To this day, the fabled supergroup consisting of Jay-Z, Ja Rule, and DMX, remains one of hip-hop’s oft-pondered what-ifs. Originally imagined by Murder Inc leader Irv Gotti, circumstances ultimately fell through as it proved immensely difficult to gather all three emcees in a singular space.
Ja Rule recently reflected on the difficulties of uniting Jay-Z and DMX — “Jay and X, you couldn’t get them in the same room together,” he told HipHopDX — though they did ultimately manage to deliver the standout posse cut “It’s Murda” and Streets Is Watching highlight “Murdergram.” Alas, that was the extent of their collaborative history, though many have since wondered how the game might have changed under different circumstances.
LISTEN: Jay-Z, Ja Rule, & DMX – Murdergram
In a recent interview with Audacy, Irv Gotti actually opened up about the failed supergroup, providing further insight behind his motivation to unite the three New York lyricists. “When you talk about X, Jay, and Ja,” begins Irv. “The same feeling I had with X, I had with Jay when I heard him rhyme. It’s the same feeling I had with Ja when I heard him rhyme. These three guys that are all my brothers, imagine selfishly how I felt. I was like ‘yo, I got the best three dudes in the world yo!’ And this was before any of them got on.”
“The revolution that happened, the takeover with all three of them reaching the pinnacle, I knew it was going to happen,” he continues. “Cause they all get busy, and get busy at a high level. I watched all three of these guys battle other people. They would shut people up, dudes who rhyme wouldn’t rhyme around them. They was that nasty, it was a different level with all three of them.”
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“So we was in the studio, I wanted that Murder Inc album so badly,” he admits. “I didn’t even care about the money. I loved Hip Hop so much, I knew if those three dudes go in the studio and make an album, it’s gonna be the illest Hip Hop album ever. Why? They’re all gonna battle each other really. Any record that you’ve ever heard with them on it together, they tryna outshine each other.”
“The first one was ‘Murdergram,’ and Jay set that off,” continues Gotti. “He only spit sixteen bars. But Rule and X spit twenty-four, thirty. They were going at it! When we did ‘It’s Murda,’ did you hear Jay’s verse?! That’s because of ‘Murdergram!’ These dudes ain’t playing!” He laughs as he remembers how all three used to drag him into the conversation, eagerly looking to be crowned the best by their longtime production collaborator.
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For more legendary stories on DMX, be sure to check out both parts of Gotti’s interview with Big Regg on Audacy. Murder Inc supergroup discussion takes place around the three-minute mark of part two.