NORE: When Thugs Grow

Nore has seen his share of beefs in hip-hop from the East/West turbulence to crew squabbles to petty rap bellyaching. These days, the original “What, What” man has settled down like sand in a calm pond. A long cry from his CNN days, and is enjoying the juicy fruits of his labor. Still, Nore’s got […]

Nore has seen his share of beefs in hip-hop from the East/West turbulence to crew squabbles to petty rap bellyaching. These days, the original “What, What” man has settled down like sand in a calm pond. A long cry from his CNN days, and is enjoying the juicy fruits of his labor. Still, Nore’s got more oomph exemplified in One Fan A Day, his fourth solo album, which is fueled by the hit “Oye Mi Canto.” Check the metamorphosis of Nore. Do you live in the suburbs?

Nore: Yeah, I do now. Is it crazy being that you’re from the hood?

Nore: I’m used to it. As wild as it seems, I’m used to it. I worked for it. I deserve to live somewhere nice and have white neighbors – whether they like me or not. We made this the hood. We flick ash on the floor, and we have 50 n***as here so I believe you could bring the hood wherever you at. Do you look at your rap career as a job now?

Nore: It’s always been a job but you take it a little more serious. It’s just a job that I love doing. I love going to towns and meeting people. That’s why I’m naming my album One Fan A Day. I was going to call it Normicale but that didn’t have much meaning to it. One day I was with my man and he said, “Every time I’m with you, you make one fan a day.” Meeting fans personally? That’s interesting. How do you view rappers that walk around with security?

Nore: I don’t look at people who walk with security and say “They not real,” because I know that people are in different situations. But me, I try to stay humble and I treat people how I would want to be treated. KRS-One said something in his raps like, “Watch what you say because you might attract it.” These days Lil’ Jon uses “what” a lot, but you were doubling it up like “what what!” How did that come about?

Nore: Actually it about cause we was in the studio with Nas, Tragedy [Kadafi], Mobb Deep and these cats were on some laid back s**t. They from Queensbridge, I’m from Lefrak and they were so laid back that I got tired of that laid back s**t and I started yelling “What! What!” And I just rolled with it. A fan actually came up to me and was like “What, What!” I was like “Damn you be hearing my ad libs in the back like that?” When I was making “Super Thug,” I couldn’t come up with a chorus and I started saying “what, what, what …” and that actually was a reference chorus. And he just mixed it. With the Reggaeton, you have changed your energy in a different way. Did you speak to the artists or did they reach out to you?

Nore: Well Gem Star is apart of my Thugged Out family. That’s my artist. Daddy Yankee is the No. 1 Reggaeton artist on Billboard. I just wanted to take something that Pun said and keep his legacy alive. Even though your single is bubbling in New York, did you ever consider it being risky at any time?

Nore: I really don’t consider “Oye Mi Canto” my [first] single. It’s bubbling everywhere actually. It’s very risky but if it didn’t work, it would even been more risky the fact is besides the Black and Latin people are feeling it, the White people are liking it which is crazy. MTV never had Reggaeton. It’s never been on BET. These guys have been working for year and they never been able to get to our market and I been working for years and I never been able to get to their market so its like whoa! Were trading markets. It’s looking like you’re the face of Reggaeton.

Nore: Nah that’s not fair. I can’t say that. I’m just the person who made it popular in America. I’m sure people will look at it like a reinvention.

Nore: I look at it that way as well, because with me doing Hip-Hop, [Reggaeton] is my other side. Like I gave [Latinos] hints with Spanish titles like “Este Loca” and “Fiesta” – Spanish oriented but I never gave them a full Spanish record. I didn’t intend to do it this time, I just put out a record it started from one mix tape and gave it to one DJ and its all over the world. I just came back from London and they playing it. There’s not even Spanish people in London. There’s not even Spanish people in Hawaii. Its crazy now. I thought it was going to be big but I didn’t know how big it would be. There have been some serious changes at Roc-A-Fella, but talk about why you made the leap.

Nore: It was basically so much opportunities as opposed to just music. I’ve always handled my music part of it don’t matter what label I’m on, my unit is secure. Penalty [Recordings] had 12 workers – just 12. I’m serious and I made a platinum album over there. As far the record label thing, I’ma handle my business. I’ma make my marketing and create my own lane but as far as the other opportunities like the sneaker thing or the clothing line, it just made sense to me. I signed to Def Jam for Kevin Liles and Lyor Cohen and with them leaving, its like telling someone “Yo come and hang out with me in my hood – I got you” and you go to the hood and he bounced and you still in the hood. You don’t know what to do. You only know one other n***a down the block and you’re like f**k it, “I know this dude may not know him like that but he has looked out for me before so I’m saying why wouldn’t he do it now.” What about the sneakers you said that you were putting together?

Nore: Yea I got some NORE’s that I’m putting together. I’m trying to do something with New Balance and of course I’m trying to do something with Pro Keds. How is that working out?

Nore: Everything is cool now. When the checks come, it’ll be even better.(laughs) At the earliest stages, you were being watched by the Hip-Hop police. What are your thoughts on them?

Nore: I hate – man – I hate everything the hip hop police stand for. For me to feel like I’m being watched it like– actually I’m kind of glad if they ‘re watching me because they can se that I ain’t doing s**t. (laughs) but I hate the idea of a task force being assigned to hip hop. You have an interesting story. It seems like the music kind of changed in the middle of your career.

Nore: I feel honored to still be around. I know if Pun was still here, he’d still be around. And for me to have a record label and put something out, its totally different. When I was working with the Neptunes, it was totally different. The record label was bugging like “This is not the record.” When I had “Super Thug,” mother f**kers was bugging like “Do another “N.O.R.E.” and I took that chance. And if you look like seven, eight, years later and come out with something different again, I feel blessed and honored and humble about it. Tell us about the DVD

Nore: The DVD is going to walk you through a show with two people in there; just seeing a person [himself] so scared to get on stage to turning into a professional rocking like 50,000 and see the difference. I’m just keeping it real thought that whole [DVD] and we have the chance to put it out. We also had the “What, What” documentary, but I’ma most likely change that in to the “NORE Story” so it could be one action-packed DVD. It might be a double DVD. One is just me and the other is me messing with some cats in the Hip-Hop game. I have mad footage of Pun that’s just sitting around. I just to keep his legacy alive otherwise that wouldn’t of been the hook for “Oye Mi Canto.” That boriqua morena thing was from him. I also got him on my new album, on a song with Mariah Carey. You said that you were scared to perform?

Nore: I mean I still [get] nervous Actually speaking of Pharell, you kind of birthed the Neptune sound. How was that era for you?

Nore: Well of course it gets strange. You know when you do something, and someone else does it too, it was strange but it was all love. I’m a different kind of person. I don’t feel like they owe me anything. I’m truly blessed to have the vision first but they don’t owe me anything. I’m a man who goes out and gets his own. Do you think that you were defined by your lyricism or your personality?

Nore: I think it was the personality. Its not that my personality is the greatest, but people are used to everybody being fake. “Yea son I’m this and I’m that,” but when you have someone whose not afraid to admit his flaws, like I openly say when I got skinny or fat again. That’s not something that people say everyday. Its sort of like what Eminem did on “8 mile,” I took all my flaws on so no one would have something to say. People could relate to it. I deal with the same problems that everybody else does.