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Despite New Top-10 Record, Kurupt Looking Ahead To Next Disc

“She’s Kobe, and I’m Shaq,” Kurupt said of himself and his fiancée, Blaque’s Natina Reed, on the heels of the Lakers’ championship series win last month.

The lovebirds can currently be caught trading verses, Crip-walking and courting each other in the video for Kurupt’s “It’s Over.” The L.A. by way of Philly rapper may be on to something – their duet helped him debut at #10 on the latest Billboard 200 albums chart with Space Boogie: Smoke Oddessey.

It was just a year ago that the longtime buddies fell in love. As to who made the first move, we’ll probably never know – each one jokingly claims to have been “attacked” by the other, and Kurupt proposed soon after.

The musical mates were supposed to tie the knot in August, marking a year since they’ve been together, but the Cali rhyme slinger said their careers have gotten in the way of their nuptials.

“I think we gonna go ahead, do that big step and get married probably like in late 2002, beginning of 2003,” Kurupt said. “Right now we just gonna work. We got a lot of work we go to do.”

Kurupt said he’s already planning his next project, Music Speaks Louder Than Words.

“It’s going to be executive-produced by Fredwreck and Daz Dillinger,” he said. “We already started on that. With Space Boogie, I’m taking everybody into my mind. I’ve never done that – I always kept [the fans] right in front of my face. But I’m [getting ready] to take them deep back into my mind. The best way to explain [Music Speaks] is listen to Dogg Food.”

Kurupt, who also goes by the alias Young Gotti, is referring to the controversial album he dropped with Daz in 1995 as Tha Dogg Pound.

“[I told Daz], ‘We gonna sit back and listen to that muthaf

er for three months; listen to it all the time. We gonna reconstruct the whole Dogg Food feel,'” he said. “I told Daz, ‘We need to go back to that level musically and verbally.’ You hear how our voices sound? We was more laid-back, we was more into partying.”

His wifey, who took a break from working on her album to roll to New York with her future hubby, said Blaque are working on some “sad songs for all the miserable people.” But they’ll also be partying on the new album, tentatively titled Blaqueout.

“This record is going to make you feel like Destiny’s Child’s second record, where you can listen to songs all the way through,” Reed said.

The disc is being recorded with Dallas Austin in Lenny Kravitz’s Miami home studio and will have beats provided by Jermaine Dupri and the Neptunes, Reed said. Blaque are also trying to hook up guest appearances by Ludacris, the Youngbloods and their mentor Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes for the album, due in October.

“We’re gonna drop the first single [in the next few weeks] and finish up,” Reed said. “We’re very deep – we recorded 31 songs. Sixteen songs we like. [Sony Music chief] Tommy Mottola only wants us to do 10 or 12. I’m trying to push it up to 13.”

Reed wasn’t too talkative when asked why Blaque have taken so long to follow up their 1999 self-titled debut, saying only that the mother of one of her groupmates had died and that the trio had additional “technical difficulties.” However, she did say to expect more R&B than pop on the new disc.

“We’re coming really fun this time around,” Reed said. “We have a song saying how much we hate each other, but on the fun tip. Music has evolved into some ‘I hate my boyfriend and I hate bitches’-type garbage.”

Blaque’s most flamboyant member also shrugs off getting dissed by Foxy Brown on the Brooklyn rapper’s song “7:30.”

“Some hos is always yappin’ – especially pop-star bitches with the soft image,” Foxy raps on the track, before referencing her ex-beau Kurupt. “So what I ain’t with him? Bitch, he’s off limits.”

“You can’t chase something that doesn’t chase you back,” Reed said. “I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what people think about me. It’s petty – it’s like people never grow up in this game. You watch Biggie and all that sh- that [he] and Pac went through, and people still don’t get the message. They still want to start the wars and create fires.”

The Clyde to Reed’s Bonnie knows firsthand about being in the center of flames. Although he was “riding” with Tupac at the time of Pac’s feud with the Notorious B.I.G., Kurupt said he remained friends with Bad Boy during the beef and even tried to get Pac to squash everything. He thanks Biggie in Space Boogie’s album credits.

Another person Kurupt holds dear is Jon B, who collaborated with him on Space Boogie’s next single, “Sunshine.”

“It’s really like a tribute to our ladies,” Kurupt said. “The weird thing is that I made that before me and Natina got together. It almost sounds like I’m talking about her where I say she’s the one like Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes. It’s weird.”

Maybe Young Gotti is psychic. After all, Reed was somebody he needed. As he puts it, “Every gangsta’s got a gangstarette.”

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