Can Irv Gotti Make A Comeback?

We take a look back at the producer's hip-hop reign, in Mixtape Daily.

It's official, people. Mixtape Daily is here. That's right, daily. Mixtape Monday had a phenomenal run. For over six years, the weekly segment became an institution. Every week, it was your one-stop shop for everything related to the streets. But we promised you bigger and better things in 2009, and we're men of our word. We're going to keep bringing you all the exclusives and insight you've come to expect. We're just expanding and refocusing.

Behind the Beats: Irv Gotti

For our Behind the Beats feature, you can look forward to hearing from your favorite DJs or producers every single week. While the artists are in the forefront of the industry, let's not forget the DJs and producers — we have love for all you guys.

No more travelling all the way downtown to SoHo for the Queens native — Irv Gotti's moved on up to a new plush three-room recording studio in midtown Manhattan.

"All the energy is compacted into one floor," he said with a grin.

Gotti can still boast one of the most remarkable runs in hip-hop — in the late '90s, he brought DMX, Jay-Z, Ja Rule and his own Murder Inc. label to Def Jam. As an executive, he was on fire, but as a producer, he was even hotter. Platinum plaques left and right for albums and singles, mostly by his artists Ja Rule and Ashanti. Along the way, he gave Jay-Z one of his breakthrough songs ("Can I Get A ... "), helped Fat Joe reach superstar status with "What's Luv?" and gave J. Lo street cred with "I'm Real." Yes, he was in demand and wasn't afraid to let you know.

"Murder Inc. got all the hits, everyone's calling me," he said of his run behind the boards earlier this decade. "The illest sh-- I ever did, I made somebody pay me $50,000 just to get on the phone with me. I was an a--hole at the highest level. I was like, 'Send me 50 [grand] and I'll get on the phone. If not, get the f--- outta here, a--hole!' 'Yo, it's a quarter. Yeah, you heard me, $50,000. I ain't stutter!' "

Still, despite his track record, I.G.'s sound (a lot of hits were the result of working with co-producers 7 Aurelius and Chink Santana) hasn't been heard on the radio lately. He says the interest of the industry has shifted.

"You know what happens — the music business is di-- riders for the better part," Gotti explained. "I understand it ... so they want a Dream beat right now or a Polow Da Don [track] or whatever like that. They're di-- riders. I can say that with the utmost confidence because they di-- rode me for a number of times.

"A lot of people was telling me, 'You was an a--hole, you should get humbled,' " he added. "I did get humbled but, honestly, the game don't have love for you. So if you wanna be an a--hole, go ahead. They only f--- with you when you're hot. If you not hot, they gonna tell your humble ass, 'Get the f--- outta here.' It's no love."

Gotti isn't tripping — he says he'll be back in-demand soon, thanks to the beats he's cooking up in his new studio space.

"I'm gonna go in the studio with my band of thieves and plot and create some sh-- again, 'cause it's just in me to do it. And after I do it, if I wanna be humble, I'll be humble. If I wanna say, 'F--- y'all,' I'll say, 'F--- y'all.' "

Five-Star Stellar Irv-Produced Hits

» Jay-Z (featuring Ja Rule and Amil) - "Can I Get A ... "

» Ja Rule (featuring Ashanti) - "Always on Time"

» Fat Joe (featuring Ashanti) - "What's Luv?"

» Jennifer Lopez (featuring Ja Rule) - "I'm Real"

Hottest Streak Thus Far

From 2000 to 2002, when he dropped Ja Rule's Rule 3:36 and Pain Is Love, as well as Ashanti's self-titled debut LP.