Alicia Keys Locks In Nas, Rakim For New Album

Grammy-winning singer's second album due November 18.

Alicia Keys has been hiding out so much lately, her fans might be wondering, “How come you don’t call me anymore?”

But folks will soon be hearing from the sultry crooner. Keys, who’s been clandestinely recording the follow-up to her 2001 debut smash, Songs in A Minor, has finally set a release date for the effort: November 18. What Keys and her label haven’t confirmed yet, however, is a title.

“It’s a very conceptual album goin’ on,” Keys said. “It’s really personal. It’s kind of a journey inside, into my mind, into everything that’s going on in the world and how that affects us as people.”

The singer was coy when describing the musical style of the album, saying only, “My love affair continues with the piano.”

Keys does have a couple of collaborations on the album. She wrote and produced one song with Easy Mo Bee and Dwayne Wiggins of Tony Toni Toné. Another song finds Keys joined by the improbable combination of rappers Nas and Rakim. Keys is particularly enthusiastic about that track since it’s the first time both legendary rappers have ever been on a song together. Keys has worked with Nas before, though, guesting on “Warrior Song” from his last album, God’s Son.

The singer has been giving visitors to her Web site a sneak peek at the recording process through photos and video clips, and in a chat session with fans she confirmed that a live favorite, “If I Ain’t Got You,” will be on the new album.