Rapper DMX has turned his back on retirement plans after being talked out of quitting the business by preacher pal MASE while he was serving time in prison.

The rap star was released from New York's Rikers Island prison on Tuesday (10JAN06) after serving more than two months for a 2004 car theft incident at New York's JFK Airport.

And he's planning to return with a bang after signing a new, three-album deal with Sony Urban.

DMX, real name EARL SIMMONS, is already at work on his first album in three years, and is expected to release the project this summer (06).

The new Sony deal ends DMX's longtime relationship with Def Jam. He admits he found it difficult to work with new Def Jam boss Jay-Z: "We're both too big."

The rapper also has a busy movie career to come back to - he's scheduled to star in three new films in 2006. He's also in negotiations to appear in his own reality TV show.

DMX was planning to quit rap to become a preacher, like his pal MASE, but he admits, "I never heard the call.

"Mase told me I have to do what I can with the talent the Lord has given me."