Rap mogul Irv Gotti insists he stands against criminal activity - despite his Mafia-inspired moniker and his decision to name his record label MURDER INC.

Gotti, real name Irving Lorenzo, is currently at the centre of a police investigation involving his colleague and pal KENNETH 'SUPREME' McGRIFF, who has been accused of using the company to launder cash from illegal drug sales.

But despite the suggestive names and current controversies, Gotti, who counts Ja Rule and Ashanti among his artists, insists he's not promoting crime.

He explains of the name Murder Inc, "It's a metaphor man. I'm sitting at home. I know Def Jam is about to give me my label and I need a name. ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT is running this thing called GANGSTER WEEK and they do this special on MURDER INCORPORATED.

"I see the name riddled with bullets flash across the screen, and I think, 'Man, this is one ill double meaning. You see, in the record industry, when you have a hot record, people say you put out a hit. Murder Inc: what a beautiful play on words. I thought, 'I'm going to call my artists murderers because they put out hits.'"

Gotti, who says he was given his name by rapper Jay-Z, adds, "I don't come from a family of criminals. Not one person in my family has ever been charged with a crime."

01/07/2003 02:32