Rakim Signs With Dr. Dre's Aftermath Records

In a deal that will bring together one of the illest lyricists in rap with one of the greatest hip-hop hit-makers around, Rakim has just inked a new label contract with Dr. Dre's Aftermath Records.

Rakim, who in the late '80s and early '90s helped lay the groundwork for contemporary hip-hop via his work on such albums as Paid in Full (1987) and Follow the Leader (1988) with his partner, Eric B., now plans to issue a new solo LP on Aftermath next year.

The move had been widely rumored in rap circles over the past few weeks, and Aftermath Records' founder, Dr. Dre, confirmed Rakim's signing to the label while visiting the set of Eminem's new video, "Stan."

"We just signed Rakim to our label, straight up," he said."Rakim is on Aftermath, and the name of his album is going to be Oh My God. This is going to be the biggest hip-hop record ever, straight

up and coming at you from Aftermath, baby, so f--- all of y'all." [RealVideo]

Rakim and Eric B. recorded four albums together between 1987 and 1992 before parting ways following the release of Don't Sweat the Technique that year.

Eric B. made his solo debut three years later with a self-titled effort on his own 95th Street imprint, while Rakim didn't get back into the game until The 18th Letter/The Book of Life in 1997, followed two years later with The Master.

Rakim's new album, slated to hit stores in spring, will feature production work from Dr. Dre, DJ Premier of Gang Starr and Mel Man, one of Dr. Dre's production protégés, according to David Saslow, a publicist for Interscope Records, the parent company to Aftermath.