Tha Alkaholiks Change Name To Tha Liks

Former tag cost rappers gigs in some states; fourth album, due in May, has Busta Rhymes, Xzibit, Kurupt guesting.

West Coast rappers J-Ro, Tash and E-Swift are disproving the old saying "once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic" with their upcoming fourth album.

The trio formerly known as Tha Alkaholiks are now Tha Liks, and Busta Rhymes, Xzibit, Kurupt and King Tee are celebrating their new identity.

Tha Liks' X.O., due in May on Loud Records, will include appearances from those rappers, along with the Neptunes, Rockwilder, DJ Twinz, Xzibit producer Thayod and a few new artists.

"It's the top shelf of Liks' albums," J-Ro said Thursday (January 25) from a Manhattan, New York, photo shoot. "We didn't change our formula necessarily, but it's a new flavor. It's the best we got. We didn't hold back nothing. We're gonna reach a bigger audience with this one."

"Run Wild," the album's first single, was produced by Rockwilder and features vocals from Tha Liks' new prodigy, Shae Fiol.

Tha Liks recorded two tracks with label mate Xzibit, including the Dr. Dre-produced title track and "151," named after the address of the Las Vegas studio where the song was recorded.

Busta Rhymes is featured on "Bullyfoot," which was produced in New York by DJ Scratch. "We just mixed that last night," J-Ro said. "It turned out real good. It's a got a nice beat to it."

The Neptunes, who are featured on Jay-Z's recent single "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)", produced one track and sang on another, J-Ro said. E-Swift produced most of the remainder of X.O.

As for the name change, J-Ro said the name Tha Alkaholiks was actually getting in the way of business. "When we were on tour with Q-Tip and De La Soul, some states wouldn't even let us perform because of the name," he said. "It got us to where we are today, but we're ready to go forward. Most of our fans have been calling us Tha Liks for a while anyway."

The notoriously wild Alkaholiks debuted in 1993 on King Tee's Tha Triflin' Album and released their own album, 21 & Over, later that year. The group's latest album, Likwidation, was released in 1997 and debuted at #15 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

Tha Alkaholiks were last heard collaborating with Sugar Ray on a remake of the rappers' 1993 single "Make Room" for last summer's Loud Rocks rock-rap compilation.