Due to Queens rapper Ja Rule’s recent prison sentence, there hasn’t been much light shed on the demise of Murder Inc (now known as The Inc. Records) and the emotions the Pain Is Love 2 spitter was coping with during both his feud with 50 Cent and the federal investigation of the label he called home.
Now that much of his past struggles are behind him and it’s been close to five month since his release from prison, Ja finally opened up about the Murder Inc downfall, his beef with 50 Cent, and more, during an appearance on HOT 97’s The Angie Martinez Show.
Joined by Irv Gotti, Ja Rule detailed what it was like during Murder Inc’s most turbulent times as he compared the label’s quick decline to a roller coaster.
“It was a roller coaster because everything—we was going up so fast and everything was happening so fast and then it went ‘shooom.’ It was no slope. It was no dip. It was just a straight [drop],” Ja revealed. “And it was weird because I’m really, really a fan-driven artist…I think a lot of people think I was angry at the fans, but I wasn’t as much angry as I was hurt. Because like I said, I did a lot for my fans. It was really a weird time for me and I think out of that came the anger. And then I went into a dark place. And everything was dark for me. Everything that I wanted to do was just angry. My music, the way I moved on the streets.”
Irv Gotti, Murder Inc’s owner also commented on the label’s rapid decline and the repercussions, which followed. Due to an investigation by federal agents, Irv was unable to work with Universal Def Jam and was also unable to secure any funds for projects.
“It wasn’t just one thing, like everything came at us. So, I couldn’t even do business because the Feds told Universal if you do any business with Irving Lorenzo, you’re gonna be codefendants with Irving Lorenzo…I couldn’t enter into a new agreement. So, they couldn’t give me no money,” Irv explained. “They couldn’t do nothing. So, I’m sitting there trying to organize things and do things and I gotta do it with nothing because the Feds is on my back.”
After Irv Gotti confessed to taking a loss to rapper 50 Cent, Ja Rule further elaborated on his feud with Fifty during his interview with HOT 97. He went on to allude to 50 Cent possibly taking his spot due to the downfall of Murder Inc and his association with acts like Dr. Dre and Eminem.
“It was a lot going on in that time frame,” said Ja. “You got the federal indictment. Here’s what it is, it was orchestrated very well. He was a part of the juggernauts at that moment. Eminem, Dre, they were very, very big in what they were doing as well. So, as we were big over on our side they were also big on their side. And as everything started to crumble for us as far as we didn’t have a label home anymore, ya understand? There was a lot of things that were falling apart for us. It was easy for him to get people to turn on. And there was things that were behind the scenes that y’all don’t see that also made us seem more irrelevant. Like we couldn’t go to awards shows.”
Among those also affected by Murder Inc’s demise was Long Island songstress Ashanti who released a number of notable collabs with Ja Rule including “Put It On Me” and “Happy.” Both Irv Gotti and Ja Rule, who will star in the upcoming film I’m In Love With A Church Girl as well as a new reality show, fessed up to their relationship with the singer not being as strong, but revealed that they do have love for Ashanti.
"We're good. We talk. When we come around, we talk,” Irv revealed. “Honestly, I wish it was better. I wish we was better. I have nothing against being around her or letting everyone know that we're cool. I don't know if she feels the same way. All good...The bottom line with Ashanti is I love Ashanti."
"I've got love for [Ashanti]. We went through our little thing, but me and [Ashanti] are cool. It's like that sometimes with family,” Ja Rule added.
Due to Irv Gotti’s past dealings, Murder Inc garnered much attention from authorities who were led to believe that money used to fund the label was laundered from Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff. The negativity surrounding the label even led to Irv changing the name from Murder Inc to The Inc. Records in 2003.
The name change came just a couple of years after Ja Rule and 50 Cent’s feud was birthed. It’s unclear what exactly sparked the feud, both parties claim different reasons, but the two rappers beef with one another has gone strong for well over a decade.