No matter if he was producing hits for Jay-Z or J.Lo or running Murder, Inc Records, Irv Gotti always approached the game with passion. Gotti brought that same love to MTV’s “RapFix Live” in October when he essentially campaigned to become Def Jam’s next president .
“It caused a buzz, and I want people to know I didn’t start the whole ‘Irv Gotti for president’ thing; the people did,” the former Def Jam A&R told MTV News as he walked the red carpet at the reopening of Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club in Manhattan last week. “It was a crazy thing, and it was all good.”
Gotti has a storied relationship with the groundbreaking rap label. After he produced “Can I Live” from Hov’s 1996 debut, Reasonable Doubt, Irv helped set up a deal between Jay’s Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam. Next, Gotti coaxed DMX to the powerhouse label and then Ja Rule.
In 2005, the federal government charged Gotti’s Murder Inc. label with money laundering, and even though Irv was cleared of the charges , his relationship with Def Jam soured. Back in October, Irv made his pitch to return to the record company in a very big way.
“If you don’t want to hire me — the best man for the job, the man who will die for it — cool, I understand. You think I’m Suge Knight, you think the feds may come in here again if you hire me, cool,” he said at the time. “Put somebody in there, because you not giving any sign or any indication that you care about my culture.”
A number of artists and industry mainstays spoke out in support of Irv, while others quietly championed him behind the scenes. “It was one of the best ‘RapFix’ [interviews] ever,” Jadakiss told MTV News in November. “He said a lot of stuff that doesn’t get said. He was able to [vent] without hating on the record labels or channeling any hate. … Everything he said — me being on the inside looking out and him being on the inside looking out but now on the outside looking in — I think he nailed every point. I think everything he said was excellent, and almost everything was true.”
It doesn’t seem like Def Jam brass will put Irv in the big chair, but Gotti is appreciative of the support he has gotten from the hip-hop community. “Everybody was riding. It was a lot of love,” he said last week. “Everybody felt what I was saying and was riding.”
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