Singer Ashanti called former record label exec Irv Gotti for speaking out about their alleged relationship and opened up about the real reason she left the hip-hop label he co-founded.
In her Tuesday appearance on the Angie Martinez IRL podcast, the “Foolish” singer slammed her former boss, who revealed in August he was in love with her while she was signed to Murder Inc. Records in the wee hours of the morning and has repeatedly claimed that he “made” her, which she also refuted by saying he only “helped make her great.”
“Irv lied outright about a lot of things,” the 42-year-old singer-songwriter said during the hour-long interview. “And there are so many things I know. … I don’t feel like revealing certain things. I’m happy. I work with a completely different vibration than he does. I don’t play in the mud. … I don’t have to put anyone down to make me feel like, ‘Yeah!’
“It’s weird when you know you’re lying and you just keep lying. Then it gets a little bit scary and a little bit crazy,” she said, later adding that she thinks he’s trying to prove something.
In 2019, Gotti told TV host Wendy Williams that he had a brief relationship with the hitmaker while he was separated from his estranged wife, Debra Lorenzo. Then this year, during a now infamous August appearance on the boozy “Drink Champs” podcast, Gotti opened up about his feelings for Ashanti when she started dating “Hot in Herre” rapper Nelly, who she’s been dating for about 11 years went out again and again for a long time.
Frequent Ashanti collaborator Ja Rule was also a guest on the show.
The “My Name Is a Story” writer said she later spoke to Ja Rule about the “Drink Champs” interview and told the “Always on Time” rapper that she was grateful he defended that but she felt that he had not defended her enough. She also said he told her the interview had been edited more than a dozen times and that a lite version ended up airing.
“He never tells the whole story, he never says why,” Ashanti said of Gotti, opening up about the reasons she left Murder Inc. “Okay, yes, me and Nelly were together. Irv was salty. Irv wouldn’t let me come to the studio to record. Irv told everyone not to record with me. Why do I want to stay in this situation? How can I stay in this situation?”
She also accused him of blocking her success by telling DJs not to play her records and threatening to cut ties with anyone who worked with her.
Ashanti claimed Gotti told her that if she wanted to be with Nelly, she should “sign.” [his] Derrty Ent” label instead.
After years of keeping quiet about her story, the singer appeared to address the drama in Diddy’s new song “Gotta Move On (Queens Remix)” earlier this month, according to XXL. The two haven’t spoken to each other in a decade, she said, aside from a text he sent her in 2016 apologizing for speaking out about their relationship in a radio interview and promising never to do so again.
“Let’s get this straightened out. We’re not going to say ‘relationship,'” she told host Angie Martinez. “We talked, but we had a full… ‘Was Irv my boyfriend, was I his girlfriend?’ Never. … Never. Irv had several girlfriends. So I’m a little confused by the thought, the label and the description.”
Ashanti, who got her first record deal at 14 and released her first album at 21, said that during her time with Murder Inc. she was gullible and naïve about Gotti’s influence. She said that “manipulation played a big part in me and Irv’s situation,” and claimed Gotti made threats, and sometimes death threats, against the people she “was dealing with.”
She surmises that Gotti’s “sudden wave of hostility,” including rekindling her troubled history, was an attempt to spark interest in his recent BET documentaries on the label, and accused him of making every effort to “make a.” horrible picture” of her in the doc.
“For the record, I love Murder Inc.” she said. “It is very unfortunate how Irv decided to handle his documentary. … I feel like Murder Inc.’s legacy is so much bigger and we’ve accomplished so much and made amazing history. And I feel like the way he’s handled it has been tarnished and the brand cheapened. We’ve all worked so hard, and for you to be so selfish and pollute the name because you might have a check… it’s so selfish. It’s so demeaning.”
Gotti co-founded Murder Inc. Records – based on the short-lived supergroup consisting of Jay-Z, DMX and Ja Rule – in 1997. The label co-founded and produced with his brother Chris under the Russell Simmons Def Jam umbrella Records for Ashanti, Ja Rule, Christina Milian and Vanessa Carlton. Ashanti was among the label’s most successful acts.
But the company went into decline after a series of legal troubles and an alleged money laundering scheme involving Gotti.
The “What’s upwind?” and the “Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)” singer declined to be a part of his five-part “The Murder Inc. Story,” though “they’ve definitely reached out.” But she’s seen snippets of a few episodes, including the one that heavily mentions her, and her phone kept ringing when Gotti mentioned her in his Drink Champs interview.
“It was really bittersweet. The only thing is that it didn’t surprise me to some extent. Because I accepted a long time ago that he is who he is,” she said of Gotti. “I feel like Irv is not in a good place mentally. You see people with narcissistic ways, you know. You see people who are very selfish, who are hurt and in pain. And as a grown woman, I feel like there’s a difference between when men get hurt and when women get hurt and how we take that pain and how long we bear this pain.
She also said she believes Gotti is in a “dark place” and feels that “he needs help.”
“Absolutely, definitely, I got hurt badly [in this process]and I don’t intentionally try to disrespect people and go out of my way to try and ruin someone,” she said, confirming that she believes he was trying to do just that.
The Coach Carter and John Tucker Must Die actor also said the motivation behind Gotti’s latest revelations felt different this time around.
“When you come to the realization that you can no longer manipulate or control someone, you just let go. you just vomit It looks disgusting, it smells disgusting and it reflects who you are. When someone is in pain, they act in a somewhat atypical way and I see a lot of feminine qualities,” Ashanti said.
“I think a lot of that pain comes from not wanting to let go of control. Sometimes when a man feels like he’s losing control and he can’t manipulate and he can’t dictate… it goes to a man’s ego. Then he turns to bashing, he turns to intimidation, and he turns to trying to make you look bad to boost his own ego. It’s sad to see that.”
Though she spent much of the hour refuting the producer’s claims, the singer still had a few kind words for him.
“I definitely had a genuine love for Irv because he was 100% instrumental in changing my life. I’ve had some of the most amazing times writing records, touring, making history, with someone who had chemistry to write those records with, you know, as a woman in hip-hop and R&B it was a perfect match,” Ashanti said .
But she dismissed his claims that he “made her successful” or made her a sex symbol, instead saying that he “helped make her great” by “creating beats and coming up with concepts,” as did her Gave instructions to help her write her notes.
The Hollywood Walk of Famer said she always gave Gotti credit where it was due, but claimed he spent years discrediting her.
Gotti has not yet responded to Ashanti’s interview. But he has previously addressed the backlash over his “Drink Champs” remarks.
“The only thing you need to know about me is I’m cool in my gangster,” he said. “I’m cool with who I am as a person. It gives me the ability to talk about things that a normal person wouldn’t talk about. I do not care. It’s my truth. It’s my life. it’s my story That’s what happened.”
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2022-10-26/ashanti-irv-gotti-relationship-murder-inc-documentary-drink-champs Ashanti shuts down Irv Gotti: He was ‘never’ my boyfriend