Metallica are keeping busy while they wait for guitarist James Hetfield to rejoin the fray following treatment for substance-abuse problems.
When Hetfield entered rehab on July 19, the band announced it had "postponed all current activities, including recording sessions for our new album" (see "Metallica Frontman James Hetfield Enters Rehab"). On Friday, however, guitarist Kirk Hammett and drummer Lars Ulrich invited Ja Rule into the studio to record a rap for a new track.
"I spin two 12-bar verses with Metallica on their new big, huge record they got that's crazy," Ja Rule said.
The mostly instrumental number may end up on a DreamWorks Records compilation, Ja Rule's publicist said. Metallica's manager wouldn't comment on the project and declined to comment on Hetfield's current condition, stating simply that he will rejoin the band "when he's ready." DreamWorks wouldn't provide any details about the record, but said it should be out in early 2002.
Ja Rule isn't the first artist Hammett and Ulrich have hooked up with since Hetfield's hiatus began. On September 1, they stepped onstage with a cover band during a Metallica convention at Maritime Hall in San Francisco, Metallica's management said. The tribute group, Creeping Death, was near the end of its set when Hammett and Ulrich appeared from the crowd and joined in on five songs: "No Remorse," "Helpless," "… And Justice for All," "Ride the Lightning" and the Misfits tune "Die, Die My Darling."