlantic Records. Gotti announced that he was going to sign this deal, it has now gone through.
Now, the rebuilding phase has begun for Murder Inc., Ja Rule heads his own record label, so he is no longer on the direct roster. But, when it came time for him to secure a distribution deal, he knew that Irv Gotti would have his back. For the most part, the core Murder Inc. crew is back on this new label and the next move is to get new music out there.