Besotted exec Irv Gotti says, ‘God wanted me to find out’ Ashanti was dating Nelly

Ashanti and Irv Gotti
Singer/actress Ashanti, from left, addresses the audience during a ceremony in Hollywood on April 7. Irv Gotti at the Paley Center in New York on Aug. 19, 2019.
(Chris Pizzello, Charles Sykes / Associated Press)

Record executive and producer Irv Gotti revealed that he was in love with singer Ashanti during an upcoming episode of the “Drink Champs” podcast.

The Murder Inc. Records co-founder, whose real name is Irving Lorenzo Jr., addressed his alleged relationship with the “Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)” singer, who was his label’s prime female artist in the aughts before he unceremoniously released her in 2009 over their “views and philosophies ... not meeting up.”

Drink Champs” podcast host N.O.R.E., formerly Noreaga, released a teaser of Gotti’s episode on Tuesday, featuring the duo and Murder Inc. rapper Ja Rule drinking and chatting, which is the M.O. of the show. In the clip, Gotti, 52, talked about his feelings for the “What’s Luv?” and “Always on Time” singer when she started dating “Hot in Herre” rapper Nelly.

Gotti said he learned the two were an item when he was at home watching TV, specifically an NBA package game. He said it was as if “God wanted me to find out.”

“‘Oh, my God, what’s this commotion going on in the stadium?’” he said, imitating a sports commentator. “‘We just found out what the commotion is. Nelly just walked in with Ashanti.’”


Who is the real Irv “Gotti” Lorenzo? To federal investigators, he is pure trouble.

June 30, 2003

In 2019, Gotti told TV host Wendy Williams that he was in a brief relationship with Ashanti while he was separated from his estranged wife Debra Lorenzo. Ashanti dated Nelly on and off for about 11 years.

The rap mogul’s booze-fueled remarks on Tuesday sparked conversation on social media, with many bashing the exec for pining after his former flame.

“Had a whole ass wife,” replied one Twitter user on the clip.

“Since we on the topic how old was Gotti when he met Ashanti,” added another.

“What’s wild is him saying ‘it’s God’ that told him Nelly & Ashanti were together. So, God told you that but God didn’t tell you not to cheat on your wife?” wrote a different user.

“Irv having a whole wife during that time just makes this even more hilariously sad,” quipped another.

Gotti co-founded Murder Inc. Records — based on the short-lived super group composed of Jay-Z, the late DMX and Ja Rule — in 1997. The label was co-founded with his brother Chris under Russell Simmons’ Def Jam umbrella and produced records for Ja Rule, Christina Milian and Vanessa Carlton.


The company went into decline after a string of legal troubles and an alleged money-laundering scheme involving Gotti. In 2017, the producer announced that he was reviving the record label with a new lineup of artists including Boogiie Byrd and the duo Fitted Circle.

Gotti, who created BET’s scripted anthology series “Tales,” is also set to release a documentary about the record label this month. He also said on the podcast that the documentary addresses the Ashanti situation.