Skip to main content

Irv Gotti Says Jay Z Copied Biggie's Formula for "Vol. 1"

The former Murder Inc. head also claims Jay copied DMX' blueprint to make his highest selling album.

Yesterday, former label head Irv Gotti released the latest episode of his five part “Jewels From Irv Gotti” series on Complex. In one of the more confusing verticals the site has created in awhile, viewers are subjected to advice from the former label head. I’m not sure why, but in his latest edition Irv touches on Jay Z’s success, saying that he followed Biggie’s blueprint to success following Hard Knock Life Vol. 1.

I grew up watching And1 Mixtapes. For those not enlightened by the rules Skip To My Lou and company abided by, there was a specific rule meant to keep only the best and most capable on the court at all times. The rule was simple: if you got dunked on or your ankles were broken you were out, kicked off the court amidst a sea of screams and shouts. Perhaps the most democratic system I’ve ever encountered, I can’t help but think it applies here as well.

Irv. Buddy. It’s over.

For those of you born after 1995, Irv Gotti was once the head of one of the most promising rap labels in modern times: Murder Inc. That the whole operation was propped up by a singular artist with an obvious shtick was largely ignored amid the shouts of “Murda” and Ja Rule’s thin upper lip mustache. Their current roster, which is Ja by his lonesome, is much more honest than the fifteen acts listed in their heyday, only four of which actually released albums on the imprint. But there was a time when it all seemed like it would work out. Gotti rolled out one female rapper after another opposite Ja until the fateful day when 50 Cent, Eminem, Jadakiss and Busta Rhymes came together for “Hail Mary.”



Freddie Gibbs, Saweetie & Earl Sweatshirt: Best of the Week

Freddie Gibbs, Saweetie, and Earl Sweatshirt, among others, had the best new songs on Audiomack this week.


5 New Albums You Need to Hear This Week

Press play on new projects from Kizz Daniel, KCee, D-Block Europe, Lancey Foux, and Slump6s.


Calboy Is a Trendsetter

Chicago rapper Calboy fuses a classic style with a fun personality. His story, which he breaks down for Audiomack World, mirrors the PUMA story.

Once again, for those of you a bit too young to recall, Ja Rule was on top of everything for a brief moment in hip-hop history. With a string of hit singles he was in rareified territory until he was subjected to one of the most memorable diss tracks in modern history. Shit, “Back to Back” was pretty rough on Meek Mill but at least the MMG rapper is still allowed to have a career. As for Ja we've barely heard his name or his music (he did serve time in prison) until he popped up just recently. Even then he offered up a sort of nod to 50 Cent in recent comments where he even said “Good Luck” to the G-Unit rapper.

“This is my opinion,” Irv Gotti said. “My truthful opinion though. Jay Z, he made Reasonable Doubt, which is one of the greatest rap albums ever. Biggie died. He went and ran to the Biggie formula. So, he figured ‘I’ll get all them great records they was about to give Big.’ But that wasn’t his energy. He made that album. He didn’t fuck with none of us. It was a Bad Boy, Hitman album. "Sunshine," "You Belong To The Streets," all of that bullshit. Jay especially, he looked and seen what I did with X and was like ‘Woah, holy shit. That shit worked.’ His Vol. 1 album sold like platinum.”

So it’s with all that in mind that I’m trying to wrap my head around Irv Gotti taking shots at the most successful rapper in hip-hop history. I’d understand if it was a contemporary, an artist on the rise looking for some notice or a journalist making conjecture, but Gotti lost his claim to whatever Old Head position he thinks he owns way back in 2007.

Similar to the ideology of the streetball legends of And1, if you can’t hold your own on the court you have no business being out there. Let’s be honest. Irv and Ja Rule got crossed over harder than Kobe last night, dunked on harder than that French dude who got in Vince Carter’s way; they ceased to really matter to the world at large. Interestingly enough, Irv is probably right on this particular topic: Jay Z very well may have taken cues from what Biggie had planned in pushing his own career forward but it worked and winners often write history. Those who don’t are often in the position of Gotti at this point, grasping at straws with click-bait worthy assertions as to why he’s still relevant. A broken clock is always right twice per day and I’ll admit that his sentiment throughout the segment has weight, it’s just that it doesn’t matter anymore.

It pains me that Complex offered a segment like this to the former tastemaker/label head. Mostly because there’s so many others who could offer similar insight with markedly more ethos. With that in mind it’s time to implement And1 rules to this situation, taking away Irv’s mic and asking him to leave the court. It’s been over for a minute and those who care have moved on. How can you audit someone else’s remarkable career when your own was cut short?

[By Jake Krez, who has yet to be dunked on. Follow him on Twitter.]



Just Blaze Debuts Unheard Music From Jay Z, Kanye & More on Beats 1

You won't hear anything remotely this dope on mainstream radio.


Tim Westwood Unearths Previously Unreleased JAY Z Freestyles

The British DJ offers up some great Throwback Thursday inspiration featuring Hov.


JAY Z Says He Battled Busta Rhymes in High School & Won

Notorious B.I.G. also attended the same high school, but was notably absent from battles.


TIDAL Has 1 Million Subscribers, JAY-Z Says

What better method of celebrating than a huge star-studded concert?


Rick Ross Says He's One of the Biggest Ghostwriters in Rap

"I'm not only a ghostwriter, but one of the biggest in the rap game."


Master P Puts Real Empire on Display in New Reality Show

The former head of No Limit Records is back and, it seems, better than ever.