NEW YORK — Thanks to Busta Rhymes, Capone-N-Noreaga had to face the music. The Queens duo, friends for more than 20 years, decided they would make a sequel to their classic debut, The War Report, late last year. Upon hearing of the re-up, Busta — who guest-starred on the original album — called the group and told them before they went into production on part two, they had to listen to part one.
"I'mma be honest: For years, I could never listen to The War Report," N.O.R.E. told MTV News. "It wasn't because I wasn't proud of it; it just brought up so much pain and so much hurt. To listen to it, I used to tear up. I used to think about Capone when he was gone [in jail]. I didn't just lose a partner, I lost a best friend. It's like not being able to use your right hand. When I listen to The War Report, it's bugged out. I'm talking about years of not being able to listen to The War Report. When Busta said that, it was almost, like, painful: 'Damn! I got to?' But when I did it, I knew exactly what he was talking about. I had to go back into that style. It's beyond the music; it's the feeling, the tension that was built around it. We luckily captured it [on the new album]."
Noreaga's other half, Capone, also has his horror stories from the time the first War Report was made.
"I really didn't listen to the War Report album for a long time too," Capone said. "The War Report was a long time for me. Besides what he was going through and what I was going through, it was a lot of family stuff — losing my mother, getting shot. ... During War Report, I had to go to jail. I was on the clock. I was on the studio-time clock and the judge clock. Every day, knowing I was getting closer and closer to going to jail, you feel like, 'Why am I doing this? I'm about to go to jail. Nothing is promised to me. Why am I recording this?'
"Certain songs I sit back and listen and be like, 'I gave 60 percent effort there. I gave 80 percent effort there. Damn, I could remember that day. I had to go to the hospital to get my bandage checked,' " Capone added. "I really didn't like listening to War Report until Busta ... gave us that talk. Like, 'You have to. You have to.' "
"I wanted Bus back as a fan," Noreaga added. "I love when Bus calls: 'Yo, you blacked on that Jay Electronica joint.' I wasn't getting those calls for a while."
The War Report 2 is slated for a June 15 release to coincide with the anniversary of the original. The first War Report came out June 17, 1997. Meanwhile, C-N-N just released a new single, "Thug Planet," with Iman Thug.