MIAMI — We've seen it happen to plenty of labels — Bad Boy, Cash Money, No Limit, Def Jam and Death Row. Label executives ride a wave of commercial success, putting out nothing but hits, only to eventually hit a wall. While some companies are able to bounce back and be embraced once again by the public, others ultimately fall by the wayside. Murder Inc. is trying hard to avoid that fate.
Having gone through a bit of a rough patch these past few months — on top of its beef with Eminem, Dre and 50 Cent, the label is in the middle of an ongoing federal investigation stemming from a raid of its New York offices back in January — company CEO Irv Gotti says he's well aware of the backlash, especially when it comes to his biggest star, Ja Rule (see "Murder Inc. Offices Raided By Feds").
Case in point: Ja's 2002 LP, The Last Temptation, is his lowest selling since his debut, Venni Vetti Vecci, and his current single, "The Reign," isn't getting the record-breaking radio spins the Queens MC has grown accustomed to. On a recent episode of BET's "106 and Park," fans panned the song's video and called for Ja to stop singing so much. To make matters worse, the public has been showing overwhelming support for Rule's lyrical foe, 50 Cent.
"Rule's been out since 1999. He came out in 1999 and we dropped an album every year since [then]," Gotti said Saturday, rationalizing Ja's seemingly fading popularity. "He's been on the radio — probably the most played rap artist [from] 1999 till now. I'll give the people that — maybe y'all want a little break from my man. I'll give you six months. Y'all could ride with whoever. [Regardless of what they say,] it's all good 'cause they talking about my man. As long as y'all talking about my man, we'll deliver."
Gotti says that Rule is going to keep relatively silent during the next half year. He's been turning down interviews and the two aren't thinking about dropping Ja's next album until sometime in 2004.
"We're going to come with a double album 'cause [there's] a lot to talk about," Gotti revealed. "We're going go make some records. When the records are finished, the album will come out."