Neither prison walls nor a criminal trial can stop rappers Capone and Noreaga from making music.
Even as Noreaga prepares to stand trial for assault and Capone awaits his release from jail, the artists, who met behind bars, are planning and recording new work. Noreaga, 20, is set to drop his second album, Melvin Flynt -- Tha Hustler, on May 25. Meanwhile a Capone-N-Noreaga duo disc -- titled The Reunion -- is due next November, Penalty Records spokesperson Zenobia Simmons said.
"Melvin Flynt is a fictional character," Simmons said. The persona is a melding of Melvin Udall -- Jack Nicholson's grouchy character in the film "As Good As It Gets" -- and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt. "He's supposed to be like this crazy person that's into porn and is very rude and a total iconoclast," she said.
Ten songs for the Noreaga album have already been recorded, but not yet mastered, with others still on the way, Simmons added. "He's going to try to get Capone on some of those," she said.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Noreaga (born Victor Santiago) will see the start of a trial in Harrisburg, Pa., on charges that he beat a 16-year-old fan after a concert last August. Last December, the rapper pleaded innocent to the assault.
The following Friday (Feb. 12), marks the release of Capone (born Kiam Holley) from New York's Collins Correctional Facility following a two-and-a-half-year stay for a parole violation, according to Simmons.
Capone and Noreaga -- also known as CNN -- met in 1992 in a prison kitchen, while each was serving time for attempted murder in unrelated cases. Their well-received 1997 debut, The War Report, featured such songs as "Blood Money" (RealAudio excerpt).
Shortly after its release, Capone was sent back to prison on a parole violation for possessing firearms that he intended to sell, Simmons said. An attorney for Capone could not be reached for comment.
Jeremy Kalina, a representative for Noreaga's attorney, Robert Kalina, said the the rapper's assault trial is expected to be adjourned Monday. A new trial date has not been set.
Noreaga's assault charges stem from an Aug. 28 show at the Zembo Mosque in Harrisburg, at which he reportedly showed up four hours late, then left the stage after performing one song.
According to Harrisburg police detective William Jackson, who was working off-duty as a security guard at the event, Noreaga and his entourage were met by an angry crowd when they tried to drive away from the venue. The rapper and a bodyguard are alleged to have left their sport utility vehicle and attacked 16-year-old Colin Burns. The teenager was treated at a nearby hospital.
Noreaga released his first solo album, N.O.R.E. (RealAudio excerpt of title track), last July. Capone served as executive producer for that disc from prison.
"[Noreaga] played a lot of music for him over the phone," Simmons explained. "[Capone] listened to the beats and told him what he thought."