This month marks the 25th anniversary of a legendary East Coast hip hop album: On June 17th in 1997, “The War Report” by Capone-N-Noreaga dropped. The classic LP brought back gritty street rap when the polished sound of Bad Boy Records was almost single-handedly dominating the airwaves, while gangster rap had degenerated into overacted mafioso rap.
On “The War Report”, Capone’s borough (Queensbridge) became Kuwait. Noreaga’s neighbourhood (LeFrak City) became Iraq. And Capone-N-Noreaga turned into the street‘s CNN who vividly reported about inner city wars and a hectic life in-between the drug game and prison where Capone also spent his time during most of the album recordings.
Complemented with instrumentals by an illustrious lineup of producers (Buckwild, Havoc, The Hitmen and Marley Marley, amongst others), as well as features from Mobb Deep and CNN’s unofficial third member Tragedy Khadafi, the result was an album that has lost none of its intensity and relevance even 25 years later. And also not in popularity: Just ask the Supreme heads who fiend for the matching „War Report“ tee while watching the „Drink Champs“ podcast by N.O.R.E. (the artist formerly known as Noreaga).