Real Name: Irving Domingo Lorenzo Jr
D.O.B.: June 26, 1970 Hollis, South Queens, NY
CEO of Murder Inc Records
Irving who goes by the name of Irv Gotti based on the great former New York Mafioso boss of the Gambino crime family, John Gotti who was imprisoned on federal racketeering charges and later died incarcerated.
Aside from gaining local notoriety as a record producer for DMX, Mic Geronimo and manager of fellow Hollis resident Ja Rule, Gotti was first hired by Def Jam's Lyor Cohen as an A&R executive for the Island division. His first assignment was to secure a deal for Ja Rule and release him from a contract at TVT Records. He became a respected figure around the Def Jam offices when he also acquired the talents of both DMX and Jay-Z, a man who would one day take Def Jam unto his own command. Jay-Z is also credited with labelling Irving as "Irv Gotti" after producing his first album.
Gotti mirrored the businees acumen of Russell Simmons when given the opportunity to open his own franchise, rather than record label under Island Def Jam and Universal Music Group. He became the CEO of 'Murder Inc.' In 2005, The Source magazine labelled Gotti as number 1 of the top 50 most powerful entrepreneurs in the American music industry. As one of the wealthiest young businessmen in hip-hop with a very mediocre selling record label holding no masters to its own music it produces, it leaves a strong smell of suspicion. This stench grew strong federal interest with investigations into money laundering and criminal racketeering. In November, 2003 in an attempt to change to a more positive identity Gotti changed the name of his record label to ‘The Inc.’
Before The Inc came about, Irv grew up on the harsh streets of Hollis, Queens during the powerful vacuum of the crack epidemic. Morale was at an all-time low, heroes became local hardcore drug dealers. Kenneth ‘Supreme’ McGriff led a strong militant Nation of Islam army of drug dealers who controlled the streets Irv played on. The Supreme Team as they became known took over the projects of South Queens and littered the New York boroughs with crack, cocaine. Young Irv struggled for a way out of this life. He began DJing in local parks and by 1994 as a teenager became an A&R man for small independent label, T.V.T. He made his first major signing, local rap act called Cash Money Click which introduced the talent of Ja Rule. He later moved upwards to Island Def Jam Records where he displayed his production skills, but more highlighted was his intense egocentricity and bravado in the industry. By 1997 he graduated to form his own subsidiary record label, Murder Inc. Joining forces with neighbourhood kingpin, McGriff, he was able to strengthen his record label from a project they worked on together. However, the start up money was legitimate and funded by Island Def Jam, not McGriff. Murder Inc. Records was born.
"I thought, I'm going to call my artists murderers, because they put out hits. This is the whole psyche behind it, man. Nothing more." - Irv Gotti on naming his company Murder Inc.
Irv met up with McGriff not long after he was released from prison after serving an eight year sentence. McGriff had a very strong sense for good business and offered Irv a chance to co-produce a film of the Donald Goines book, Crime Partners. The film was an immediate flop but a very expensive venture. Later prosecution would lay claim to this being a classic money laundering operation. McGriff promised a payment of $500,000 for the movie and in return Def Jam, (hesitantly brokered by Lyor Cohen) would pay McGriff $1million for the soundtrack compilation, half payment upfront. However the soundtrack was never released and effectively $500,000 was laundered through one of New York’s biggest record labels.(Ruff Ryders also contributed $50,000, and its CEO Darren Dean another $50,000)
The first tell-tale sign of a distinct connection between McGriff and Lorenzo was when McGriff was arrested in 2001 in Harlem and found with $11,000 in cash and a .40 calibre Glock tucked into his waistband owned by Rory Domingo Lorenzo, Irv’s other brother. McGriff was imprisoned only to continue directing operations from behind bars. McGriff had orchestrated hits on several low-key informants and loud-mouth rapper, Eric ‘E-Money Bags’ Smith who boasted about killing one of McGriff’s lieutenants. It was this reputation that left 50 Cent stabbed and riddled with bullets and super producer, Jason ‘Jam Master Jay’ Mizzell dead. This is where the heat originated for 50 Cents animosity and public beef against Murder Inc. and their artists. It is believed McGriff has some to blame for the murder of 50’s mother when she was a low level crack dealer running for the Supreme Team. 50 Cent has snarled at Irv’s open relationship with McGriff.