June 17, 2020

Capone-N-Noreaga "The War Report" (June 17, 1997)

Named after glorified/vilified outlaws, CNN are products of another desert storm, one centralized in the borough of Queens. What these two bring to battle are alert minds and even sharper tongues in lyrical maneuvers that involve attitudes of rah-rah proportions and scenes of underworld mayhem. Blessed with an exasperated flow and a penchant for choice Nuyorican Spanglish, Noreaga subscribes to O.C.'s work ethic: "the more emotion I put into it, the harder I rock." Hyper than any hype man, he performs double duty for his man Capone, who was incarcerated while making the record. Capone even calls from the joint on one realer-than-real skit. But, fortunately, he completed a large amount of the album and makes his presence felt through subdued, scabrous vocals. In fact, it's Capone's gritty voice that serves as a match to fuses like, "I did it for the love of cash, your honor/ trafficking cross the Verrazano/Coke and marijuana..." That line, from the tenacious "T.O.N.Y." is indicative of the many drug references throughout The War Report. Musically, CNN don't hold back, giving listeners a full-scale invasion with help from fellow Queens henchmen, most notably Khadafi, better known as Tragedy, the intelligent hoodlum. Almost every song is distinguished by choppy but memorable hooks similar to those made famous by QB homies Mobb Deep. It's only fitting that Havoc laces the duo with that static "Parole Violators," a simplified shot sure to make hard rocks smile. The moody "Married To Marijuana" showcases a solo Noreaga treading over tired ground. CNN basically follow the lead of many urban griots before them, reporting the horrors of street life. To critics who object, that's just how it is in America today - or better said, to quote Havoc, "And how it is... is kind of fucked up." - Rap Pages, June 1997. Hit the tags below for the album's review in The Source and XXL; the Next feature in Vibe; the Penalty Mixtape; Unsigned Hype; Vinyl, and lots more. The War Report was released on this day in the summer of '97, but it's the perfect album to carry us through a cold winter. Listen HERE.