To clarify a matter that would need no clarification at all were it not for Ja Rule’s shady explanation of it last month, Murder Inc. boss Irv Gotti recounted on Monday’s The Wendy Williams Show the precise nature of Ashanti’s contribution to the remix of Jennifer Lopez’s 2001 smash “I’m Real.” It’s really quite simple.
“Ashanti was a background vocalist, that’s it, period, don’t make a big thing about it,” he said. “Yes, it was her voice, but you know how many records have background vocals? Why y’all making a big thing out of it? Ashanti wasn’t a star, she was just in the studio with me, and I was Napoleon.” Oh, okay.
The big thing was made when Ja Rule was confronted with the rumor that Ashanti was the voice behind the song during his appearance on Watch What Happens Live in October. The rapper, who may end up remembered for his contribution to the famously disastrous Fyre Festival as much as he is for his music, seemingly can’t not obfuscate and gave a bizarre and vague recounting of the vocals situation: “Are [Ashanti’s] vocals still underneath or were they left underneath? I don’t know. But that is the story, and that is how the whole thing came about. But is J. Lo singing on the record? Of course,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ashanti has been talking about her contribution to the song for years. In 2016, she told ET, “I remember being in the studio and being pissed because I was doing all this work and it wasn’t for me! But it was good. I was young and it was a good learning experience and great exposure. I demoed the record, so I sang the whole entire record and then they took most of my lead vocals out and she re-cut her part and they left my backgrounds on. It was just a nice group effort.”
During the Wendy interview, Gotti also revealed that, “All of those hit records was made high,” regarding Murder Inc.’s golden years. He was referring to the drug ecstasy. I hardly think of “Foolish” as rolling music, but I’m certainly open to hearing it through that lens and will so going forward.
Also, he announced that despite how his past affair with Ashanti has been portrayed in media, “Ashanti is not a homewrecker,” and that he got with her when he was on a break with his now ex-wife Deb Lorenzo. Good to know. Additionally, he said of the notorious label boss Suge Knight, who’s currently serving a 28-year prison sentence after pleading no contest to manslaughter after a hit-and-run incident in 2015 (the tip of the iceberg of a rap sheet longer than a town cryer’s scroll), “I judge people how they are with me. Suge Knight, everyone thinks he’s the prince of darkness. To them he might be, to me he cleared 2Pac samples for nothing for me, ‘cause he just had love for me. So what am I supposed to do? ‘Irv, you can’t be cool with him.’ What? I’m cool with whoever I want to be cool with.” This was as Williams was trying to wrap up the segment and he just wouldn’t stop talking.
Whew. It was a lot. So much exhilaration for a Monday morning. Throughout the interview, a preternaturally hyped Gotti frequently shouted at the audience, causing near bedlam while comparing Williams’s dating life with his:
Great gif material here: