March 23, 1998 12:00 AM

His reputation having taken a beating thanks to his ex-wife Tina Turner 1987 memoir “I, Tina” (and its subsequent movie adaptation, “What’s Love Got to Do With It”), R&B pioneer Ike Turner, 69, is back in the spotlight with his first album since the late ’70s. Explaining why the lengthy break before releasing his latest, “Here and Now,” Turner told Time Out New York magazine: “I guess I was scared of rejection. Plus, cocaine had me all paranoid.” He said that after he cleaned up he relearned “my early music. I’ve also been studying hip-hop.” He does not rap, however. He told Time Out that he has a few regrets (such as signing away rights to his portrayal in “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” which demonized him onscreen) and that he does not see Tina, who divorced him in 1976 after 22 bumpy years of marriage. “We missed each other at her mother’s funeral,” said Turner. “I see the kids (stepson Raymond and son Ronald, both in their 40s) all the time, though.”

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