Hootie & the Blowfish singer Darius Rucker has inked a multi-album solo recording deal with Epic-distributed Hidden Beach Records, best-known as the home of Jill Scott. The first release will be "

Hootie & the Blowfish singer Darius Rucker has inked a multi-album solo recording deal with Epic-distributed Hidden Beach Records, best-known as the home of Jill Scott. The first release will be "The Return of Mongo Slade," which is tentatively slated for a February release. The album takes its name from a character in the Sidney Poitier/Bill Cosby movie "Let's Do it Again."

As previously reported, Rucker originally intended to release the album on Atlantic Records (home to Hootie), but the label decided not to put out the project, leaving Rucker free to shop it elsewhere.

"Hidden Beach is the perfect home for me as a solo artist," Rucker says. "It's been a long time finding the right place, but I think we did the right thing in signing with [label president] Steve [McKeever] and Hidden Beach."

The album's first single, "Wild One," will be serviced to select U.S. pop and R&B stations before the end of the year and will then be serviced to all stations in the formats in the new year.