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DAZ Returns With Much-Anticipated So So Def/Virgin Debut Album

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NEW YORK, NY -- DAZ, credited for over a decade as one of the prime creative forces in the rise of West Coast hip-hop as a producer and rapper, is making his return to the national spotlight with the So So Def/Virgin album "SO SO GANGSTA," scheduled for release on September 12, 2006.

The album features the signature lyrical street stories that DAZ is known for, with deep, melodic rhythm tracks produced by So So Def label head Jermaine Dupri, in-house co-producers L-Roc and No ID, hitmaker Scott Storch, and Daz himself. Guests in the studio have so far included Miami breakout artist Rick Ross (of Trick Daddy's Slip-N-Slide circle), who was recently signed to Island/DefJam by Jay-Z, and So So Def labelmates, including platinum R&B group Jagged Edge, and songwriter/artist Johnta Austin (co-writer of Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" and Mary J. Blige's "Be Without You").

DAZ has charted no fewer than seven albums independently since 2000, but "SO SO GANGSTA" is his first album since the late Nineties to be launched with a major national promotional platform. Virgin Urban Music President Jermaine Dupri, producer of the majority of the album's tracks, said, "I signed Daz because I thought he was one of rap's most talented -- but he didn't get the right look from the market. The world wasn't connecting him to the classic hits he was doing." Dupri continued: "I didn't want to change Daz' sound at all -- I just made him go back to things that I know we all loved when we listened to 'Doggystyle,' 'Dogg Food,' and everything else we heard him on. Daz and his crew, Tha Dogg Pound, took the West Coast gangster rap to the next level. Our vision is to pick that ball up and get it bouncing again."

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Daz guested with T-Rock on "I'm Hot," by Young Capone, the opening track on last year's So So Def/Virgin collection "Jermaine Dupri Presents...Young, Fly and Flashy, Vol. 1," which spawned Dem Franchize Boyz' breakout smash, "I Think They Like Me."

DAZ, born Delmar Arnaud, came to prominence as one half of the duo Tha Dogg Pound, with former partner Kurupt, and with a string of classic production and vocal collaborations with Tupac Shakur ("All Eyez on Me"), Daz's cousin Snoop Dogg ("Doggystyle," "The Doggfather," "Murder Was the Case") and Dr. Dre ("The Chronic," "The Chronic 2001"). He released the Billboard Top 200 No. 1 album "Dogg Food" with Tha Dogg Pound in 1995, and the Billboard No. 8 Daz solo album "Retaliation, Revenge & Get Back" in 1998.

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