The War Report

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The War Report
Studio album by Capone-N-Noreaga
Released June 17, 1997
Recorded December 1995–April 1997
Genre East Coast hip hop, Hardcore Hip Hop,[1] Gangsta Rap [2]
Length 70:43
Label Penalty/Tommy Boy/Warner Bros. Records
03041
Producer Charlemagne
EZ Elpee
Nashiem Myrick
Carlos "6 July" Broady
Naughty Shorts
Tragedy Khadafi
G-Money
Buckwild
Lord Finesse
Marley Marl
DJ Clark Kent
Capone-N-Noreaga chronology
The War Report
(1997)
The Reunion
(2000)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[3]
The Source 4/5 stars[4]

The War Report is the influential debut album by rap duo Capone-N-Noreaga (C-N-N for short). The album features the classics "L.A. L.A."; "T.O.N.Y."; "Neva Die Alone"; "Driver's Seat"; "Illegal Life"; "Capone Bone"; "Bloody Money"; "Closer"; "Iraq (See The World)"; and Noreaga's dedication to Capone, "Live on, Live Long." Tragedy Khadafi was in many ways the mastermind behind the project and was at the time considered an unofficial third member. He appears on more than half of the album's songs. Other guest appearances include Imam T.H.U.G., who appeared on the track "Driver's Seat"; Castro; Mussolini; Mendosa; Troy Outlaw; Mobb Deep. Despite its strong underground overtones, the album was, surprisingly, a commercial success, making 1997's Hip Hop/R&B Top Five.

Significance and impact[edit]

Considered a street classic by many [1] The War Report's signature sound was distinctively underground and hardcore for its time, a trademark that garnered the group outstanding street credibility. The unique chemistry of Noreaga's unorthodox lyrical delivery, combined with Capone's streetwise slang and Five Percenter references, established the duo as a household name within the hardcore hip hop community. Furthermore, the album created a large and devoted cult following for the group and launched the solo career of Noreaga, who subsequently went on to achieve significant mainstream success (most notably with the Neptunes-produced club anthem "Superthug").

More importantly, The War Report is often credited with reviving East Coast and hardcore hip hop, signaling a return to realistic and gritty hardcore street aesthetics (defined by unapologetic tales of violence and drugs) and spelling an end to the surrealistic, ostentatious, and fictional narratives of mafioso rap. [2] Beginning in the end of 1996 and throughout 1997 (during the commercial height of Puff Daddy's pop-oriented Bad Boy Records during its Arista Records years), mafioso hip-hop gradually lost its critical acclaim within the underground scene from which it originated. As it crossed over into the mainstream, the concept was becoming increasingly generic and comatose (as seen with the hip hop supergroup the Firm, which rhymed almost exclusively about mafioso fantasies). Upon the release of The War Report, however, Capone and Noreaga brought new life into the gangsta rap sub-genre, becoming an instant underground phenomenon that foreshadowed the rise of similarly styled emcees who went on to cross into the mainstream for the remainder of the late 1990s (i.e., DMX, and Ja Rule) and into the following decade (i.e., 50 Cent and Jadakiss).

The success of the album managed the group to make a sequel titled The War Report 2: Report the War originally to be released on June 15, 2010, almost exactly 13 years after the original, but it was pushed back a month later to July 13, 2010.[5]

Track listing[edit]

# Title Producer(s) Featured Artist(s) Length
1 "Intro" Charlemagne 1:32
2 "Bloody Money" EZ Elpee 4:33
3 "Driver's Seat" Nashiem Myrick & Carlos "6 July" Broady for The Hitmen Imam T.H.U.G. & Busta Rhymes 3:40
4 "Stick You" Naughty Shorts Tragedy Khadafi 4:43
5 "Parole Violators" Tragedy Khadafi Havoc & Tragedy Khadafi 2:30
6 "Iraq (See the World)" EZ Elpee Castro, Musaliny (From Musaliny-N-Maze), Mendosa & Troy Outlaw 5:33
7 "Live On, Live Long" G-Money, a.k.a. Ramell S. Gee, Brooklyn, New York, (GM704) 4:50
8 "Neva Die Alone" Buckwild Tragedy Khadafi 3:23
9 "T.O.N.Y. (Top of New York)" Nashiem Myrick & Carlos "6 July" Broady for The Hitmen Tragedy Khadafi 4:28
10 "Channel 10" Lord Finesse Tragedy Khadafi 3:21
11 "Capone Phone Home" (Interlude) 1:43
12 "Thug Paradise" (Many pressings of the album mistakenly list "Stay Tuned (Interlude)" as track 12; "Thug Paradise" appears in its place on numerous retail versions of The War Report. "Stay Tuned" does appear on a few early pressings of the album, along with the original version of "Closer" in place of the Sam Sneed remix.) D-Moet (uncredited) Tragedy Khadafi 3:30
13 "Capone Bone" Marley Marl 3:37
14 "Halfway Thugs" Charlemagne 3:13
15 "L.A L.A" (Kuwait Mix) Marley Marl, J. Force (uncredited) Mobb Deep & Tragedy Khadafi 4:49
16 "Capone-N-Noreaga Live" (Interlude) 2:43
17 "Illegal Life" Tragedy Khadafi, Havoc Havoc 3:49
18 "Black Gangstas" Buckwild Tragedy Khadafi 2:59
19 "Closer" (Original pressings of the album had this version, while subsequent pressings included the Sam Sneed remix of "Closer" in place of the original.) DJ Clark Kent Nneka 4:04
20 "Capone Phone Home" (Outro) 1:33

^Busta Rhymes' part is cut off before he starts. He only appears on the last 20 seconds of the song, ad-libbing over the hook. The songs "Stick You," "Parole Violators," "Halfway Thugs," and "L.A., L.A (Kuwait Mix)" are partially edited, even though the album was released with an explicit-lyrics sticker.

Sample-clearance issues caused two very strong tracks, "Married To Marijuana" and "Calm Down (Feat. Nas & Tragedy Khadafi)," to be cut from the retail version of the album. Both songs were originally on the promo version sent out for reviews but were sadly omitted from the retail album when it hit stores. Both became mixtape and underground radio classics and were released as white label 12-inch singles.

Samples[edit]

Album singles[edit]

  • "Illegal Life"
    • Released: 1996
    • B-side: "L.A,. L.A."; "Stick You"
  • "T.O.N.Y. (Top of New York)"
    • Released: 1996
    • B-side:
  • "Closer"
    • Released: 1997
    • B-side: Closer (Sam Sneed Version) Produced By Sam Sneed

Charts[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
position
US Billboard 200 21
US Top R&B Albums 4

Singles[edit]

Year Song Chart positions
US
R&B
US
Rap
US Dance
Singles Sales
1996 "Illegal Life" 84 18 18
"L.A. L.A." - 39 -
1997 "T.O.N.Y. (Top of New York)" 56 16 -
"Closer" 63 9 -

References[edit]