Ras Kass has set the record straight as to why he is evading authorities in Los Angeles, stemming from a third DUI conviction, which carries a mandatory penalty of nine-months imprisonment. According to Ras, this is all over label drama not his refusal to do time. In fact, Ras Kass was previously incarcerated in the California Youth Authority in the early ‘90’s for vehicular manslaughter, an incident that he details in his song “The Evil That Men Do,” from his 1996 debut album Soul On Ice.See Also:
The drama that led to Ras Kass becoming a fugitive was set off when a serious of opportunities to get new Ras Kass material out to the public were nixed by Priority Records. First, the release of Ras’ new album Goldyn Chyld was delayed due to Priority’s insistence that a Dr. Dre produced track that was submitted for Ras be Goldyn Chyld’s first single, despite Dre’s objections and Ras’ submittal of another song for first single, the “Goldyn Chyld (remix),” produced by DJ Premier. Then, Ras good friend, and Golden State Project groupmate Xzibit attempted to buy out Ras Kass’ contract from Priority, but Priority refused. Finally, the label was going to allow Ras to record alongside Xzibit on the Golden State Project for Open Bar/Columbia Records. But once again, Priority refused to come to terms with any party.
Infuriated by Priority Records bungling the negotiations for him to appear as one-third of the Golden State Project (Xzibit, Saafir and Ras Kass), which subsequently led to Columbia Records backing out of the deal for the entire group; Ras Kass decided that he had to straighten out his label quandaries now, before he went to prison. Had Ras Kass simply surrendered at the scheduled time back in January and served his nine-month bid, his album would have once again been mired until his release, upon which time Priority Records would have forced Ras to once again record all new material, and then begin the general prep work leading up to an album release all over again. By his estimates, his next solo album would not have reached store shelves until mid to late 2004, some six years after his last solo release, 1998’s Rasassination. Given this state of affairs, Ras promptly took the master copy of Goldyn Chyld from Priority’s offices, and is refusing to return the album to Priority until the label releases him from his contract. Now Ras is doing everything and anything he can to draw attention to his plight, so that he can resolve this situation before he is possibly incarcerated for at least a year-and-a-half and his career is potentially ruined forever.
To aid his cause, the waterproof MC is also mulling over the idea of starting an online petition, a “Let Ras Kass Go” campaign, similar to the one The Lox used to be freed from Bad Boy back in ’99. Something to let his fans and industry peers demonstrate their support for his mission to get out of his career-stifling contract with Priority Records.
As for now, Ras Kass is currently getting set to release his first album outside of Priority Records tentatively entitled Ras Kass Presents The Re-Up on his own label Re-Up Entertainment, which will be distributed via Empire Musicwerks/BMG in June. The album will not be a solo album, due to his current contractual obligations to Priority, but instead will be a compilation-style album that will feature Ras alongside his own artists, and will not feature any tracks that were slated to appear on his Goldyn Chyld album. As for Ras’ next solo album, he has stated that there are quite a few labels that have expressed interest in signing him, but until his contractual matters are settled with Priority, he is unable to sign a new deal with anyone. However, he has made it abundantly clear that he will not stop recording new material for release, either as bootlegs or as compilation-style albums via his Re-Up Entertainment label. Ras Kass may not be a free man from the long-arm of the law for long, but as of now he has declared himself a free man from Priority Records.
Check out the petition to free Ras Kass here:
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