Capone and Noreaga mark the 20th anniversary of The War Report.
Illustration by TTK

War Stories: Capone and Noreaga Speak On The Making Of ‘The War Report’

As gangster-fied rap became the main commercial face of hip hop music in the late 1990s, selling a rapper’s street life was as crucial to selling music as his or her skills. Upping the ante on mafioso rap fantasies, famed Queens, NY duo Capone-N-Noreaga (C-N-N) would take the idea a step further. The electricity of their street life didn’t just extend to the rhymes but also the story behind the making of their landmark debut.

You never forget your first time hearing the intro to Capone-N-Noreaga’s 1997 LP The War Report. Over Charlamagne’s tense Royal Flush sample, Kiam Akasi Holley and Victor Santiago, Jr. take the toll of a bad day on the battlefields of Iraq and Kuwait. “Jake just rushed everybody,” the combatants lament, recounting the names of their captured brothers in arms. They soon resolve to “revolt this revolution… just start wildin’.” While they are the first to admit that “everybody ain’t ready for this,” they see themselves as the only two left, “the Last of the Mohicans.”

Even as The War Report garnered acclaim for Capone and Noreaga’s stand-out rhyme flows, the artists were earning extra street cred due to the issues they would face while completing the album. Little did they know when they began the project that Capone would soon go to jail for a parole violation, having only recorded a few of the album’s cuts. The situation compelled Noreaga to take the helm and complete the recording (with a strong assist from Tragedy Khadafi), n ot to mention handling much of the promotion of The War Report by himself.  For future C-N-N fans, it was a tale of a hustler (Capone) fighting to overcome the odds and counting on the loyalty of a street comrade like Noreaga to hold him down.

C-N-N may not have been known by players at major music labels—N.O.R.E.’s Neptunes-produced smash “Superthug” wouldn’t be released until the following year—but they’d garnered enough hip hop credibility to get producers like Lord Finesse, DJ Clark Kent and Marley Marl to help craft the album—which came out on Penalty / Tommy Boy / Warner Bros.

This Saturday June 17 marks the 20th anniversary of The War Report‘s release. To mark the occasion we connected with Capone and N.O.R.E. on the same secure phone line. Here’s the tale of how Capone and Noreaga (later to become simply known as N.O.R.E) got it done.

Related Posts

Music
Music

Capone-N-Noreaga’s Album ‘The War Report’ Turns 20 Years Old Today

Video
Video

Cocktails With N.O.R.E

Rhythm Roulette
Rhythm Roulette

Rhythm Roulette With Havoc

Music Video
Music Video

Ho99o9’s “War is Hell” Shows the Insanity of Modern America

News
News

Trump’s Latest Attack On The Poor? A Fee For Grocers Who Accept Food Stamps

Ad

Latest News

nas-rapture Film

PREPARE FOR ‘RAPTURE’

Mass Appeal’s new Netflix series premieres this weekend at SXSW
same Hot Takes

It Was a Type Beat Year

The search for something new in a year of sameness
shea serrano Features

Shea Serrano Quit His Teaching Job, Now He Has Two Best Sellers and Two TV Shows

"It is funny to just walk in and just be a Mexican, because I’m usually the only one there"
mf doom Features

The 10 Best DOOM Songs of 2017, Ranked

Even after 'The Missing Notebook Rhymes' went missing, the masked villain still caused havoc
worst cops Features

The Worst Cops of 2017

The hall of shame
donald trump Features

32 Songs That Dissed Donald Trump in 2017

The "F.D.T." wave
lil peep News

R.I.P. Gus, Long Live Lil Peep

Resisting nostalgia at the speed of the internet
88 rising Features

Sean Miyashiro of 88rising Connected the Cultures

With 1.25 million YouTube subscribers and a gang of talent, 88rising controlled the new East-West flow
eminem Video

Eminem By the Numbers

You may know how many f*cks he gives, but what about the other crucial figures from Slim Shady's career?
tape Features

Why 2017 Was Rap’s Year of the Tape

Seven labels explain why they're still rewinding cassettes back
safdie brothers Features

The Safdie Brothers Got Gritty as 2017’s Filmmakers to Watch

"You might not like the feeling that you're feeling, but you can still be entertained by that feeling."
best albums Features

The 25 Best Albums of 2017

The essential sounds that defined one very strange year
hey arnold Humor

Everything About Christmas is Awful, Except the ‘Hey Arnold!’ Special

The one redeeming thing about this trash holiday
combat-jack Features

Knowledge Darts Vol. 32: Winter Solstice

I never got to say thank you
jeezy Video

Open Space: Jeezy

"You can’t just crush a diamond with a rock. It’s hard, it’s tough. But it’s bright."
Video

Rhythm Roulette: Boi-1da

The wait is over