I don’t have words for the stinker N.O.R.E. just dropped with Pharrell, but his Drink Champs podcast is great and old “Jose Luis Gotcha / golden guns, Frank Sinatra” NoreAGA was easily one of my favorite rappers ever. His solo debut N.O.R.E. was an album that got enough spin in my Discman (!) to warrant a complete repurchase several years after its release, with classic records like “Banned From TV” requiring at least one repeat per play. I rediscovered “The Change” last week and decided to share it here.
Rap Revisited is a new series I’m working on where I take some older rap albums that shaped my hip-hop fandom and see how they held up over time in review form. I think it’s only right that Capone-N-Noreaga’s classic, critically acclaimed debut album The War Report be first up.
Growing up in the Bay Area during the east-west rivalry at the time this album was released in 1997, no one around me was checking for this album or for associated acts like Mobb Deep or Tragedy Khadafi due to the beef and regional bias, which unfortunately lead to me not discovering this album until I moved east for college in 2000 (Howard). Coincidentally, C-N-N performed at Howard Homecoming the same year, performing “Bang Bang” and other records just before the release of The Reunion the following month. I copped The War Report out of curiosity, having seen it labeled a classic by respected sources (at the time, literally The Source), and it’s remained at the top of my list of favorite rap albums ever since.
The invincible, untouchable CNN link up with legends Raekwon and Tragedy to bring us some end of the year heat. Disregard the first part of Nore’s verse. You gotta excuse him sometimes…
I miss Noreaga from back when you couldn’t tell if he was a wack rapper or the dopest rapper you ever heard. I miss Noreaga from back when he was calling himself Jose Luis Gotcha. Hell, I miss…Noreaga; none of this N.O.R.E. aka Papi business. The War Report was an excellent album for Capone-N-Noreaga and no self-respecting old head will tell you any differently.