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The Inc. Records was founded in 1999 by Irving "Irv Gotti" Lorenzo and his brother. At the time Irv was a DJ and went under the moniker DJ Irv. He knew a young Jay-Z and produced for him he also knew Earl "DMX" Simmons, both young New York rappers. While at a friend's house, he heard a recording from the Cash Money Click.
Irv was impressed by a recording from one vocalist, Ja Rule, who like DMX was known for his deep voice. Around this time, Irv landed a job as an exec at Def Jam Recordings, he lured Jay-Z and his Roc-A-Fella Records to sign to Def Jam. He was also able to land DMX a gig along with his Ruff Ryders.
He said that he was saving Ja for something more special than Jay and X. In early 1997, Lorenzo went to Def Jam president Lyor Cohen with the idea of granting him his own vanity label to reward him for his big signings. Cohen would agree to this and during the summer of 1997, Murder Inc. Records was born.
Gotti's first act was signing Ja Rule away from TVT Records, and also signing Black Child and Caddillac Tah on solo deals. Then shortly thereafter, Russell Simmons had the idea that Jay-Z, DMX, and Ja Rule form a rap group. The group was also named Murder Inc. and they released a few songs on their respective albums and recorded with other artists under this moniker.
This helped promote the label, but their first glimpse of success and popularity came in 1998, when Jay-Z featured main artist Ja Rule on his hit single Can I Get A..., which catapulted Ja Rule into a long and successful career.
Successful years (1999-2003)
In 1999, Murder Inc. released its first album, Venni Vetti Vecci by Ja Rule. The album featured the hit single "Holla Holla". The album was executively produced by Irv Gotti and would go platinum, which would make Ja Rule and Murder Inc. one of the most popular rappers and labels in the industry respectively. During this time, Murder Inc. would sign female rapper Vita.
In 2000, the label would begin to associate themselves with Lil' Mo, who would record two popular duets with Ja Rule, "Put It On Me" and "I Cry". That same year, Irv Gotti released the first Murder Inc. compilation, Irv Gotti Presents The Murderers.
At this point, Murder Inc. was more popular than Bad Boy Records and Roc-A-Fella Records. They would sign Charli Baltimore and Ashanti during that year. Also in 2001, their friendship with Lil' Mo would grow sour because her tracks that were set to be released on Ja's third album were cut and replaced with duets with Ashanti.
This would cause a minor feud as Lil' Mo would cut ties with the label. The label would soar to new heights during late 2001 and the summer of 2002 as Ashanti would release her multi-platinum debut, Ashanti, and it had three hits and Ja Rule had another big year.
During the VMAs, Ashanti and Ja Rule both won big and did the same at the BET Awards, Murder Inc. would even sign Bobby Brown to the label. All of this positive was quickly coming to an end despite Ja Rule's album still going platinum. It sold well but did not live up to its expectations.
Murder Inc. vs. G-Unit
According to 50 Cent, the feud started in 1999 when Ja Rule was robbed out of his jewelry. But, according to Ja Rule, the feud started when he (Ja Rule) was making a video shoot in Queens because 50 Cent was jealous. The first incident in this giant feud was 50 Cent getting 3 stab wounds while leaving a nightclub. Rapper Black Child took responsibility for this incident. He stated that he was acting in a self-defense because he thought someone was reaching for a gun. This caused 50 and Ja to continuously fire back shots at each other on mixtapes, including others from each side, with Black Child, Caddilac Tah, and Irv Gotti on Murder Inc., and all of G-Unit on 50 Cent's side (even though the group at the time was relatively unknown, as Ja Rule was busy doing work with rappers like Jay-Z and DMX, who would eventually enter the feud as well, on his debut and second album Rule 3:36) In 2000, associate of Murder Inc., New York drug lord Kenneth McGriff was becoming more and more angry at 50 Cent because the relase of 50 Cent's album Power of the Dollar, because the album contained a track 'Ghetto Qur'an' that was revealing Murder Inc.'s criminal activities, which included McGriff and Pappy Mason, another drug kingpin. McGriff then ordered 50 Cent's murder, but 50 Cent stayed alive and took 9 gunshot wounds.
