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Hip-Hop Secrets: N.O.R.E Talks Losing Publishing, Buying Chicken for Big Pun and More

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N.O.R.E had his camera lens behind the scenes of Hip-Hop for decades and prepares to release the compilation of that footage in a documentary entitled What What?. The rapper, who know goes by P.A.P.I (Power. Always. Proves. Intelligence), recently spoke with PNC Radio’s The Combat Jack Show about secrets from his long musical career.

The Combat Jack Show host, Reggie Osse Messed Up NORE’s First Recording Contract

Dallas Penn: “So basically you signed away N.O.R.E.’s publishing?”

Reggie Osse: “Yes!”

In 1996, two 20-year-old former criminals formed a group called Capone-N-Noreaga and signed to Penalty Recordings. At the time, The Combat Jack Show‘s host Reggie Osse was a famous entertainment lawyer who had represented everyone from Jay-Z to Notorious B.I.G and a variety of others. P.A.P.I even jokingly says around 1998 he wanted to fight Osse after the Queens rapper had reviewed the original 1996 contract and discovered all his publishing was gone. Luckily, N.O.R.E.  purchased his publishing back and the rest is Super Thug history.

Wanted Posters Were Used For Promotion

“What [Tragedy] did was make Wanted posters signs. Every three or four days people would hit me on the two-way pager like ‘Hey, I just pulled down your poster sign.” I’m like ‘Nah nigg* that’s for promotion.”-N.O.R.E

In today’s age of social media promotion, flyer promotion is somewhat of an antiquated means of promotion. Famed Hip Hop producer/rapper/manager Tragedy Khadafi knew of Capon and Noreaga’s infamous reputation with guns and decided to use it to spawn a grassroots promotional campaign. Tragedy just did not expect people to take them serious. According to Osse, Tragedy informed him that one time on the train platform a few people recognized him from the wanted poster and went to approach him. Long story short, sometime in the mid-90’s Tragedy was running through the projects ripping down Wanted posters.

Prodigy Had a Verse Removed From “LA, LA” Record, Video Shot On Same Day 2Pac’s “Hit Em Up” Debuts

Reggie Osse: “He wanted to be off the hook too?”

N.O.R.E: “He wanted to be off of everything.”

Back in 1995, tensions between the West Coast and the East Coast were reaching violent levels. In November of 1994, two months after Ready To Die released Tupac was shot in Manhattan’s Quad Studios where Notorious B.I.G. and the Junior Mafia were recording. Following that, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre were partly booed by the crowd at the 1995 Source Awards in New York City which prompted Snoop Dogg and his Tha Doggpound group to release the NYC diss song “NY NY” in November of 1995. In early 1996, Mobb Deep and CNN cooked up a response record however, Loud Records’ President called N.O.R.E. and said Prodigy wanted his involvement on the diss record taken off. On the day of video shoot for “LA, LA”  Tupac released the legendary incendiary diss track “Hit Em Up” in mid-1996. Prodigy’s verse was later used on Nas’ “Live N*gga Rap” song off his It Was Written album which was released less than a month after Tupac released “Hit Em Up”.

Capone-N-Noreaga Got Banned From Infamous The Tunnel Nightclub

“Capone was trying to mess with Foxy Brown. One of Foxy’s people hit Capone in the head with a bottle. I then hit homeboy in the head with the bottle.”-N.O.R.E.

If you ask anyone who frequented the infamous nightclub The Tunnel  during its 90’s supremacy they will tell you it was a melting pot of delinquents and debauchery that was the most fun you could have in Hip Hop. N.O.R.E. could no get entrance into the club after a while under no circumstances. Even the late great Big Pun, at the height of his double platinum popularity in late 1998 could not get N.O.R.E. into the Tunnel without “seven undercover police officers” stopping him from entering. That should give you some idea of how wild CNN were at that time of their career.

[ALSO CHECK OUT: @MackMaine Ft. Flow, P.A.P.I. (@Noreaga) & @CoryGunz “Ghetto Symphony”]

Big Pun Tricked N.O.R.E. Into Buying Him KFC, N.O.R.E. Was Later Shocked At His Passing

“I think Busta Rhymes and Pun are the only two people who can make me do things I don’t want to do.”-N.O.R.E.

In 1999, Big Pun, born Christopher Rios, was put into a weight loss program at Duke University to battle his morbid obesity at the time. When longtime friend and collaborator N.O.R.E. came to visit, Pun used his often talked about persuasive skills and some faux medical knowledge to help him sway N.O.R.E. into purchasing him some unhealthy food. When NORE initially opposed buying the Kentucky Friend Chicken, Pun dropped a little medical knowledge he learned. “I found out, the fat is just in the skin,” N.O.R.E recalled the late Pun saying.  After Pun’s unfortunate passing on  February 7th 2000, N.O.R.E was so traumatized and shocked by his close friends death that he says he had an actual conversation with Pun’s corpse at his funeral.

N.O.R.E.’s Last Time Seeing Chris Lighty Was As Chris’ Daughter Entered College

“My father died July 3rd, 1998. Chris Lighty started managing me June 1998. Maybe May. At least 3 months before the N.O.R.E album came out. So essential Chris Lighty kind of in a funny way took my father’s position.“-N.O.R.E

The last time Noreaga laid eyes on his longtime manager and close friend, Chris Lighty was as Ligthy watched his daughter enter college. N.O.R.E, as well as other entertainers close with Lighty vehemently suggest that Lighty was too happy and content with life to commit suicide, which has been his official cause of death since his August 2012 passing.

N.O.R.E. is releasing his sixth studio album, entitled Student of the Game on April 6th.

Check below for the recently released music video for the song “Built Pyramids” featuring Large Professor off Student of the Game:


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