Back To The Classics: Capone-N-Noreaga – The War Report

Written by Aaron. Posted in Reviews

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Published on October 30, 2013 with 2 Comments">2 Comments

These days, the word “classic” is thrown around as loosely as a Nerf ball at a picnic. However, we at TRU consider classics to be something which stand the test of time and have a resounding influence on their respective fields. But how do albums considered classics sound to the ears of TRU’s young blood? Aaron J. McKrell was born in 1990 and we’ve convinced him to turn his scope on a classic from the rich history of hip-hop to view it through a contemporary lens in the second iteration of our ‘Classics Revisited’ series: Back To The Classics

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The War Report is the penultimate installment of Back to the Classics. That’s right: After this, there’s only one more. Anyways, I gave Capone-N-Noreaga’s debut a spin. Here’s what I thought:

Remember when I said that Black Moon’s Enta Da Stage was lyrically and musically strong, but failed to stand out from the pack of ’90s crime rap? Well, The War Report had me feeling the same way. Save “Capone ‘N’ Noreaga Live (Interlude),” every track on the album is strong. Capone and Noreaga are skilled rhyme slingers and paint a dope picture. The production is well-done and very East Coast. All good things.

But there is nothing that sticks out here, save the Iraq-gangsta lifestyle comparisons. The rhymes are nothing that I haven’t heard before, most notably from Nas and Mobb Deep. The production is a little more extravagant than Mobb Deep’s creeping minimalism, but again, extravagant New York production is nothing I haven’t heard before (see: Wu-Tang Clan). And some of is dang near identical to NY rap before it (“Halfway Thugs,” really?).

This would be more forgiveable if the album wasn’t so long. At 20 tracks, the been-there-heard-that feel I had after track three becomes they’re-beating-a-dead-horse-with-the-mic around track 15.

For nineties heads, I’m sure this was a very enjoyable album when it was released, and probably is still enjoyable for them today. But if we’re talking albums that stand the test of time, The War Report is stale because it pales in comparison to the Illmatics and The Infamouses of 90s New York crime rap.

Aaron

Aaron is a journalism major at Edinboro University with a deep passion for hip-hop culture and music. He hails from Erie, Pa., and loves all things Pittsburgh and the Sixers. He has been down with hip-hop since "Lose Yourself" and has been all in since "What You Know." As a Christian, Aaron enjoys both secular and spiritual hip-hop. Besides his standard 6-11 servings of hip-hop per day, Aaron enjoys helping people out and hanging out with his crew, Platoon Squad.

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  • I need a doctor

    I guess if your outlook on 90′s hip hop is that you should skim over the top and just listen to the Illmatics and the Infamouses, this review makes sense. With those standards how many 90′s albums do you like? 8? Come on man, did you actually listen to the album?

    • aaron

      The purpose of this series is to look at how revered albums stand up today, to contemporary ears. I already said it was a good album, but we’re talking about classics here, and I don’t think it should be as revered as it is. And yes, I listened to the album. That goes without saying. Anyone who reviews an album without listening to it isn’t reviewing it at all. They’re making stuff up.