Meanwhile, Ja Rule was selling very well in his discography, despite the constant jabs made by 50 Cent on the mixtapes he and G-Unit made. Ja Rule would continue to sell very well into his career, but when 50 Cent was signed to a major label on Interscope, he also signed with famous rappers and producers Dr. Dre and Eminem, and this changed the feud entirely.
In 2003, 50 Cent signed to Eminem's Shady Records and Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment. Soon after that, Ja Rule was a guest in a talk show and he warned Dr. Dre and Eminem to not relase any of the 'diss' songs aimed at Murder Inc. because of 50 Cent's involvement between the two rappers. The two did not send any kind of direct or indirect diss track to Murder Inc., listening to Ja. However, Dr. Dre was the one who produced 50 Cent's vicious track 'Back Down' in 2003 from the album Get Rich Or Die Tryin', which called out Murder Inc., which then gave Ja Rule the obvious notion to reply back to Eminem and Dre. After that, Ja Rule decided to attack Dr. Dre and Eminem. He did it in his infamous and centerpiece diss track 'Loose Change'. In the song, he not only made fun of 50 Cent, Eminem (he called him Feminem), and Dr. Dre (he had called him a bisexual and claimed that Suge Knight knew of Dre bringing transvestites home, and both are false), but he had also dissed his friend Busta Rhymes who signed to Aftermath at that time. The track also insulted Eminem's daughter, Hailie, by saying that she'll grow up to be a slut or a drug addict like Eminem's ex-wife Kimberly Anne Scott and mother Debbie. The lyrics insulting her are:
"Em you claim your mother's a crackhead and Kim is a known slut, so what's Hailie gonna be when she grows up?"
This insulted Eminem deeply, causing Em to immediately get his rap group D12 involved, as well as the major part of his label, Shady Records, including Obie Trice, his close friend. Dr. Dre then joined in the feud to fire back at Ja Rule. The two labels together then sent an onslaught of disses towards Ja Rule throughout the middle of 2003, attacking his, Irv Gotti's, Black Child's, and Murder Inc.'s credibility in general. Later on in the year Ja Rule relased his hate album Blood in My Eye which was dedicated to dissing Shady/Aftermath back in favor. Blood in My Eye was originally a mixtape intended for the streets only, but Murder Inc. had ordered Ja to release an album each year based on the requirements of his contract, and so Ja Rule made the mixtape an album. The album dropped Ja Rule's popularity down severely, and during this time 50 Cent was selling multi-platinum with his album Get Rich or Die Tryin' (in fact, it sold 6x platinum at the end of 2003). With just one diss in "Loose Change," Ja Rule had brought two record labels against him and his own record label. From then on, in 2004, Ja released his highly-successful comeback, R.U.L.E.. The album featured the hardcore street anthem "New York."
The song featured Fat Joe and Jadakiss. In the song, Ja Rule would throw a subliminal shot towards 50 Cent. 50, in turn would go on to diss both Fat Joe and Jadakiss. This would bring them into the feud, numerous disses were now being hurled at G-Unit from all directions. Jadakiss would soon back out of the feud, while Nas would come into it with many disses aimed at 50 Cent. Other Murder Inc. arists would step into the feud as Ja Rule made peace with Busta Rhymes, Dr. Dre, and Eminem. The Game would soon have a falling out with 50 and G-Unit, which led to him siding with Murder Inc. in the feud. Toward the end of 2005, the feud calmed down until Ja Rule disses 50 in 2007 on a remix to "I Get Money." Also from late 2007 to early 2008, Fat Joe has been trading insults with 50 Cent as Jadakiss had chosen to stay neutral.
