Xzibit Launching Record Label, Recording With Side Project

Debut album from Golden State Project due this winter.

Restless rapper Xzibit is up to more than just promoting his breakthrough new album by touring the world with the likes of Eminem and Papa Roach.

He's launching his own record label and recording its first release, the debut album from the Golden State Project, a side venture with rappers Ras Kass and Saafir.

"We were originally gonna call ourselves the Golden State Warriors," Xzibit told MTV News. "But it's an NBA basketball team and we actually got a letter from the offices of Johnnie Cochran saying that if we keep using that name we're basically gonna be rapping in our underwear!"

Open Bar Entertainment, Xzibit's label, will be distributed by Edel Distribution and marketed by Loud Records, the rapper's longtime label. The Coast Is Clear, the tentative title of the Golden State Project's debut album, will be released near the end of the year, according to Suave, Xzibit's manager and head of Open Bar.

"We [also] got cuts on Ras Kass' album, which is Van Gough, and Saafir's got another album that he's working on right now that we're all gonna be involved in," Xzibit said. "Everything has just been focused on getting my album out correctly, [so we can] take advantage of that to get this whole thing going."

Ras Kass and Saafir will be performing live with Xzibit on his tours this spring with Outkast and Tha Liks (formerly Tha Alkaholiks), Suave said. The Likwit Crew — a West Coast rap ensemble that includes King T, Tha Liks and Defari, Xzibit's current hype man — will record an album together while on tour.

Open Bar Entertainment will likely release the Likwit Crew album, along with the second album from Defari. They are also looking to sign a rock act, Suave said. "We really want to achieve longevity with this label."

Restless, Xzibit's third album and first to go platinum, was partially produced by Dr. Dre and includes the current single "X." Xzibit spent much of 2000 on the road, first on Dre's Up in Smoke outing and later on The Anger Management Tour with Limp Bizkit, Eminem and Papa Roach. He is currently touring Europe with Eminem and will play dates there with Papa Roach.