Today marks 22 years since Noreaga of famed duo Capone-N-Noreaga (CNN) released his debut solo studio album titled N.O.R.E. on Penalty Records and Tommy Boy Entertainment. The Gold-selling, No.1 charting, 19-track album featured a star-studded array of feature artists on the mic including Nas, Busta Rhymes, the legendary Kool G Rap as well as no less than Big Pun, Styles P, Cam’ron, Nature and Jadakiss all on the classic posse cut track “Banned From T.V.”. Not to be outdone, the executively produced by Capone album featured production from Marley Marl, Trackmasters, The Neptunes, Swizz Beatz, DJ Clue amongst others.
Recorded in 1997, the debut single from the album was the self-titled “N.O.R.E.” that was released two and a half months prior to the album dropping and was produced and co-written by Poke & Tone of Trackmasters. “N.O.R.E.” after charting in America would also find a later and prolonged life by being featured as the only non-Swizz Beatz produced track on the December 2002 Swizz Beatz Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories compilation album as well as featuring on the soundtrack to 2005’s Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories video game. The gritty, strip-backed film clip above also acting features cameos from Fat Joe, Cormega, Busta Rhymes, and Spliff Starr.
The following singles from the album was the anthem “Banned From T.V.” produced by a then up and coming Skizz Beatz and the hugely successful “Superthug” produced by The Neptunes. The impressive, feature-heavy “Banned From T.V.” track is now a staple in late-90s Golden Era playlists and memories which featured the six emcees in five minutes. The classic “Superthug” would go No. 1 in America and would also help The Neptunes take the next step in what is not a long and hugely successful career. The classic Noreaga delivery has made this a timeless classic and the charged up chorus is only rivaled by M.O.P’s “Ante Up”, Dead Prez’s “Hip Hop” and Onyx’s “Slam” for the time. N.O.R.E. – a classic album well deserved of a revisit today on its 22nd birthday from the Lefrak superstar, now also trailblazing his own way in the video podcasting world with his “Drink Champs” show w/ DJ EFN.