HOLLYWOOD — Almost three years after signing with Aftermath Records, Rakim is finally near finishing his first album under Dr. Dre.
The legendary MC has been competing with Eminem, 50 Cent and others for the producer's time, but he's now a priority.
"Me and Dre, we about to do full-steam on it, [and] hopefully we should have a single out towards the end of the summer and the album will follow shortly after that," Rakim said two weeks ago at the BET Awards. "We finally got everything on track like we wanted."
Rakim has logged 16 songs with the producer and hopes to finish seven more (see "Rakim Out To Change The Game Again, With Help From Dre"). The first single will be selected after all are in the can.
"He can bring the best out of me, and I want to make sure that I bring the best out of him," Rakim said of Dre. "He goes in the studio from 3 [p.m. and] goes home 6, 7, 8 in the morning, so to me, that's all right. My man wants to work, so let's get it poppin'."
Rakim refused to reveal whether other Aftermath artists, which now include Ice Cube and Eve, will be on the album, but he said to expect a few surprises. "There's a lot of anticipation on this album right here, so at this point we really want to keep it bottled up. Bottle it up and let it blow."