Photo: Getty
  /  06.18.2022
S6 E22  |  Capone-N-Noreaga ‘The War Report’ 25 Year Anniversary

S6 E22 | Capone-N-Noreaga ‘The War Report’ 25 Year Anniversary


On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN welcome Capone — one-half of Capone-N-Noreaga — to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their groundbreaking debut album, The War Report.

Hailing from Queens, New York, Capone-N-Noreaga released their first single “Illegal Life” featuring Mobb Deep’s Havoc in 1996 after signing to Neil Levine’s Penalty Recordings. The record laid the groundwork for N.O.R.E. and Capone to drop their debut studio album the following year. However, Capone was locked up after violating his parole, which led Noreaga to finish the project himself. Comprised of 20 songs, The War Report was released in 1997 and contains features from Mobb Deep, Busta Rhymes, Iman THUG, Troy Outlaw and frequent collaborator Tragedy Khadafi (who appears on more than half of the project), among several others. The album boasts singles like “L.A., L.A.,” which serves as a direct response to Snoop Dogg’s “New York, New York,” as well as records like “T.O.N.Y. (Top Of New York)” and “Driver’s Seat.” Widely considered a street classic by fans and critics alike, the project was pivotal for the music scene in Queens and still remains a cult favorite 25 years later.

Below are nine interesting facts we learned about The War Report from this week’s “Drink Champs” interview. Check them out and be sure to tune in to the full episode above.

1. On Capone and N.O.R.E. meeting in jail 

N.O.R.E. and Capone first met in Collins Correctional Facility during the 90s, although as the duo recalls, they didn’t initially have intentions to create music together. As a matter of fact, the two jumpstarted their relationship with a game of basketball long before their debut single “Illegal Life” came in out 1996. “Our first plan was basketball. It was basically how can I get you to my side of my jail to play basketball with me ‘cause you nice, but your side don’t got no players. But y’all won the championship ‘cause you was on the team,” Capone recalls. “If it wasn’t for [Carlos Maldonado] and Billy Wade, we wouldn’t be together. We met at church but we had to have a common ground where we could meet and that was the basketball court.”

2. On Capone-N-Noreaga being compared to Mobb Deep

Mobb Deep appeared on the first three of Capone-N-Noreaga’s albums and according to the latter, they were instantly met with comparisons due to their similar upbringings in New York. “We was Mobb Deep rejects … That was before they knew we was affiliated,” Capone shares in regards to the press comparing the two. Tragedy adds, “People need something to compare something to, they need a gauge. At that time, it just offended me. It bothered me because we’re going so hard … I don’t want me and mine to be associated in a way that we’re trying to bite off their shit.”

3. On Tragedy putting up Capone-N-Noreaga “Wanted” posters to promote their project 

As N.O.R.E. recalls, there was a period where Tragedy put “Wanted” posters up around Queens in order to promote the artists. Though the campaign was effective and garnered a lot of attention for C-N-N, the rapper reminisces on getting phone calls from people who believed the posters to be true. “Prior to us getting to Penalty, there was a big campaign a part of our thing. People kept calling for weeks because obviously back then we didn’t have Twitter. So people were calling me, and remember they’re not telling me what’s fully going on and this has been happening for weeks,” Noreaga recalls. “They’re like, ‘Yo, man. I see that shit.’ So I’m like, ‘What?’ Meanwhile, what Trag was doing was putting up Capone-N-Noreaga ‘Wanted’ posters. What I didn’t know for weeks was these were people calling and warning me, but you gotta realize they’re speaking in code.”

Tragedy expands on the posters, “They thought the ‘Wanted’ posters were real. I said if you have any information regarding these suspects, call 1-800-223-9797.” He later shares that the phone number was the call-in line for Hot 97’s radio station.

4. On Prodigy removing his verse from “L.A., L.A.” during the West Coast-East Coast rivalry 

A standout cut from Capone-N-Noreaga’s debut album, “L.A., L.A.” served as a direct response to Tha Dogg Pound’s music video for the Snoop Dogg-assisted track “New York, New York.” The song features Tragedy Khadafi and Prodigy of Mobb Deep, the latter of which removed his verse prior to the song’s release and later put it on Nas’ “Live Nigga Rap.” In regards to what prompted this, N.O.R.E. shares that it happened due to Tupac sending shots at Mobb Deep on his song “Hit ‘Em Up,” where the rapper infamously taunted Prodigy about having sickle cell anemia.

“There’s a part of that record where Tupac is responding to us. He was like, ‘Whoever else, one of y’all.’ He didn’t know our names,” N.O.R.E. says. “I’m 50-50 with that. 50 percent of me says I wanted Pac to diss us and then 50 percent of me says I don’t know if I would’ve been able to take it. I don’t know back then. Right now, I know how to respond.”

Capone chimes in, “I wouldn’t want to be a part of that beef.” Elsewhere, Tragedy states, “That offended me. Not that he dissed us, that he didn’t diss us.”

