Former Murder Inc. mastermind Irv Gotti made countless now-infamous moves to reach the pinnacle of the rap game during the New York-based label’s heyday back in the early 2000s — like his efforts to block 50 Cent’s record deals until he signed with Dr. Dre and Eminem.
Now, Ja Rule is shedding light on the tireless energy Gotti spent trying to assemble a Hip Hop supergroup with Dark Man X and NYC’s Marcy House’s most famous resident, JAY-Z, without even having a formal discussion with the trio about the venture!
“We knew what was going on, but it was kind of like pulling teeth to get it done, is what I’m saying,” Ja told HipHopDX about the group during his video interview. “Never a conversation. Irv was like — It’s the Don King movie and Don King is trying to get fucking Muhammad Ali and, what’s my dude’s name, ma, George Foreman to do the fight in Africa, but he didn’t have either fighter. That was Gotti. That was Gotti putting together the Murder Inc. group and shit.”
The “I’m Real” rapper described the decentralized plan of attack at length, describing how hard it was to arrange appearances and sessions.
“Nobody was really — Jay and X fucking, you couldn’t get them in the same room together!” he admits. “I didn’t give a fuck. I was the new artist, I was just coming out, so that was an honor for me to be able to walk with those dudes, but for me, it was different because I’d known them for so long. I’d known them before they were who they were and it was like, ‘Okay, I’m rhyming with my partners. My homies.'”
As a result, Ja remembers the creative strategies Gotti developed to get the rap stars on tracks together and even explained how they led to the former record executive pulling strings for their classic press appearance announcing the crew that never materialized.
“Irv was kind of just doubling down on shit like, ‘I got Jay on this record, I’m going to sneak and let X get on the record and then yo, Rule,'” Ja proclaims. “It was that type of shit. So, the XXL cover, that shit came about the same type of way.”
Music from the all-star rap-pact never amounted to a full-length release, which is something that Ja is somewhat grateful for considering he feels he was able to, “make his own bones.”
“I’m good, I’m doing me,” he says. “Fuck it, it would’ve been great! For me, I think about it. Hindsight is already 20/20, but I think about it now and I’m like, ‘damn, I was the low man on that totem pole,’ so if I would’ve did it, that would’ve been my career. Everybody would’ve always talked about how I came in on that and every hit record I would’ve made after that would’ve been, ‘Well, it’s because … you know, he’s part of Murder Inc. How did he not blow up after that?’ I was kind of happy I was able to make my own bones, and then if they wanted to come back and do it, and put it together, it would’ve been dope.”
The rest, they say, is history. Ja went on to release several multi-platinum albums and score Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits with Ashanti and Jennifer Lopez.
Watch the full clip below and revisit Ja Rule’s previous interview with DX to hear about his aspirations to have a fun Verzuz battle that does not pit him against his enemy 50 Cent.