Before rapper N.O.R.E. was doing Reggaeton, putting on the Neptunes, or yelling “what what” he was the humble half of Queensbridge duo Capone-N-Noreaga. C.N.N. burst on the New York hip-hop scene in 1997 with their classic debut “The War Report” featuring hit singles like “T.O.N.Y.” and “Closer“. Prior to the album, they gained notoriety for appearing on the west coast dis track “L.A., L.A.” featuring Mobb Deep and Tragedy Khadafi, plus a beat by legend Marley Marl.
The original single for “L.A., L.A.” was released on 25 to Life Records with distribution help from famous DJ Stretch Armstrong – an early supporter of the group. To help promote C.N.N., Stretch featured a freestyle by a then 20 year old (1996) Noreaga on his joint mix tape with DJ EV entitled Back to Back Volume 1. I never heard it anywhere else, so I assume it’s moderately rare. Check it out.