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.
I’m gonna take some time out today to write a short piece on two dudes I feel like don’t get the props they really deserve in the hip-hop game. The category “The Essence” is designed to bring up various people, places, and things that made me love hip-hop. Capone-N-Noreaga get a lot of respect from myself and other hip-hop heads, but as far as truly being recognized, I think people don’t give them enough credit. The War Report was a stellar debut and The Reunion was to me an ill follow-up.
CNN have always made the type of music that almost inspire you to rob somebody’s mama for a box of baking soda…and then use that to cook up some crack. That may sound horrible, but I did say almost. I’m California born-and-raised, but CNN are one of few acts that really put me in a New York State of Mind, so to speak, taking listeners from Riker’s Island to Queensbridge and Lefrak City with their unique brand of thuggery. When I heard CNN was signing with my favorite MC Raekwon’s Ice Water imprint to release The War Report II, I almost spontaneously combusted. Here’s a few classic joints and some new material to hold you (and me) down until the release.
“Illegal Life” by CNN
“Phone Time” by CNN
“The Reserves” by CNN f/ Raekwon:
“Steets Got A New Face” by Noreaga