N.O.R.E.'s first reggaetón album, N.O.R.E. y la Familia ... Ya Tu Sabe, could be his last.
"I was willing to take the chance," he said Monday on his way home to New York from Miami. "That pretty much sums it up."
N.O.R.E. had a multitude of prominent reggaetón figures on the LP (see "N.O.R.E. Reps His Latin Side With Reggaeton 'Oye Mi Canto' "), which dropped Tuesday, such as Daddy Yankee and Don Omar, as well as some hip-hop friends, including Diddy, Fat Joe and Pharrell. He's a little disappointed that Def Jam (which distributes Roc La Familia, the label that released his new LP) didn't support the project more, he said, and he's even thinking about leaving the label altogether.
"I think the biggest problem was I was signed through [former Def Jam executives] Kevin Liles and Lyor Cohen, and they went to Warner Music," N.O.R.E. said. "I don't want to seem like an artist who goes to labels and has problems. Sometimes things occur, you have control of them; sometimes you don't. I don't want to point the finger at anybody. The only problem is we don't feel we got as much promotion as we could have. But instead of crying, we're gonna give them all the tools. They get my availability. I'll do radio promo, international press. Hopefully we'll come out on top."
N.O.R.E. is keeping his options open. If he does leave Def Jam, his next album — which will be a traditional hip-hop record — might end up on the Neptunes' Star Trak imprint. Or N.O.R.E. might take a tip from his good friend Fat Joe and go independent (see " 'Fat Joe Is Signed To Fat Joe' — Newly Independent MC, Lil Wayne Shoot 'Rain' Video").
"I sat down with him for hours and we spoke about that," N.O.R.E. said of Joe. "It definitely might be an option. I sold more records on Penalty Records than I did with a lot of these majors. So it definitely may be an option for me.
"We have to go back to the drawing board," he added about his standing with Def Jam. "This is a label that releases artists if artists have a problem with them. We don't necessarily have a problem yet, and we're gonna leave it at that."
The always energetic MC is also gearing up for a DVD, mixtape and his next LP, which was originally titled One Fan a Day.
"I think we're gonna go with the name Global Warming, 'cause we're gonna warm up the mutha----in' globe," he said of the new title. "I went back to my hip-hop roots and dug deep and went in. It's like, 'OK, cool, you hear I'm back to that hip-hop, grime sh--.' You're gonna hear a [song] called 'I Was Here First' in like a week or two. You're gonna be like, 'Wow, he's going back to the roots of what he's doing.'
"I don't have no major names on there — of course I have Pharrell, but I didn't reach to nobody to do nothing," he added. "I'm depending on me."
One Fan a Day will still live on, however: N.O.R.E. is taking some of the extra material and making a mixtape. He wants to release a documentary in conjunction with the mixtape called "N.O.R.E.'s Story," which will follow his life from the late '90s until now.