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Irv Gotti Presents: The Inc.

Irv Gotti & Various Artists

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Album Review

Two years after the lukewarm reception given to his Murderers various-artists album, Irv Gotti unleashed his second, Irv Gotti Presents: The Inc. During the two-year intermission, Gotti's label, Murder Inc, grew enormously. In particular, Ja Rule and Ashanti scored huge hits, and Gotti himself moved further toward Dr. Dre-size proportions as a producer. Given all the success for Gotti and his label, it's understandable that he'd return with a hard-hitting follow-up to his Murderers collection. Gotti first diversified his roster, adding Charli Baltimore in hopes of duplicating the success of Ashanti. Similarly, he integrated more R&B into his songs, often juxtaposing his male gangstas with his hook-singing females just as he'd done on so many hits for Ja. Besides the vocals, he changed his production style a bit — actually, to be more accurate, that of his co-producers — moving closer toward the sound Dre and the Neptunes popularized in the early 2000s: real instruments and tight rhythms. Finally, he expanded his roster, bringing in yet more thugs to complement Ja, Caddillac Tah, and Black Child. The result seems great in concept and works well on songs like "Down 4 U" and "Ain't It Funny." The non-singles aren't quite as memorable, often weighed down by excessive thuggishness. Still, there's a wealth of music here, everything from girly melodies ("No One Does It Better") to brute swaggering ("We Still Don't Give a F**k"). It's important to keep in mind, however, that Gotti didn't intend this album to play seamlessly but rather more like a sampler. And as a label sampler, The Inc. surely succeeds, giving you a taste of everything, from the girly stuff to the brute swaggering.

Biography

Born: 1971 in New York, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Hitmaker Irv Gotti produced a flurry of hits for such artists as Ja Rule, Ashanti, and DMX beginning in the late '90s, in the process building his Murder Inc. boutique label into a small empire. Like other superstar producers Dr. Dre and Timbaland, Gotti's name often carried more clout than that of his artists, and the major labels came to him often in search of hit productions for their own artists. When he wasn't...
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