FEATURE: Irv Gotti, Deeper Than Rap

Irv Gotti is an enigma. From rolling in Bentleys to beating cases, Gotti’s seen the perilous ebbs and flows that this industry will throw at you. The self-proclaimed asshole with a bad temper that just can’t seem to stay faithful is also the savvy mastermind behind The Inc. empire as well as a caring and devoted dad. How do we know this, in large part from seeing his life play out in front of us in primetime on his hit reality show Gotti’s Way. Picked up for a second season with the premiere episode recently airing, the music mogul is never at a loss for words and chopping it up with XXLMag.com was no different. Taking a break from the rigors of the hustle, Gotti explained why the hood loves his show, why his baby mom will not be following in Tahiry’s footsteps, Mike Jones and Plies biting Ja Rule’s style, among other things.

XXLMag.com: Congrats on the second season of Gotti’s Way. What’s been the reactions that you’ve been receiving as a whole from the show?

Gotti: The biggest reaction from the first season has just really been the women about me and Deb. And then the dudes are like ‘Gotti, why are you saying all of this? You’re releasing all the secrets.’ [laughs] That’s been the biggest reaction. The women are so interested in Deb and how she deals with me and they have all of their opinions and comments and everything. And the dudes is just like ‘yo, you’re saying too much. Now when I leave to go out of town my girl thinks I’m fucking somebody.’

XXL: What made you wanna do it again?

Gotti: I’m not your normal reality guy, that’s why it took so long for season two. When they wanted to come around filming me, I’d be like yo, I’m busy. And to be honest with you, the reality show money, it’s not like that, yo. When you see all these guys with these reality shows, they ain’t getting no real bread. Or at least not real bread like how I get real bread. Read bread is millions, so, it’s not like that. But more bombs get dropped this season. A lethal bomb gets dropped this season. Ya’ll gonna have to tune in to see it.

XXL: This is the first time people are seeing what we call “hood love” on TV. Have you gotten a different reaction from the hood?

Gotti: Well, my hood people, when they come up to me, especially the women, they be like ‘you stay with Deb, she’s a good woman.’ And I be like, well, you like her that much, you go be with her then [laughs]. The hood just likes our togetherness even through that adversity. A lot of times in the hood you see a different thing. You see guys leaving they chick and not coming around, not supporting they kids and with us, it’s nothing like that. So even though we not together, when people see we still down and ride for each other like we do, they like that.

XXL: You seem like sort of a private person but your life is all on TV. Did you ever have any reservations about putting all of your personal stuff out there?

Gotti: Abso-fucking-lutely [Laughs]. I gotta credit Chris Abrego, the CEO of 51 Minds, he had to convince me. It took him three months of trying to convince me and then me just saying aight, fuck it, I’ll do it cause again, the money ain’t like that. But I have no regrets. I mean, I’m not ashamed of anything or how I move or the stuff that people usually don’t want other people to see. So, it’s all good, they can see that. And I don’t think anyone is looking at me any different type of way. I think the reverse happened. I think people actually feel me more. See, I’m a different type of reality star. People do reality shows because they’re fucked up and need the bread. Me, I’m good. If that’s the case, then the producers can kind of have their way with you and be like ‘oh, well you wanted this so you have to do this and that.’ I have no problem saying no to whatever. So my show is different. I’m not doing it for that. If anything, I like it because it’s made Deb a star. It’s more for her. I like her being a star cause she got her own swagger now and shit.

XXL: So is she about to get her Tahiry on?

Gotti: Nah, you can’t even put Deb and Tahiry in the same sentence. That’s not a knock against Tahiry because she looks very nice and sexy and everything, but Deb won’t be doing King spreads, yo. [Laughs]. Not that she can’t do ‘em cause she can get right and do them if she wanted to, but Deb is just a different breed. She’s more from the old school.

XXL: How much of this season is gonna be based in the music business?

Gotti: Um, 50/50. That’s how we designed it. There’s a lot with Lloyd and his project and my new artist Newz. It’ll show me going to Brooklyn inside Bed Stuy and then me signing him. So people get to see that aspect of how I go about signing new artists and everything.

XXL: Speaking of signing artists, how has your day to day as an executive changed in light of the climate of the industry?

Gotti: It’s changed a little bit because I have so much more going on with TV and film. I’m seeing the decline of the music business so I’m making my transition a little smoother. I’m not getting out the business, but I am focusing on a few other things.

