Rapper Rakim has left Dr. Dre's Aftermath label, for which he was recording a long-awaited new album, tentatively titled "Oh My God." The artist is currently searching for a new label on which to rele

Rapper Rakim has left Dr. Dre's Aftermath label, for which he was recording a long-awaited new album, tentatively titled "Oh My God." The artist is currently searching for a new label on which to release the nearly finished disc.

In a statement on Aftermath's Web site, Rakim's manager Zach Katz said Rakim and Aftermath "mutually decided to go their separate ways. There are reasons, but I really can't get into them, just basically creative differences. And he's already talking to other [labels]."

Katz added that "Oh My God" should still be released in 2003. Rakim, who rose to fame in hip-hop's early days as the vocal half of groundbreaking duo Eric B. & Rakim, has not released an album since 1999's "The Master" (Universal), which debuted at No. 72 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 140,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Rakim signed to Aftermath Entertainment three years ago with the intent to create an album with Dr. Dre behind the boards. His highest-profile releases in that time have been his contribution of "R.A.K.I.M." to the "8 Mile" soundtrack (Shady/Interscope), and his guest appearance on labelmate Truth Hurts' "Addictive," which hit No. 9 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart in June 2002.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print