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Intelligencer: May 16-23


Will Warner Music Get Gotti?
Comes with Ashanti, too.
Now that the Warner Music Group has had its tepid IPO, the next step is to build its roster back up. Sources close to the deal say that one of the first moves for Warner, which hasn’t been a force in hip-hop and R&B in years, will be to bring into the fold Irv Gotti and his record label, the Inc. (formerly Murder Inc.), which counts Ashanti and Ja Rule among its stars. This would follow Warner’s inking a distribution deal with P. Diddy’s Bad Boy for $30 million. Warner Music CEO Lyor Cohen and Gotti go way back: Cohen brought Gotti to Def Jam as an A&R rep in the mid-nineties. (The pair got along so famously that Gotti took to referring to Cohen as his Meyer Lansky, a “term of endearment.”) Gotti’s trial on charges of money laundering is looming, conceivably complicating negotiations. Reached by phone last week, Cohen refused to comment.
—Ethan Brown

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