XXL: With you transitioning into other things, does that change your relationship with artists you came in the game with like Jay or Rule?

Gotti: Nah, because those people you mentioned it’s more than music with them. I’m gonna be Roc-A-Fella til I die. I’ve known Jay since I was 17. Jay’s my brother, it’s just like that, same thing with Rule, same thing with DMX. When we say murder for life, me and Rule, that’s what it is. Things change but the love for my brothers never gon change. And when I say Roc-A-Fella, that’s Dame too. That’s Biggs too. I know they don’t fuck with Hov and that’s something that I hate and I’ve known Jay the longest but I got love for them as well.

XXL: What’s up with Ja Rule as far as the music goes?

Gotti: What’s up with Rule is what’s up with damn near every artist in the music business. The music business is just at a trying time right now. Here’s what you gotta understand with me and Rule. We’ve been a part of and we’ve been associated with greatness. Like Rule for three consecutive albums sold three million or more. So when you’ve had that kind of success and you put an album out that you don’t feel is going to do what it’s supposed to do, then we gotta wait and get it right. Now, you have to be greater than great just to achieve great. That’s why putting out projects now…it can’t just be good.

XXL: So do you have the capacity and patience to do that all over with a new artist like you did Ja, Ashanti or Lloyd?

Gotti: Absolutely, because it’s just in me. It’s just harder now because the record sales aren’t translating that. Take Rule for instance, he’s been out 15 years, so it’s harder than hard for him. Like the records that’s out, the new Mike Jones record with the chick singing on it. Nigga if that don’t sound like what Rule and Ashanti did…even Plies and what he’s been doing. And this is no knock to them. Just a lot of the artists coming out now, you listen to the records and they’re Ja Rule records. It’s just crazy cause Ja’s been out so long that if he does that same record that they’re doing people will say, ‘eehhh, heard that from him already.’ We gotta think five times harder than the average guy. 50 [Cent]’s feeling that too now.

XXL: Ok. You mentioned transitioning even more into TV and films. I heard you got something big in the works…

Gotti: I got another like two or three shows on MTV and VH1 that’s coming out that I’m a part of executive producing and will be doing a lot more in the future. Then there’s this other thing, that I don’t really wanna talk about it too much…nah, fuck it, I’ll let you be the first to break it. It’s XXL right? [Laughs]. I got a show with HBO brewing and it’s called 160 Varick. That’s where I started at, that’s the address to the old Def Jam. Now the show is like Entourage but it’s based on the music side. That should tip you off. I’ve already met with the presidents of HBO but I just don’t like talking about it because it may never see the light of day if it’s not great the way I want it to be. My agent is Ari, the real Ari, Ari Emannuel. The guy that Jeremy Piven plays on the show, in real life, that’s my agent. So I’m in the process of finding the best writers to write the sexiest, wittiest, funniest shit that’ll make a great HBO series. –Anthony Roberts

  • http://XXL MrCP

    the INC is garbage, when 50 ended Ja career, so went down the whole camp. Lloyd is the only thing poppin (A-Town baby). PS. who the hell watched the first season of, umm, whatever the name of his show was

    • http://www.datpiff.com/Dont_Panic_Entertainment_Max_Profit_The_Drugs_Ar.m44293.html Max Profit

      Irv got it right on the money with Plies making Ja Rule singles. Both of these niggas made there money in lazy and cornball way.

    • Baddest Nigga

      People need to stop saying that 50 ended JaRule’s career and brought down Murder inc. records with him, cause that’s not true. When Irv got arrested, Murder inc. was under investigation by the FBI and Irv lost millions of dollars, and that affected a lot of the artists that were signed to Murder inc. at that time. So it had nothing to do with 50 Cent.

  • http://callmephlip.blogspot.com/ Phlip

    Maybe it was my seething hatred for the three of them, but I had NEVER made the connection between Ja Rule, Mike Jones and Plies and their respective(?) “styles.”
    And this interview did nothing to make a correlation in my mind.

    • General

      I think he was talkin bout Mike Jones new single out now that sounds exactly like Ja Rule’s old shit with Ashanti

  • that nigga

    HAHAHAHA, The Inc Is over and so Is Ja Rule. Fuck outta here Irving.

  • SOUTHSIDE A-TOWN

    u gotta respect this man right here. what hasnt he accomplished in the music business?

