L.A.-based DJ/producer DJ Babu will release the third installment of his "Duck Season" series through Nature Sounds Records on Oct 28.

L.A.-based DJ/producer DJ Babu will release the third installment of his "Duck Season" series through Nature Sounds Records on Oct 28.

Babu, who maintains memberships in Dilated Peoples and the Beat Junkies, says "Duck Season 3" falls somewhere closer to a proper album than its mixtape ancestors, as he produced and mixed all of the record's 18 tracks.

"I know I'm not quite Timbaland or Scott Storch or someone," Babu says, "But I think my rep is pretty good on the underground tip, for what I do, and where my lane is."

It's been almost five years since the release of the last installment, "Duck Season 2," but he chalks up that break to simply staying busy. During that time, Dilated Peoples finished up a deal with Capitol, as well as maintained a lively touring schedule, and in 2005 Babu released "The LJs" with the rapper Defari as the Likwit Junkies. Babu says he was only able to get back to "Duck Season 3" in the past nine months or so.

But the wait might have been a good thing. "For what the series has evolved into, I think I needed that time to hone my chops on the production and engineering side," he says. "I feel a lot better about my skill level, and I think it shows in the music."

The time also gave him time to amass a strong roster of rappers for "3," including MF Doom, Dilated Peoples, M.O.P., Little Brother and Bishop Lamont. "I'm really blessed," he says. "Everybody on the album came through on me returning a favor or I owe them a favor." (Everyone came through so much, in fact, that Babu says he's already working on a "Duck Season 3.5," an EP sequel that he plans to deliver for free in the near future.)

Babu admits that the budgets on the previous "Duck Seasons" were "tremendously different," but he's pleased to have relocated to Nature Sounds, which is releasing the new record. "It's one of those up-and-coming labels, coming out of that post-mom and pop vinyl renaissance we had in the late '90s," he says. "They came from that, but I think they're still relevant in this digital age."

"Duck Season" notwithstanding, Babu says things remain busy in both the Dilated and Beat Junkies camps. "With Dilated, we're enjoying our freedom of being independent," he says. Both of the group's rappers are slated to release solo material soon: a new Evidence EP, "The Layover," is due in November, while Rakaa Iriscience's "Crown of Thorns" is due in 2009. The group is slated to soon depart for a European tour, and is "tinkering around" with a new album.