Ashanti is setting the record straight about her alleged relationship with Irv Gotti. “Let’s clear this up,” Ashanti told Angie Martinez on the IRL podcast on October 26. “We dealt with each other, but was Irv my boyfriend? Was I his girlfriend? Never. Irv had several girlfriends, so I’m a little confused by the label and the description.”
It was the producer and founder of Murder Inc Records himself who first claimed they’d dated. In an August appearance on the Drink Champs podcast, he said the singer recorded her 2002 hit “Happy” after they’d had sex and that they’d had a romantic relationship. The conversation grew a little pathetic after he admitted some hurt feelings when Ashanti began dating Nelly. Gotti then doubled down on his comments during an episode of The Murder Inc Story, a docuseries on BET that charts the rise of Gotti’s eponymous label. Ashanti chose not to participate in the project, saying on IRL, “It’s a little sad to see a grown man conduct himself in that manner.”
The singer was a little perplexed by Gotti’s insistence that they’d dated, believing that Gotti — whom she describes as a “narcissist” — made their past relationship “into something big, and it’s really not that.” When it became obvious that she would not reciprocate his feelings, he’d turned into “a completely different person,” she said on the podcast. “Irv has flat-out lied about a lot of things,” Ashanti explained. “It’s weird. It’s very weird when you know you’re lying and you just keep lying. That’s where it becomes a little scary and a little mental.” Responding to the rumor that they’d slept together, Ashanti told Martinez, “I’m trying to figure out what made him even say that. Was I there? I’m confused. I don’t remember this at all.” She said that Gotti frequently belittled her, telling her that he was responsible for her success and “made her fuckable.”
Ashanti acknowledges that Gotti was truly pissed about the whole Nelly thing, though, going so far as to retaliate against her. “Irv was salty,” she recalled. “Irv would not let me come to the studio to record. Irv was telling everyone not to record with me … You know what he said to me? He said, ‘Nah, you want to be with Nelly? Go sign to Derrty Entertainment. We don’t want you.’” Most egregious was Ashanti’s claim that Murder Inc sent “death threats” to her staff and labelmates. “I definitely feel like manipulation played a heavy part into me and Irv’s situation,” she said.
The “genuine love” Ashanti says she feels for Gotti is not reciprocated, according to the singer. “I feel like Irv is just hurt, and he doesn’t know where to place his hurt, and he doesn’t know how to channel it as a man. It’s sad,” she reasoned when asked why Gotti said they’d had a relationship. “I genuinely, in my heart, believe that Irv wishes death on me. A million percent.”
She wasn’t as forgiving when she addressed the situation in a diss track earlier this month. “It’s givin’, obsessed, it’s givin’, you stressed, it’s givin’, you pressed,” she sings in Diddy’s “Gotta Move On (Queens Remix).” “It’s givin’, this nigga missin’ the best’ (Let’s go) / But it’s been 20 years, nigga, please, say less / We can see all your tears while you beatin’ on your chest.” You’d think two decades would be enough time to start acting like a grown-up, but we guess Irv Gotti moves different.