And a Thugged Out New Year! Queens rappers Capone-N-Noreaga were riding the success of their classic album The War Report by 1997. With Capone in jail and N.O.R.E. well on the road to becoming a solo artist, Penalty Recordings decided to preemptively push him into the spot light. During the holiday season, Penalty released a double 12-inch promo entitled “Have a Very N.O.R.E. Christmas and a Thugged Out New Year“. The 12-inches were pressed on red and green vinyl in true “holiday” fashion. While the concept is extremely strange, the promos contained 3 previously unreleased cuts by N.O.R.E.
The first track is a “Freestyle” featuring fellow Thugged Out Entertainment artists Maze & Musolini. The freestyle features the 3 trading verses of popular Dr. Dre beats (including some by The Firm).
The second track is a cult favorite, “Married to Marijuana“. The song features N.O.R.E. professing his love for weed over a smooth Al Green sample, reminiscent of the production on War Report.
The third is a slightly different style for Noreaga – “Noreminati“. Most will recognize the beat from Tragedy Khadafi‘s “Alluminati“.
Below is the full track list, with links to the unreleased tracks. Peep out and enjoy your N.O.R.E. Christmas lol.
Before rapper N.O.R.E. was doing Reggaeton, putting on the Neptunes, or yelling “what what” he was the humble half of Queensbridge duo Capone-N-Noreaga. C.N.N. burst on the New York hip-hop scene in 1997 with their classic debut “The War Report” featuring hit singles like “T.O.N.Y.” and “Closer“. Prior to the album, they gained notoriety for appearing on the west coast dis track “L.A., L.A.” featuring Mobb Deep and Tragedy Khadafi, plus a beat by legend Marley Marl.
The original single for “L.A., L.A.” was released on 25 to Life Records with distribution help from famous DJ Stretch Armstrong – an early supporter of the group. To help promote C.N.N., Stretch featured a freestyle by a then 20 year old (1996) Noreaga on his joint mix tape with DJ EV entitled Back to Back Volume 1. I never heard it anywhere else, so I assume it’s moderately rare. Check it out.
Jeanette is a Spanish singer who has been releasing albums since the 1960′s. She was pretty hot (at least 30 years ago) and is a mut of sorts, having half-white Congolese (whatever that means) and Spanish ancestry. Hip-Hop producer SPK used her track “Frente a Frente” for N.O.R.E.‘s cut “Gangstas Watch“.
Noreaga was enjoying the success of classic C.N.N. album “War Report” and his own solo effort with hits like “Super Thug” when he decided to drop his second solo album. Basically, the album was a mess of half-ass tracks and poor attempts at commercial hits (Missy Elliot and Swizz Beats!?). He would later admit that Tommy Boy records pressured him into recording the album, even though his father had recently died and he didn’t feel inspired. Despite the album being mediocre, “Gangstas Watch” is one of the better tracks. Check out the sample.
Henry Mancini is one of my favorite composers (plus he’s Italian). He’s composed and arranged albums for years and many are ripe for the sampling. I’ve never saw the movie Visions of Eight but it’s a documentary about the Olympics. I can’t help but feel this soundtrack gave some inspiration to Vangelis for Chariots of Fire. The LP has a lot of classical orchestrations but there are some dope cuts on here. “Theme for the Losers” was sampled by a few artists including: