Murder Inc Records
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (May 2015)|
|Murder Inc Records|
|Parent company||Warner Music Group|
|Genre||Hip hop, R&B, Rap|
|Country of origin||United States|
Murder Inc. Records (formerly The Inc. Records) is an American record label.
Formation and success (1999–2003)
After helping Def Jam Recordings with the success of DMX & Ja Rule, Russell Simmons gave Irv Gotti his own label under Def Jam. While watching Biography on A&E during gangster week a Murder Inc. logo appeared on the screen which gave Irv Gotti an idea what to call his label. He got the inspiration because Murder Inc. put out hits and Irv wanted to put out hit records. In 1999, Murder Inc. released its first album, Venni Vetti Vecci by Ja Rule. The album featured the hit single "Holla Holla" and soon went platinum, which made Ja Rule and Murder Inc. among the most popular labels in the industry, respectively.
In 2000, the label began 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.
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 and Jennifer Lopez.
This would cause a minor feud with Lil' Mo as she cut ties with the label. The label would soar to new heights from mid 2001 to early 2003. Not only did Ja Rule release his multi-platinum selling album Pain Is Love, that release was soon followed up with Ashanti's multi-platinum debut, Ashanti, which broke Guinness World Records and spawned three hits on the Billboard charts.
During that year's award shows, Ashanti and Ja Rule both performed numerous times and won big, along with fellow Inc. artists like Baltimore. Baltimore scored two hits that year with both Ashanti and Ja Rule ("Down Ass Bitch" and "Down 4 U", also featuring Vita). During this time, Murder Inc. started associating with Nas as he started hinting to signing with the label and then collaborated with the Inc.'s top two artists on several records (such as "The Pledge"). Murder Inc. would even sign Bobby Brown to the label. All of this success would soon come to an end despite Ja Rule's next album (The Last Temptation) still going platinum. It sold well but did not live up to its expectations.
It is believed that much of the money involved in starting up the Murder Inc. label came from Irv Gotti and his associates' involvement in organized crime, specifically drug dealing. He had ties to incarcerated Queens drug kingpin Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, who was a major investor in the label's beginnings.
Feud with 50 Cent and G Unit records
In early 2003, 50 Cent released his official debut single "Wanksta" and his debut album 'Get Rich or Die Tryin', which were both huge successes. 50 Cent's past with Ja Rule, Irv Gotti, and Murder Inc. had been less than pleasant and once he became big in the industry, he (along with his crew G-Unit) once again took aim at his long time rival and associates. G-Unit would then defame not just Ja Rule, Irv and the male rappers of Murder Inc. but also the female artists of the label, including Ashanti and Baltimore. Due to 50 Cent's rising popularity at the time, much of the public seemingly took his side of the feud while Ja Rule's popularity would start to wane. His next album, (Blood in My Eye) took aim at 50 Cent and G-Unit but was a commercial disappointment.
Ashanti however, continued her reign as her sophomore album (Chapter II) topped the charts and scored three hit singles (including "Rain on Me"). She received three Grammy nominations in late 2003 for the album. Baltimore, however, struggled to release her next album, The Diary before it was eventually shelved. She was still featured on the "Rain On Me" remix with Ashanti and Ja Rule.
The Inc. (2003–2007)
On November 14, 2003, Irv Gotti held a press conference about the recent changes at Murder Inc., the feuds, the scandal, the investigation from the IRS, and Ja Rule's troubles. In the end, he talked about 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.
At the end of 2004, 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 compilation albums; 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 Brothers as Gotti felt they would not get paid enough money.
Gotti had short talks with Capitol Records and even 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. A portion of the deal was financed by National Talent Agency out of Southern California.
The Inc. Records would sign on to Universal Records (like Def Jam, a division of Universal Music Group) in early 2006 and begin recording their respective albums. Soon after settling in at Universal, Lorenzo would sign singer Ashley Joi and Adult alternative singer/pianist Vanessa Carlton, who had been recently been recruited by Robert Krout and Christopher Dixon of National Talent shortly before the company's financial contribution.
Decline of The Inc. (2007–2012)
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 created The Inc. West with Eastwood serving as its president and Gotti on A&R. Techniec also signed to the label and was appointed Vice President. Techniec's group Dynamic Certified also signed to the label.
Irv Gotti later gave Ja Rule his own label, Mpire Records.
In May 2009, Irv Gotti announced to MTV News that he was releasing Ashanti from her contract with The Inc. Just one month later in June 2009 singer Lloyd—who had been with The Inc for five years—asked to be released from his contract. Lloyd cited the need for more control and change as reasons for his departure from the slowly shrinking label. "I'm ready for a change. There's no bad blood. I just feel I need to take more control over my career and get a fresh start. Hopefully Irv can understand my position," Lloyd explained in a press release.
"We find ourselves in limbo for the second time in three years," Henry Lee, Lloyd's manager said in a statement. "It's frustrating to know that opportunities to advance Lloyd's career are out there but we can't exploit them due to our current situation. Even though Lloyd is appreciative of the opportunity that has been afforded him by The Inc., he feels it's time for him to move on and seek opportunities that will allow him to build and enhance his brand."
Lloyd notified fans that an announcement regarding his "label situation" would be made earlier this week via his Twitter page writing, "I've been meeting with my management team and my attorneys for the past 2 days. Expect an announcement today regarding my label situation..."
That same year, Ja Rule announced that he was no longer signed to The Inc. as well, the same label he had been with since its beginnings in 1997. Ja Rule decided to go independent on his own label, Mpire Records, which is distributed through Fontana Distribution. Although Ja Rule had departed from The Inc., he revealed he was still on good terms with Gotti and the two worked together for Ja's next album, Pain Is Love 2. Baltimore soon joined suit and left the label in 2010 for new opportunities.
Return of Murder Inc. (2013–present)
In September 2013, Murder Inc. was relaunched as an umbrella label under Irv Gotti's new label, Visionary. On September 27, Murder Inc. released its first songs in years, Ja Rule's "Fresh Out Da Pen" and "Everything", both produced by Murder Inc. Records/Visionary producers Reefa and Myles William.
|Venni Vetti Vecci by Ja Rule
|Irv Gotti Presents: The Murderers by The Murderers
|Rule 3:36 by Ja Rule
|The Fast and the Furious (soundtrack) by Various Artists
|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|
|The Declaration by Ashanti|
|Lessons in Love by Lloyd|