Murder Inc. Records
|The Inc. Records|
|Parent company||Vivendi Universal (1997)|
|Distributing label||Def Jam Records (1997-2005)|
Universal Music Group (2006-present)
The Inc. Records (formerly known as Murder Inc.), established in 1997, is a hip hop record label, owned by record producer Irv Gotti. It features many current hip hop and R&B artists, such as Ja Rule, Ashanti, Cadillac Tah, Vita (former member) Charli Baltimore (former member), Black Child, and, Lloyd (former member). Murder Inc. is responsible for jump-starting Ashanti's career, as well as for bringing Charli Baltimore and Bobby Brown back into the music scene in 2002. Both Brown and Baltimore were featured on Ja Rule singles that year, "Thug Lovin'" and "Down Ass Chick," respectively.
The label releases its product through distributor Def Jam Records, retaining control of its copyrights and masters. The label's big break came in 1999 when Ja Rule's Venni Vetti Vecci LP was a multi-platinum success. The roster grew from there, expanding to include R&B with the addition of Ashanti in 2002. Elektra Records artist Lil' Mo was a frequent collaborator with the Murder Inc. artists, and recorded two popular duets with Ja Rule, "Put It On Me" and "I Cry". In late 2002, she parted friendly company with the label, as her collaborations with them dwindled after the addition of Ashanti. She, 50 Cent, Eminem, Dr. Dre, and Truth Hurts, were all the subjects of an underground freestyle record on which Ja Rule disses each of them.
On November 14, 2003 Gotti decided to shorten the name of the label to "The Inc.," most likely to appease music video channels and music stores that were uncomfortable with the label's use of the word "murder." In 2004, Gotti's label came under investigation for laundering money through his record label for New York City drug kingpin and childhood friend Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff. On January 25, 2005, Gotti and his brother Chris turned themselves in, claiming innocence and uninvolvement in drug trade. They were released on $1 million bail, and was not be tried alongside McGriff for the charges. Irv and Chris were found not guilty on all charges. Irv also signed three new artist Kayoz, Newz, Harry-o.
Irv Gotti is Currently in Talk with Universal Music Group for a new Distribution deal through Universal Motown Records Group , The Deal Should be Done within a few weeks (August - September 2006)
It should be noted that Murder Inc. was originally meant to be a rap group rather than a record company. Jay-Z, Ja Rule and DMX were to be the members of Murder Inc., the group, (as seen on the cover of XXL Magazine June 1999 issue). Due to conflicting schedules, the emergence of Ja Rule as a solo artist and eventual tension between DMX and Ja , the project never took off and the concept of Murder Inc. was changed into a record label.
After three years Irv Gotti is set to sign a deal with Universal next week. Murder Inc is no more.
Universal Music Group the company that originally financed Murder Inc. and distributed its recordings, are set to finance him again by making Irv Gotti the chief of a new profit-sharing venture with the company’s Universal/Motown label.
Initially he entertained options with Lyor Cohen and Warner but wasn't happy with their deal.
In the three-year deal Universal will provide around $10 million to Mr. Lorenzo as an advance against future profits and payments to cover overhead.
The deal also includes a clause that could allow Irv Gotti to buy ownership of Murder Inc.’s master recordings according to people in the know.