It seems "Omakase" wound up a casualty of MCA's 2003 merger with Geffen, which cost a number of artists their record deals and ultimately led the Roots to bolt for Def Jam.

In the fall of 2004, in-demand producer Dan "the Automator" Nakamura excitedly told Billboard.com about his solo debut, "Omakase," which was to feature everyone from Busta Rhymes and Damon Albarn to Mos Def and Beck. But two years have passed, and Nakamura now says the album is no closer to release. What happened?

It seems "Omakase" wound up a casualty of MCA's 2003 merger with Geffen, which cost a number of artists their record deals and ultimately led the Roots to bolt for Def Jam. "It ended up being this two-year stalemate," Nakamura says. "I delivered the record, but nothing happened, and I couldn't get off the label. Before you know it, years have passed by, and the lawyers are getting involved."

Nakamura is now free of Geffen, "but the record is old to me, so I have to revamp it." He's also unsure where to take the project. "There's been a couple offers, and they're good, but I'm a little afraid of it. When I do other records independently, the financial end is much better. On the other hand, you can't get a really big record off independently."

Also up in the air is the status of Handsome Boy Modeling School, Nakamura's group with producer Prince Paul. The pair's second Atlantic album, 2004's "White People," featured guest spots from members of Franz Ferdinand, the Wu-Tang Clan and Linkin Park but has sold just 87,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

"It was such a subpar experience at that label," Nakamura claims. "The ball was dropped so badly. I don't even think Paul wants to do anything because it was such a drag. Once again, that was a record we did for fun. It's hard to even throw business into the mix, because we got the opportunity to work with a lot of great people."

As previously reported, Nakamura has stayed busy crafting the soundtrack to upcoming videogame "NBA 2K7," which is due next month and features Ghostface Killah, Mos Def, Slim Thug, E-40, Fabolous, Rhymefest and Lupe Fiasco, among others.