The story of Irv Gotti and his Murder Inc. label was one of the hottest topics in the 2000s, as they dominated the airwaves with massive hits from their artists like Ja Rule, Ashanti, Lloyd, and others. When Irv’s “Princess of Hip-Hop/Soul” hit with records like “Baby”, “Foolish”, and “Rock With U”, her reign would continue for many an album cycle.
For years, Murder Inc. Records would continue its reign at the top of the charts until a federal raid occurred in 2003. It was then that the “What’s Luv” singer made her exit before starting her journey as an independent artist. Ashanti stopped by Hot 97 to speak with Ebro Darden to promote her Braveheart album, and the host asked her about her current relationship with Irv, although it was years later. “There’s definitely no beef but, for me, again, just me talking about my movement and being brave and kind of just revealing a little bit more of myself at this point in my career, I feel like Irv kind of paints a picture of what happened with me and Murder Inc. very one-sided,” she said. “I hear him a lot talk about, ‘She’s disloyal,’ and ‘Oh, she didn’t throw up the Ms and she didn’t do this and that.’ And I feel it’s time to kind of set the record straight on what it really is.”
She continued, “I’m a Libra, I’m a very loyal person. Anybody with any sense of logic could see that I rode out. I rode until the wheels fell off [laughs]. You know what I mean? I went to the trial, I was there, I was filming in Vancouver, and in my contract, I wasn’t ever supposed to leave Canada. I came to the court, to the trial, three or four times when I was not supposed to. I was contractually doing what I was supposed to not be doing, paying those round trip tickets to come and support and it’s crazy because at that time me and Irv weren’t even speaking. Like, we weren’t even speaking at all…regardless, I’m going to always have love for Irv. Regardless. We’ve made history together. Our chemistry in the studio is amazing. But I’m not going to sit here and let the picture be painted one side anymore.”
During her time under Irv Gotti’s wing, rumors began to circulate that the two were involved in an alleged affair while Gotta was married. While Ashanti herself has never commented on the rumors, Irv opened up about it on an appearance on Hot 97 with legendary DJ Funkmaster Flex in a resurfaced interview. “It was intimate,” he said of dating his artist. “I think everyone knows at this point we had a relationship.”
He continued, “She looks great. She could be turning the clock backwards. But I absolutely have no interest [in getting back with Ashanti]. None at all. She looks great… but I have no interest at all…It’s tough for me because people who have said things to me, and done things to me; it just doesn’t go away. It’s the Cancer in me – we love hard, but we hate hard, top. It’s just things that were said [between Ashanti and him].”
Not only did he speak on his rumored relationship with Ashanti, but also revealed that he had beef with rapper Nelly because they happened to be dating at the same time. The CEO also spoke on his infamous beef with 50 Cent in the same interview. “Let’s talk about it for one second,” Gotti began. “Shouldn’t that have been in the real world? The death blow?! The guy who is claiming to be the roughest, toughest, Don Dolla, bully?! [Expletive], you got beat up! And poked up! And you ran to the precinct and pressed charges on us! AND, the real death blow! You took out an order of protection! That’s women [expletive].”
Ashanti hasn’t spoken up on the matter, but since the interview, Gotti has come forward in other interviews to clarify some things pertaining to their relationship. In an interview with The Breakfast Club, he mentioned “We didn’t have sex…I never slept with Ashanti,” while also appearing on The Wendy Williams Show as well to clarify that Ashanti was not the reason that he and his ex-wife separated, saying that the “Foolish” singer was “not a home wrecker.”