5. On the industry relying on analytics now versus taking a chance on artists

As Tragedy recounts, record executive and CEO of Penalty Recordings Neil Levine took a chance on C-N-N before they had an actual hit record. Pivoting into record labels no longer relying on luck or an ear for music but rather numbers and analytics, he states, “That’s why shit is not changing because its math. They say math doesn’t lie but the soul is gone. The naturality of this shit is being lost because it’s all about dollars.” DJ EFN expands, “Math does lie because its proven that they paying for that math. They’re paying for those numbers.”

6. On Funkmaster Flex fronting on Capone-N-Noreaga 

While reflecting on some of their favorite memories while creating their debut album, Capone, Noreaga and Tragedy Khadafi discuss a time when they tried to get Funkmaster Flex to listen to their demo for “Thug Paradise.” Tragedy gave Flex the record to listen to and followed the DJ around New York until he finally gave it a spin. “Flex was fronting on us, I remember. He kept it real … Flex is a lot of things, but he’s not a liar,” N.O.R.E shares. 

Tragedy reminisces on going everywhere Funk Flex was until he played their record, “You know how when you give [it to someone and if they don’t] fuck with it, normally they’re going to tell you why they don’t fuck with it? He didn’t do that so I’m like, ‘Oh, you didn’t even listen to that shit.’ I was like, ‘Alright, cool. I see how I gotta do this dude. I’m going to be in his face every time he looks up. I’m not going to say nothing to him, I’m not going to ask him to play it again. He’s going to know when he looks at me why I’m here.’” Elsewhere in the interview, N.O.R.E. recalls a time when they went to the radio station and The Notorious B.I.G. was there.

7. On The War Report not becoming successful until months after its release 

As N.O.R.E. explains, The War Report didn’t rise to acclaim as soon as he anticipated and when it did, the success only felt regional due to social media and the internet not playing a role. However, as he traveled across the states, he was surprised by the number of people listening to the album outside of his hometown in New York. “It felt like there were months that went by where TWR was actually playing, but it didn’t feel like there were months that went by where it was actually successful as a record. Then it actually became successful and it felt regional because we had no internet,” N.O.R.E. shares. 

“We had no idea they were playing it in North Carolina. It took me to travel to be like, ‘Wait a minute, maybe we do have something,’” he adds. Earlier in the interview, N.O.R.E. also states that his self-titled album, which was released the following year, was more successful upon its debut.

8. On Busta Rhymes being the first to show C-N-N love and their song “Driver’s Seat” 

Among the several notable features such as Mobb Deep and Iman THUG that appeared on The War Report, Busta Rhymes is arguably one of the most recognizable for today’s generation. He briefly appeared on the latter half of Capone-N-Noreaga’s “Driver’s Seat,” which serves as track three on the project. Speaking on the listening experience of the album and how the duo presented themselves, Busta shares they “had a flow pattern that no one else was doing.”

“I’ma be honest, one of the first people to show C-N-N love outside of our camp, in my opinion, was Busta,” N.O.R.E. emphasizes. Busta Rhymes picks up, explaining the story behind their “Driver’s Seat” record: “N.O.R.E. told me to pull up, I don’t remember what studio. ‘T.O.N.Y,’ that record was fucking me up. The fact that Capone was in jail and had such a presence on that album, I had never seen that before. The phone calls from the jail cell on the skits, that to me was a different type of camaraderie and loyalty and love. It was refreshing and interesting.”

Busta continues, “The way they sounded on the record, it was weird. All of them sounded like they were similar but with different voice tones. Trag, N.O.R.E., and Capone had a flow pattern that no one else was doing.”

9. On what made The War Report and everybody involved in the album so special

Bringing the interview to a close, Capone delves into why the album meant so much to him at the time of its release. Midway through recording the project, he was incarcerated for violating probation, leaving N.O.R.E. to complete the album on his own, which the rapper bigs him up for. “For me, I look at it like this. I ain’t have to take my brother with me, and he ain’t have me with him. So for everybody that said, ‘Yo, you put this together, you did this, or N.O.R.E. didn’t leave you enough’ … Nah, we did what we was supposed to, we remained brothers. We remained brothers so all of this, I love this.”



View More



View More


Quincy Brown and Romeo Miller bring a little brotherly love to the latest episode of “Receipts”

The acting duo exchanges comedic jabs en route to revealing Tyler Clark’s hidden talent.

  /  09.12.2023

Tiffany Haddish on therapy, wild fan interactions & the upcoming 'Haunted Mansion' movie | 'The Jason Lee Show'

On this all-new episode of “The Jason Lee Show,” the one and only Tiffany Haddish sits for a must-watch conversation about wild interactions with fans, her new movie ‘Haunted Mansion,’ bringing her therapist on dates, and being present. Watch the hilarious interview here.

  /  07.12.2023

Jordyn Woods talks prioritizing authenticity, her brand & saying, "No" | 'Assets Over Liabilities'

On this episode of “Assets Over Liabilities,” Jordyn Woods welcomes hosts Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings to her headquarters to discuss expanding Woods by Jordyn, prioritizing authenticity throughout her brand promotions, not talking about money with friends, being patient, and saying, “No.” Watch here!

