Cuban Link In Label Dispute Over 24-K

'That album's been used and abused,' says Terror Squad member of widely bootlegged LP.

It looks like Terror Squad clique member Cuban Link will never see his long-delayed debut, 24-K, hit stores; the rapper is negotiating to be released from his contract with Atlantic Records because he feels his album was mishandled.

"I did my job," Cuban said. "I hit [the label] off with 24 tracks — that's two albums in one. I gave them the material, and basically they couldn't move it. Atlantic is wack, bottom line. They don't know how to do hip-hop. It's [a shame] that I had to take this long to find out."

Cuban, who is still looking for a new label, said he's now working on a new album called Chain Reaction which will feature 14 new tracks. "I finished [24-K] at the end of '98, beginning of '99," he said. "I'm taking my master [tapes] with me, but that album's been used and abused, so I've got to hit the people off with some new [music]."

After generating a buzz off the strength of his singles "Flowers for the Dead" (a tribute to his late best friend, Big Pun) and "Still Telling Lies," 24-K was scheduled to drop in 2000 and was pushed back several times. In the interim, the album, which features many guest appearances — including some of Pun's last recordings — was leaked to the streets and became a hot commodity on the bootleg circuit.

While he was warming the bench post-24-K, the rapper kept busy with a number of guest appearances, including one on Jon B's new album, Pleasures U Like. Outside the realm of music, he plans to launch his CLK clothing line this fall, and Blazin', the karate/gangsta action flick co-starring Cuban and Fat Joe, hit stores on Tuesday. The movie's sequel is in the planning stages.

As for his album woes, Cuban concluded, "Destiny just took its course, so I'm with it."

An Atlantic Records representative said he had no knowledge of Cuban Link's contract situation and would not comment on the artist's statements.