When Queens natives Capone-N-Noreaga dropped their 1997 debut album The War Report Hip Hop was in the middle of a transition period. A new crop of MC’s were coming in, many of the benchmark artists of the late 80s early 90s were starting to fall off and labels focused their efforts on getting artist on mainstream radio ushered in by the “Jiggy Era”. For Capone-N-Noreaga this commercial shift was not an option, they represented what just a few years earlier their Queens brethren Mobb Deep displayed on their second coming “The Infamous” LP.
To make the Queens connection even deeper, the mastermind behind The War Report was QB Legend Tragedy Khadafi who discovered and molded the duo into the flagship artists for his newly christened 25 to Life Records. In many ways Tragedy was the unofficial 3rd member of the group as he appears on more than half the album. The War Report represented a new era of street science and gritty New York beats, tracks like “Illegal Life”, “Stick You” & “T.O.N.Y” all became anthems that summer, making this one of the Greatest Debut Albums in Hip Hop History according to Complex Magazine.
From the moment you hear the piano line of “Bloody Money” it sets a clear tone for this album, the War has begun. With features from Tragedy, Iman Thug, Mobb Deep and uncredited Busta Rhymes ad libs CNN’s debut is treated as almost a revolving door of like-minded MC’s determined to keep the music pure. Rounding out the production aspect, The War Report features EZ Elpee, Nasheim Myrick, Bucwild, Lord Finesse, Marley Marl and super DJ Clark Kent who all bring their unique style while all meshing together perfectly to make this debut a capsule to late 90’s Rap.