  /  08.09.2023

Pheelz talks expressing himself through music & his biggest inspirations | 'On In 5'

On this all-new episode of “On In 5,” multitalented Nigerian artist Pheelz opens up about waiting for his opportunity to fully express himself through music, his inspirations and emotions, and the musical icons he grew up admiring. Watch!

  /  07.11.2023

How Angela Yee found more to her life's purpose beyond the microphone

Check out six insightful gems that Angela Yee dropped on “The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels.”

  /  09.13.2023

BNXN talks leaving IT for music, linking with Wizkid, going viral & new album | 'On In 5'

For this all-new episode of “On In 5,” singer-songwriter BNXN discusses his journey from IT to music, finding his voice and originality, linking up with Wizkid for their hits “Mood” and “Many Ways,” and what fans can expect from him this year — including a new album. Watch the full episode here!

  /  08.08.2023

Kareem Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke & networking | 'The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels'

On this all-new episode of “The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels,” the host and REVOLT CEO sits down with Kareem Cook. Throughout the introspective episode, Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke and being nervous to be in the South at the time, network vs. education, taking advantage of your opportunities, and connecting with Debbie Allen. Watch!

  /  07.10.2023

Angela Yee talks "The Breakfast Club," growing up in Brooklyn & interning for Wu-Tang Clan | ‘The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels’

On this all-new episode of “The Blackprint,” host and REVOLT CEO Detavio Samuels welcomes Angela Yee to discuss growing up in Brooklyn, interning for Wu-Tang Clan, “The Breakfast Club,” and curating her own show. Presented by LIFEWTR.

  /  09.12.2023

7 Atlanta residents reveal what they’re most excited about for the first-ever REVOLT WORLD

“I love music and media and thoroughly enjoy observing panels,” one person said. “Also…I love to see our artists performing, so I’ll definitely be in attendance to see Babyface Ray perform!”

  /  09.05.2023

Yo-Yo is happy hip hop's trailblazers are being recognized & loves how fearless today's female lyricists are

Ahead of hip hop’s 50th birthday, Yo-Yo opened up about her outstanding career and the women who are holding down the fort today. “I think this generation is more fearless, they take less s**t, they say what they want, and they get it,” Yo-Yo stated in this exclusive interview. Read up!

  /  08.07.2023

Scotty ATL is achieving longevity with grillz by staying ahead of the curve

“I built my own lane… I’m just educating myself on a daily basis,” he told REVOLT in this exclusive interview for Black Business Month. Read up!

  /  08.16.2023

Happy 50th birthday, hip hop! A letter celebrating and thanking you on your big day

Happy 50th anniversary, hip hop. You’re on a tier where no tears should ever fall. My hope is that the millions of us forever enriched by your glory of the past 50 years continue to endure and inspire in your name over the next 50. 

  /  08.11.2023

Web3 | Ice Cube's BIG3 league is centering innovative ownership opportunities within sports

“Ownership holds a lot of weight. It’s about reaping the rewards of your hard work, having a say in how things roll,” Ice Cube tells REVOLT in this “Web3” exclusive about giving fans a piece of the BIG3 pie.

  /  08.18.2023

Breakdancing, an oft-ignored pillar of hip hop, is taking its rightful place in the spotlight

In celebration of hip hop’s 50th birthday, we discuss the history of breaking, the art form serving as a voice for the marginalized and it being added to the 2024 Olympics. Read up!

  /  08.10.2023

Doechii pays homage to hip hop icons and talks pushing the boundaries of music genres

Ahead of hip hop’s 50th birthday, Doechii sat with REVOLT for an exclusive interview and talked about her upcoming tour with Doja Cat, love for Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj, some of her favorite rap albums and much more. Read up!

  /  08.04.2023

Pride was the theme of the night at the inaugural Caribbean Music Awards

“This marks an important historic moment,” Wyclef Jean exclusively told REVOLT. “The Caribbean Music Awards created a bridge to unify all Caribbean artists and show the world that [we] are strong in numbers, as well as leaders of the culture.”

  /  09.05.2023

Flau'jae is winning on and off the court with zero plans of slowing down

“I still feel like I haven’t scratched the surface of my capabilities… I just want to be the best version of myself,” she acknowledged in this exclusive interview for REVOLT. Read up!

  /  08.22.2023

Jaylen Brown: Hip hop has been an essential part of my growth as an athlete

Ahead of hip hop’s 50th birthday, REVOLT sat down with NBA star Jaylen Brown to discuss his career, the South’s impact on rap, the importance of Black media outlets and so much more. Read up!

  /  08.02.2023

Kickin' Facts with Legendary Lade | Clarks Originals x MAYDE WORLDWIDE Wallabee “Pacific Blue”

LA native and designer Aleali May teams up with Clarks Originals for a new collaboration.

  /  08.21.2023

Web3 | Willow Smith's groundbreaking honor as the first-ever RIAA NFT plaque recipient

This groundbreaking chapter in Willow Smith’s journey signifies innovation at the intersection of Web3 and the music industry. Read up!

  /  09.01.2023
View More
Revolt - New Episodes