Thursday, November 26, 2015

Noreaga "Next" (Vibe Magazine, June/July 1998)


"Whut! Whut! exclaims the 20-year-old Victor "Noreaga" Santiago. "It's the slogan I got everyone saying and feeling. It's like What! Whatever! That's the attitude I'm taking." And judging from Noreaga's recent rhyming blitz (including appearances on everything from the Firm's recent "I'm Leaving" to Big Punisher's debut album) and his upcoming solo album, N.O.R.E. (Penalty), that's a whole lot of attitude to check for. "I never had a real job in my life until I signed to a record label," says the half-black / half-Puerto Rican native of Queens who got his first job on the street - running crack at age eight. His premature initiation into a life of crime eventually ended in '91 with an attempted murder conviction for shooting someone in Queens - right after seeing the movie Juice. During his three-and-half-year bid at Green Haven Correctional Facility, Noreaga befriended future CNN (Capone-N-Noreaga) rhyme partner Capone. "I was in a cell, and the only thing that kept me moving was music," Noreaga says. "Hip-Hop is the thing that had me going in jail." 


After his release, he and Capone strong-armed their way onto the scene with their '96 indie single "LA LA" (the East Coast counterstrike to the Dogg Pound's New York New York") and their searing debut album of the same year, The War Report (Penalty). "Nore is the closest thing to Tupac since he died," declares Lance "Un" Rivera, Untertainment Records mogul / hip-hop impresario. "His perception of being a star is what the streets is lacking right now. He's coming across as the brotha that'll say, "Yo, I don't give a f#ck, my rhyme style and lyrics is for brothas on the street, and it ain't for nobody else." And as if rhyming for his fellow street dwellers wasn't enough work, Nore has even helped carpet New York City with his self-designed promotional sticker campaign. "I gotta lot of energy in me," says Noreaga, revealing the significance behind his acronymically titled solo album, N!ggas on the Run Eatin'. "I feel like if I'ma be the rapper to come out from my 'hood, I'ma destroy it. I'm too hungry." Open wide, it's time to feast. (II)" - Vibe, June/July 1998.