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Hip-Hop News: Ashanti Talks on The INC.
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Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
1/7/2005 9:33:15 PM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Ashanti.

Ashanti; she's signed to a label formerly known as Murder Inc, yet still lives with her parents.


"I kinda prepared myself for it a month or two before because everything was 100% perfect," reflects self-proposed Princess of R&B Ashanti. "We were getting great feedback, everything was a success, and I was having fun. But I knew, along with the good comes something bad."


The 24-year-old's sense of foreboding proved to be all too accurate. Two years ago record label Murder Inc was riding high. Gravel-voiced rapper Ja Rule was celebrating multi-platinum sales from his third solo album, Pain Is Love. Murder Inc's star R&B artist, Ashanti, had sold some 10m copies worldwide of her debut disc, Ashanti. Label co-owner and renowned producer Irving "Irv Gotti" Lorenzo was busy creating smash hits for artists from Fat Joe to J-Lo and lining up the next generation of Inc stars, including Biggie Smalls' ex-girlfriend Charli Baltimore. Murder Inc was hot and life at the label was great. Opulent properties were purchased, artists were bought brand new Benzs and champagne was chugged at parties around the world. "The whole experience was overwhelming, shocking," remembers Ashanti. "Murder Inc was so hot, it was ridiculous."


The success was somewhat short-lived, however. In February 2003 a cocky kid from Queens, New York, called Curtis Jackson released a record called Get Rich Or Die Trying. 50 Cent's debut album not only shifted eight million copies, it also opened up old wounds for Murder Inc. Lines like "The games you playin', you get killed like that/Actin' all hard, you ain't built like that... Murder, murder, your life's on the line" were said to be spat specifically at Ja Rule. The two had been beefing for several years; one of Rule's label-mates had stabbed 50 in retaliation for one of 50's friends robbing Rule of jewellery. Yes, he had had fights with 50, responded Rule during a televised mediation session with Minister Louis Farrakan, but it was a jealous 50 that started it by recording the above lyrics. Farrakan had hoped to talk to both sides in an attempt to calm the situation, but Cent never showed.


Simultaneously, it emerged that federal prosecutors were investigating links between Murder Inc and convicted crack cocaine kingpin Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff. Court papers, including an affadavit signed by an Internal Revenue Service agent, alleged McGriff, 43, was the true owner of the label, laundered drugs money through the business and supplied Gotti with "muscle". McGriff's lawyer insisted his client had seen the light while serving a 10-year stretch for dealing as head o

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