  • maCaso

    Eminem & 50 ended Ja years back but it’ll be gd too see him back in the “spotlight” of the game! As long as hes not singing for “Ho’s and sound like Cookie Monster”

  • BeerGangsta

    I forgot about this bitch been born. If it wasn’t for Ashanti and Lloyd Murder Ink will have been Dead Ink. Gotta and Rule help Rap game come almost to the end. New Yorkers don’t talk about this Jack Azzes.

  • General

    Its funny how many G-Unit dickriders there are. People read the post and all they can say is 50 this 50 that about Ja and Irv.

    Bottomline is that Irv is still makin money and makin moves…

    I was never a big fan of Murder Inc., but you gotta respect someone who has been successful for a long run in the music industry because not too many people can do it…

    And as Irv said in the interview, 50′s findin out right now how hard it is to stay doin numbers in the music industry over a long period of time

    • SOUTHSIDE A-TOWN

      THANK U! i thought i was by myself on dis one

    • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grand$

      Cosign General….

    • Enlightened

      You right, but his point about 50 wasn’t just about not doing numbers over a long period of time – it’s continuing to be able to make hits with those sing-song ass Ashanti/Olivia songs when other new people are doing the same thing.
      Plies is the next one to find that shit out!

    • maine

      It’s good to see brothers making positive moves out there. Irv no one really knows what goes on in your house, but you know someone always got to say something negative. As long as your true to yourself and family, you will continue to grow. I can’t stand to see brothers fall on their face. Keep doing what your doing.

  • romil

    Irv Gotti is the man, gotta respect his hustle. I think Ja Rule had a good run while it lasted he had the game on lock. Yall gotta do ya homework this cat went from playing the background in a DMX vid to taking the spotlight for merely 3 albums deep. But Irv wassup with the wifey, ya wife is nice man I would be at home more often with that.lol

  • Rob the Music Ed

    Just for the record, I AM A HUGE Irv Gotti fan!

  • 300

    I love the fact that all the 50 fans come on here straight away dissin Irv and Ja straight off!! Fair do’s, he did help destroy Ja’s carear, but not alone, props must go to DMX, Busta and especially Eminem, who did the real damage!

    My point is, if you don’t like Irv or Ja, quit hatin!!! Just dont read the article man!!!

    F**k the Haters!!!!!!

  • http://xxlmag jb

    People can hate all they want but alot of records over the past few years have copied the formula of Ja hits. The singing hooks. The concept of ride or die chick. Even 50 video 4 21 Questions was similar to Put It On Me. lol. And im far from a Murder inc fan.
    http://www.myspace.com/lidujay

  • chillin mayne

    yall a bunch of cockaroaches(scarface style).. mayne, da real reason INC was done, is cuz dick ridin hip hop fans dat lissen to 50 herd him diss ja rule, and since dey so wanna b like 50, dey stopped lisnin to da INC, on sum “50 dont like dem niggas so i dont either” type of situation….i aint gone front, 50 clowned dem cats, but dat aint stop me from lisnin to dem, i dont know either of dem cats personally, so for me to side with one or da other is plain nuttarific……dat R.U.L.E album go hard tho…niggas need to read tha man-u-el”….and “where im from”..

    bottom line, too much dick ridin

  • Shawty J

    I got a lot of respect for Irv as a businessman. But some of these artist he works with throws me for a loop. You’d think that someone who’s been down with Jay-Z from the beginning would have better taste in perspective artist signings.

  • corlione39

    MAN THIZZ YELOH ASHY NICCAHZ FULL O SHIT!!! THIZZ SHO IZ GAHBAGE JUZ LIKE THA FURZT SEEZON!!! I NEVR LIKE MURDA INC N I NEVA LIKD 2 QUARTERZ!!! ONLY BUCC N GAME!!!

  • DADE COUNTY 305

    ALL U FUCK NIGGAZ NEED TO SHUT WITH THE 50 DICK RIDING SHIT. THE NY GIANTS BEAT THE PATS IN THE SB AND THAT ENDED THE PATS WINNING STREAK! 50 END JA SHIT! NO FUCKIN DIFF!!! IVE BEEN A HIP HOP FAN SINCE THE FRESH FEST BACK IN 84… NIGGAZ BEEN MAKING RAP SONGS WITH SINGING HOOK AND LOVE SONG… LL COOL J(I NEED LOVE). JA DIDNT START THAT SHIT, GTFOH! 50CENT WENT IN ON THAT GREEN ASS NIGGA WITH BACK DOWN. THATS WHAT ENDED JA SHIT… ICE CUBE SMASH N.W.A. NO FUCKIN DIFF. THAT’S REAL TALK NO FUCKIN “50 DICK RIDING” SHIT.

