Before we get down, here’s the money shot:
It’s all about Irv and it’s all about cash.
Welcome to Gotti’s Way, the show that follows what its titular subject refers to as, “one of the greatest hip-hop comebacks that’s ever lived.” See, once, not too long ago, Irv Gotti and his Murder Inc., label were on the top of the world, cranking out hit after hit by the likes of Ja Rule and Ashanti. And then: free fall.
He and his company were hit with charges of money-laundering that were later cleared entirely. His legal profile suffered no damage, but his public and professional profiles are a different story. Irv was shunned by the industry, with his career in ruins. This show is the story of him crawling out of the wreckage…
…in part. The other part is even more complex, as it details his rather unorthodox family life.
It seems fine and normal and, really, just to watch Irv, his wife and his three kids interact, it is. They’re jovial and supportive and seem like nice people without a care in the world. And then, they start telling their story.
This is Deb, Irv’s estranged wife. Their relationship fell apart when Irv admitted to a writer in a printed interview that he regularly cheated on her. “I can’t stop and it breaks her heart,” was his comment. That’s when the relationship was over for Deb.
There’s a big however to this, however. Deb and Irv remain friends, and though they live apart, he occasionally stays over her place and sleeps on the couch. This allows him to see his kids, who are:
Their situation may seem strange but Deb points out, “it works for us.” Pray that it doesn’t go on strike.
Not long after we see them bonding around the table, the issue of money creeps up, as it does on this show. Irv suggests that they move to a larger house with a pool, but Deb doesn’t want that. Their current place doesn’t have a mortgage and thus provides her a degree of stability. When the prospect of a new mortgage arises, Deb can’t even face it. Literally: she covers her face.
You can’t see them, but your creditors can still see you.
Irv meets with Russell Simmons, something of a mentor to him, who offers sage advice for getting Murder Inc. back off the ground:
“Get a hit!” Nothing like the inspiring words of a music-industry veteran to really motivate you. Next thing you know, he’ll tell Irv to “produce on a soundboard” or to make sure that his rappers have microphones. Geyser of wisdom, he is.
More mortgage talk with Deb in the car…
Deb claims that Tashera and she talk about everything. You name it. Especially if “it” means “money.”
Using your alimony on mortgage instead of shopping? That’s a fate worse than starving! Also during this meal, Deb reveals: “I want to be with Irv, but then part of me is like, you know what? I think I’ve outgrown you.” Five years estranged will do that, huh?
We then see Irv and his golden boy Ja Rule working on Ja’s new record:
They record a track called “Enemy of the State,” which Irv deems “good” but not single material. Then starts a verbal battle of artist versus entrepreneur. And yeah, Ja’s the artist. And a shockingly passionate one. Basically, he wants to release the track ASAP by way of mixtape, but Irv isn’t having it. “Everybody’s doing it!” he says of the mixtape game. Well, if everyone dropped their mixtape off a bridge, would you, Ja? Anyway, Ja really, really wants to release his mixtape, as is evidenced by his rubber-faced expressions:
Irv says, “If we can’t sell it, it’s throwing it away.” Art isn’t free in Irv’s world, nor is it…art.
Finally, we catch Irv and Deb on the couch together:
He talks about the resurrection of Murder Inc., and says that he won’t be surprised if, by the end of 2007, the label has three or four tracks in the Top 20 at any given time. “If that happens, we gonna get some money,” proclaims Deb. Irv tells her she has pronoun problems. They bicker a little bit about who left whom (did he leave or did she kick him out?). “My brain is on getting this money,” says Irv, which, REALLY?!?! “…And getting this respect and love from my peers,” he continues. Deb points out that that sounds like it makes for a lonely time. “Is it sad if I’m successful and I’m sitting on all this money, but I don’t have a wife or girl to share it with?” Nah. You can always cuddle with gold bars.
In the end, we see an interview with Deb.
“If I had to choose between marriage and material things, I’d have to choose marriage,” she reveals. That is a shocking twist as any you’re likely to see all year on VH1.
Gotti’s Way show page