"N.O.R.E. Nore stand for Niggas On the Run Eatin." Followed by a big "What, What" repeated over and over when I was a teen.
Not to age myself or our topic today, let's just say I haven't been a teenager for a while. To give credit where it is due, this brother has carried the torch along the way. To talk about the man, I must talk about his group efforts, as well. Ranging from his rap duo, Capone N Noreaga plus his recent success with instant hit, Drink Champs. Which definitely deserves a shout to rap partner Capone and co-host DJ EFN.
I think back to the debut album, titled N.O.R.E. The moment I hear the chuckle, then he says "The album." I don't know what it meant to everyone else, I almost feel like I know what it meant to him though. The feeling of weight being lifted off your shoulders. Being released from such a mental, physical and spiritual strain. Finally, blessed with the position to use your talent on a major scale.
As I listen to the album this day, it still gives me that battery in my back for inspiration. For someone that was in Queens, you could not go anywhere without hearing "What What, What What, What What, Wh-What" from someone's speakers. You could tell this was the guy from CNN, however his individuality stood out. Though NORE was so Queens, he was a global success. First album went gold, lead him to a rap career of longevity.
Who knew, the kid speaking Q-U language would appeal to so many. That's what I love about rap, it brings people together. At the time, radio friendly had a whole other sound. Most of N.O.R.E. was grimey, with favorites like Hed along with Body In The Trunk. Still, the entire piece is timeless, I even laugh at Animal Thug now. Speaking of thug, he gave the word more appeal. Back then, I didn't call myself one, was content being considered thugged out.
Currently, I'm cool with most heads I came up with, even ones I met along the way. They love Melvin Flynt, Golden Era rappers, love Melvin Flynt. Reluctantly, Noreaga doesn't share those same feelings with his peers. I am sure he enjoyed parts of it, I understand his point of view. It was a period of hardship resurfacing, not the same poverty struggle. This time a more emotional hit, dealing with the passing of his father. The terrible part is, bill collectors and label executives have no concern for grievance. Overall, Slime felt he rushed the album, didn't get what he wanted out of it.
That was a period with no social media or digital magazines. So, if you wanted to know an artist's opinion, you had to wait. Honestly, NORE may not have been willing to explain that sort of thing to random public people. God's favorite thug still had deeply groomed ways of the streets. Spurts of his colorful personality were revealed occasionally. However, totally adjusting to the camera would take time.
In expression of his personality, Noreaga dropped a Reggaeton album. At a time of celebration, recent deal with the Roc, plus Latin culture was taking off in Hip Hop. Such a move deserved more public praise, instead was criticized. People missed something big while making it the topic of their jokes. What he did, was the same thing rappers do with their Jamaican roots. Plenty hit Reggae / Rap crossovers play presently. It's all good, Slime got the last laugh. Let that joint with Nina Skye come on around your girl. There's not a Latin country where chics don't go crazy to that song.
In all seriousness, stress continued to build over the years, his freedom on the line. One life threatening incident involving a shootout along with partner Capone, the other a triple-murder trial. No, he was not accused of the murder, thank God. Though, it was a friend as the suspect. The public has no idea what goes on in the lives of their celebrities, yet constantly take shots at them.
Proven hustler, NORE made the best of his hours. During that period, he landed roles in several films. To name a few, Paper Soldiers, State Property 2 and Paid In Full. In my opinion, this is where the star personality begins to shine. His roles were didn't have the most time in each film, they still packed potency. His music is great, just three minutes and thirty seconds only gives the consumer, so much.
That's why I feel today's podcast frenzy is perfect for the Super Thug. Now we get all emotions covered in all his projects with the natural conversation flow. You can't help to see where the humor in his movie roles came from. The chemistry with main co-host DJ EFN is excellent. The liberty for the guest to get comfortable is what we've been waiting for. This same thing goes on in studios worldwide leading to great material. So, for these guys to capture all that on this type of platform is golden.
Will Drink Champs have the Ali, Jones Jr, Mayweather Jr effect? I really don't know, I just enjoy them making it look so easy. This show is in a class by itself, there are similarities, not necessarily competition. Capone often appears on episodes stating drunk facts. By now, Golden Era fans, along with the Google Babies get to witness all sides of NORE. So when new tunes go up on You Tube, heads flock to it.
To the OG that coined Lefrak as Iraq, who showed the world how to hustle. Five CNN bangin albums, six wave- setting solo albums. I gotta give my thanks for him being a big part of that motivation to use my talents. Coming from someone who raps, works with film and podcasts. I strongly agree with biggin up legends while they are living. Before closing, congratulations on the new food show, can't wait to see it big bro!