  • Feev

    Gotta love Irv, yo…Gives a F about the 50 beef. Irv helped pave the way for some of YOUR favorite rappers. Niggaz need to learn to appreciate dopeness when they see instead of dick eating or hating when its convenient…But these nighaz never cut me a check, so F em all!!

  • $ykotic

    Personally I don’t give a hoot about this man’s personal life to watch it on TV. I respect the success of his label. Ja was never one of my faves. Nor was Ashanti.

    I just wanna see what he does with the Fila line! I always liked their warm-up suits!

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  • Edjoodelky Louis

    To be fair karma Happen XXL Took part of the Beef by Embracing 50 cent over Ja-rule
    Ja had to fight Busta Rhymes, Em, Dr Dre
    Irv and his team got hate Hard by Friends also Jay-z was doing commerce show with 50 cent. Dmx, LL cool J all of them was really scared
    Even Nas My favorite rapper was scared shitless
    Def jam silently left Ja-rule for dead.

    Now Look what happen to 50 his video game hot garbage, G-unit trash
    and G-unit they are most vicious fans hip-hop never seen.
    Never Give The Game Props for destroying the brand, Fat joe stay untouchable… Even rick Ross Defying 50 cent after all the bad stunt.

    My only concern with irv and Ja-rule … Does both of them have 1 more fight left… if not Ja-rule should listen Hell razar by 2pac

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  • DXL

    Firstly, didn’t Newz sign with them like 2 or 3 years ago, I remember quite well because my boy liked Newz and I told him back then that I had read online that he was with the Inc.
    Also Irv, Ja, stop taking credit for chicks singing on a rap record, this has been going on since forever, remember Father MC, Heavy Dee…shit AZ had sugar Hill with Miss Jones, Method Man/Mary J…List goes on and on, if anything Diddy was the dude that took this formula and ran with it, what you and Ja did was O.D on it to the point where he started sounding corny. Stop taking credit for B.S Irv
    Gotti you shitted on Jay when he was beefing with Nas, you switched side but Jay let it go, remember when he had the S.Carter mixtape, they actually faded your name out on the
    Only a customer, that’s because you started siding with Nas, now you’re claiming RocAfella for life…you industry niggaz think the fans forget, we don’t!

    • Enlightened

      Yep, yep, yep. Good ass points.

    • http://xxlmag jb

      Jay was doin shows with 50 so it goes both ways i guess. lol

  • ATG

    Face it, Ja Ruue made some bomb ass music back in day. Now can he still do it? I hope so, but i guess will just have to see about that. Now as far as 50 murdering his career, he killed it! I admit i was on the 50 band wagon when he 1st came out, but face it, all his s#I* now is just garbage! I dont care or have much respect for RAP music like i used 2 because its all comercialized now-a-days anyway. Once something becomes hot everybody does it! Not all is crap, but do your thing and not what everybody else is doing, and the RAP game would be a whole lot better off!!! Now back to JA, I hope u come out with a BANGEN ASS album, ill be waiting 4 it 2 drop. Oh and by the way “New York,” Wonderful,” not 2 mention “Body,” are all recient good song by JA. P.S. Get that new Jadakiss CD, “The Last Kiss,” its 1 of the best ive heard in a long time!

  • http://djnitti.com DJ NITTI

    Much respect to Irv.

  • THA BAY

    I’m glad this nigga has had a piece of humble pie. Seems to have done him a world of good. Now if he could only get Ja to stop rappin!..lol

  • dark vanilla

    chillin mayne, thank you! God thats what the whole industry has been about. 50 cent don’t like someone, so I’m not gonna like him. Its like a bunch of high school bitches. Anyways, I’ve never really hated on Rules music and I think its 10x better than the crap that comes out today. The only thing I didn’t like about Ja Rule is that he really did look like Wanksta. I mean he looks like a guy I could steal lunch money from.

  • http://yahoo.com cr00k

    Yo big up to gotta.Doing his thing.He had some bangers I hope he can bring it to that level agin.Big up to his fam wish them the best