Kane & Abel know what it means to be most wanted.
Once part of Master P's mighty No Limit Records empire, the twin brothers were arrested in 1999 for conspiring to distribute cocaine. They pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, having admitted to receiving 10 kilograms of cocaine from drug kingpin Richard Pena in 1996 and 1997.
But U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance rejected their plea agreement, which would have jailed them for two years, as too lenient. Then in May, the rappers pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony (concealing knowledge of a felony they did not participate in) by lying to federal agents about Pena's activities.
Abel said the case will likely be resolved by October (a sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 12) and that he was unable to elaborate on their case.
Regardless of the outcome, Kane & Abel aren't letting potential prison time bother them. "We just keep moving on and doing what we've got to do," Abel said. "We're focused on our career."
Their focus has led to the impending re-release of the duo's latest album, last year's Most Wanted, which was released on Kane & Abel's own Most Wanted imprint. Scheduled to hit stores June 26, the collection features five new songs, including the single "Show That Work (Shake It Like a Dog Pt. 2)," which features guest vocals from Mystikal and 5th Ward Weebie.
"They give the album a whole new dimension," Abel said of the new songs. "The production value came up. We took everything up a notch. Our new sound is a lot more fun. We're having a good time, but at the same time we're keeping it hard. The old Kane & Abel albums were a lot harder, a lot more gangster. We're not saying we're soft this time, we're just toning it down a bit. We kept it gangster and just made it a little more realistic as far as what players go through every day."
Despite their legal problems, Kane & Abel have been working hard to make Most Wanted one of the country's more prominent independent rap labels. Its Off the Tank compilation, which features Kane & Abel as well as former No Limit members Mystikal, Fiend, Prime Suspects and Mr. Serv-On, has sold nearly 30,000 copies.
Kane & Abel are also gearing up for the release of their second novel, "The Speed of Darkness," slated for November publication. The follow-up to 1999's "Eyes of a Killer/Behind Enemy Lines" traces the life of a Houston heroin dealer who ends up being the first person publicly executed in modern times, with CNN broadcasting the event.
Although no longer with Master P, Abel said he and his brother took advantage of the business lessons they picked up under the Colonel's tutelage.
"If you took the time to learn from somebody with as much business talent as Master P, then the game he gave you, you've got to take it and run with it," he said. "If you're the type of artist that believes in yourself and knows how to take advantage of opportunities, you can use that knowledge and move on. He taught all of us how to do it ourselves."