Aftermath Hires New Chef -- Raekwon

 Wu-Tang Clan rapper Raekwon the Chef has officially signed with Aftermath Entertainment and will serve up his highly anticipated album Only Built for Cuban Linx II under the label founded by West Coast rapper/producer Dr. Dre.

The announcement ends months of speculation as to whether or not the album would be released on the powerhouse label, which is also home to Eminem, Eve, Busta Rhymes, 50 Cent, and G-Unit.

According to a statement on Wu-Tang Clan's official site Wu-Tang Corp., Raekwon is currently in the studio recording new material for the new disc, which is rumored to feature production by Dr. Dre and the RZA and appearances from the Wu-Tang Clan.

"Rae isn't taking this album lightly and it will be released on Aftermath Records, not on the Wu Music Group as originally scheduled," said a statement on the site. "It will be an instant classic!"

Raekwon's solo debut Only Built For Cuban Linx was released in 1995 on Loud Records and set the Hip-Hop world a buzz with songs like "Ice Cream," "Criminology," "Incarcerated Scarfaces," and "Can It Be All So Simple."

His next efforts, however, failed to match the commercial success as its predecessor--the gold-selling Immobilarity was released in 1999 via Epic while 2003's The Lex Diamonds Story was issued by Motown/Universal.

In a recent interview with said, Raekwon talked about the pressure associated with recording the follow-up to Only Built for Cuban Linx.

"It feels good to know that I achieved a mark that I always felt I could," Raekwon said. "For the most part, I tend to stay humble and respect that and not be overwhelmed with the love. It just makes me stronger as an artist because I know that people watch what I put out. So it's kind of a double-edged sword where it's a good thing and a bad thing only because--the bad thing about it is that you have to stay on that level as being one of the best, because if you don't, then why'd you make that? It keeps me on my toes."

No release date has been set yet for Only Built for Cuban Linx II.

Representatives for Aftermath Entertainment were not available for comment at press time.

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Source: AHH