Queens native Irv Gotti is one of the most prolific characters in hip-hop. His giftedness as a music executive spawned artists like Jay-Z, DMX, and Ja Rule. But so many more can point to him as the architect of their careers.
Whether as a DJ, producer, Def Jam hot shot, filmmaker, or the scorned love of songstress Ashanti, Irv Gotti, whose real name is Irving Domingo Lorenzo Jr., rings bells. However, tracking down his actual net worth proves to be slippery, as the influencer is a hustler.
A Member of hip-hop’s Hierarchy
Irv Gotti started his career as a DJ but quickly realized he had a knack for music and established himself as a breakout figure, producing for rising talent in the mid-’90s and early 2000s rap scene.
In fact, Irv helped produce Jay-Z’s classic debut album “Reasonable Doubt” in 1996 and brought it and the Roc-A-Fella brand over to Def Jam for a distribution deal.
He was also instrumental in signing DMX, producing his classic debut album “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot,” in 1998.
The next year he founded Murder Inc. with his brother, Chris Gotti. Def Jam gave the brothers $3 million for 50 percent ownership of the record company.
The Rise and Fall of Murder Inc.
With this label, Irv Gotti was able to introduce to the world Ja Rule, Ashanti, Charlie Baltimore, and Lloyd, selling over 30 million records. As a producer, he collaborated with Ja Rule and they defined a signature sound and became hitmakers from artists like Jennifer Lopez, and Lil’ Mo.
“We were a huge label, not just in the United States of America. What people need to realize is when we did that record, ‘I’m Real,’ with J Lo. … Sony’s international machine was amazing. … So that ‘I’m Real’ record was not just No. 1 here, it was No. 1 in every country in the planet earth. What happened was that energy bled over to Murder Inc. because J Lo, at the time, was repping Murder Inc. So, all of that J Lo international energy transferred over to Murder Inc. and when that happened, Ja and Ashanti benefitted,” said Gotti in an interview with Vlad TV last year.
His success with Murder Inc. came to a crashing halt after federal authorities attempted to connect the label with a popular drug dealer named Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff.
Irv Gotti said, “The government stopped me from making the money. When the government came in at that time, Murder Inc. was doing like over $100 million in billing for like two years in a row.”
According to this interview, Irv Gotti believed his 50/50 joint venture with Universal Music Group was on the brink of securing personal windfall of $65 million from the $150 million in profits generated from the business’s success. But he claims this was thwarted when the feds arrested him and shut down his office in the Def Jam building in 2002, believing he was money laundering for McGriff.
Billboard reported that prosecutors said in a complaint the label wrote checks to McGriff’s film company to fund a straight-to-video film called “Crime Partners” in exchange for dirty cash.
In 2005, a federal jury acquitted Irv Gotti and his brother of money laundering, according to the New York Times.
9 Figure Deal With Iconoclast
Now, with much of his drama behind him, the producer has rebranded himself and has allegedly received the windfall of money he expected to receive years ago. He allegedly sold the Murder Inc. masters to Iconoclast, a brand and music rights managing company founded by Olivier Chastan.
“I’m signing a deal worth $300 million. $100 million of the deal is me selling my masters…My masters — and I only own half, I own 50-50 with Universal Music Group — half my masters is worth $100 million. That’s f-cking insane,” he said.
When talking about the deal to Billboard, he said in 2022, “I sold my past to ignite my future.”
Despite the buzz around his Iconoclast deal, Gotti is the sole source for this figure and it has not been confirmed. Celebrity Net Worth continues to estimate the hip-hop mogul as having a net worth of $25 million.