Rebirth, The Inc. (2004-2007)
On November 14, 2003, Irv Gotti held a press conference about the recent changes at Murder Inc., the beefs, the scandal and Ja Rule's trouble. In the end, he talked about him changing the name from Murder Inc. to The Inc. Records. This became official in 2004, with the signing of Lloyd and the release of his debut album Southside.
In 2004, The Inc. ended most of their public feuds as Eminem and Busta Rhymes would end their respective feuds with the label. The Inc. also collaborated with the likes of Nelly, Fat Joe, and Jadakiss.
At the end of the year they were ordered to leave the Def Jam offices while the investigations were on. When the trials began in early 2005, Def Jam made them honor their contracts and release compilations then they were not re-signed.
The Inc. Records spent the year of 2005 and parts of 2006 searching for a new home. Lorenzo first went to his friend Lyor Cohen at the Warner Bros. labels. Cohen offered a deal that would make Gotti the head of not only The Inc., but also Atlantic Records Group. In the deal it involved them buying The Inc. and Gotti getting paid the same as he did at Def Jam. The Inc. then ended talks with Warner Bros. as Gotti felt they would not get paid enough money.
Gotti had short talks with Capitol Records and even 50 Cent's label, Interscope Records. It was beginning to seem as if they were going to sign with Atlantic, then Universal Records offered Gotti a seven year deal and 50 percent ownership of his materials and the label along with the job as A&R which pays a large amount of money. T
he Inc. Records would sign on to Universal Records in early 2006 and begin recording their respective albums. Soon after settling in at Universal, Lorenzo would sign singer Ashley Joi and pop singer Vanessa Carlton. In late 2006, Gotti would announce his plans to bring the label back to the top of the music world.
Murder Is Back (2007-2008)
On August 1, 2007, Ja Rule would return to radio and television on Sucker Free on MTV, where he debuted his single Uh Oh with Lil Wayne and his return to recording music. Irv Gotti and Eastwood have created The Inc. West with Eastwood serving as its president and Gotti will A&R. Techniec will also sign to the label and be appointed Vice President. Techniec's group Dynamic Certified will also be signed to the label.
Also Irv Gotti, Ronald "Slim" Williams and Brian "Baby" Williams and Lil' Wayne have created The Inc. South where Lil' Wayne will serve as A&R. Birdman will be President and Slim will be Vice President. Irv Gotti has granted Ja Rule his own label Mpire Records.
Rah Digga recently has sign with Irv Gotti's Murder Inc. They have also announced that they are trying to add the legendary Big Daddy Kane to the label. It has been reported that the R&B trio Blaque have signed to Murder Inc as well as Memphis Bleek.
The Inc Artists
Murder Inc Artists
Murder Inc Extended
Labels under Murder Inc.
- One Twelve Music Group
- Murder Inc.
- Murder Inc Extended.
- The Inc. West
- The Inc. South
- Mpire Records
- Pov City Hustlers
- Terror Squad Entertainment
- Bad Boy Records
- Ruff Ryders
- Roc-A-Fella Records
- Death Row Records
- Rap-A-Lot Records
- Flipmode Records
- SRC Records
- Cash Money Records
- Diplomat Records
- Konvict Muzik
- D-Block Records
|Venni Vetti Vecci by Ja Rule|
|Rule 3:36 by Ja Rule|
|Pain Is Love by Ja Rule|
|Ashanti by Ashanti|
|Irv Gotti Presents: The Inc. by The Inc. Records|
|The Last Temptation by Ja Rule|
|Chapter II by Ashanti|
|Ashanti's Christmas by Ashanti|
|Blood in My Eye by Ja Rule|
|Southside by Lloyd|
|Concrete Rose by Ashanti|
|R.U.L.E. by Ja Rule|
|Exodus by Ja Rule|
|Collectables by Ashanti by Ashanti|
|Street Love by Lloyd|
|Heroes and Thieves by Vanessa Carlton|
- Release: May 6, 2008
- Chart positions: TBA
- U.S Sales: TBA
- Singles: "Uh Oh" "Body" "Sunset" "Father Forgive Me"
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