Rahzel delivers 'Knockout' blow

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CLEVELAND -- Four years removed from his last studio effort, 2004's "Rahzel's Greatest Knockouts," Rahzel is finally completing its follow-up. Due out this summer on Ipecac Records, "Greatest Knockouts The Album, Vol. 2" marks the third solo release for the former Roots member.

"It's still hip-hop," Rahzel tells Billboard.com. "It's like the music I grew up on, the music that made all of these things that are present now in existence. So I'm continuing that with raw beats, raw rhymes, beat-boxing, rhyming. The whole nine."

Currently Rahzel is finishing up recording by road testing new material with a few live dates, including Jan. 27 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Among the tracks slated to be on the new album are "Ring the Alarm" and "Come Fly With Me." The latter track finds singer Mike Patton, who also owns Ipecac, making a guest appearance. This is payback for Rahzel appearing on Patton's debut Peeping Tom record two years ago.

In fact, Rahzel hints he may be working with Patton soon. "Not on the immediate horizon because I just want to get this project out of the way, but I know he's talking about a Peeping Tom II (project)," Rahzel says. "So I'll be on that album definitely. And I'll probably be on more songs than the last album."

Aside from his music, Rahzel remains busy with other endeavors. He's dabbled in acting (he has a role in the upcoming feature "Doorman") created a lucrative career doing voiceover work in movie trailers, commercials and videogames and he's currently working on beat-boxing documentary, "Art of Noise," due out this summer.

Still, hip-hop is his love, even though the MC doesn't necessarily translate with the masses in today's rap world. "I don't equate myself to what's going on right now," Rahzel says. "I can't compare myself to Hurricane Chris or Soulja Boy, because it doesn't make sense. I need to compare myself to a Kanye West or a Jay-Z or a Lupe Fiasco, not the music that a 12-year-old listens to."
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