Mark Ronson, the Grammy-winning producer who worked on Amy Winehouse's star-making American debut, is aligning his Allido record label with Interscope Records, and adding a new artist: much-buzzed about emerging rapper Wale.

"He's the first rapper from (Washington) D.C. who sort of has the chance to make it. He's incredibly intelligent," Ronson told The Associated Press this week of the artist, who is expected to release his debut later this year.

"I feel like Wale is kind of picking up ... from Kanye (West)'s generation to a whole new generation," he said. "Wale has all the elements to make one of those great classic hip-hop debut records."

Ronson produced much of Winehouse's "Back to Black," which won five Grammys, and worked on Lily Allen's debut CD, "Alright, Still." He's already back at work in the studio with Winehouse, who finished a much-publicized stint in rehab earlier this year. Ronson said Winehouse's mood in the studio is "the same as (it) always is. I suppose the paparazzi have to figure out how (to) wiggle in."

As far as the artistic direction of Winehouse's record, he said the pair haven't settled on one.

"I don't know, honestly," he said. "If you think about it too much ... you start to try and emulate things. ... When I hear the songs I'll know what kind of record to make."

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