Without listening first or reading a review, it’s difficult to determine what type of product you’re getting with accomplished platinum and gold Queens-native recording artist, N.O.R.E. With four previous albums making billboard charts, he’s not a stranger of making club hits. We, however, are strangers of hearing club hits on Babygrande Records. With a solid guest appearance line-up of Jadakiss, Kurupt, Three Six Mafia, Capone, Bun B, Prodigy, Pharell Williams, David Banner, Tru Life and production by Swizz Beatz, you would imagine we would have a banger in our hands with Noreality. Imagine on.
We begin with the club standard Swizz Beatz produced, “Set it Off” where N.O.R.E. boasts about being from New York with his gun off safety, respected in the projects, with a filled out “O.G. card in the process”. “Thug Club music that you listen to late/That’s the style I helped create”. With an annoying “set it off” vocal sample riding this club anthem, the track is complimented with J-Russ making Burger King references. “That Club Shit” follows with a Neptunish, strip club feel. Three Six Mafia handle the chorus only as N.O.R.E. takes two verses to mention the guns and Patron he already talked about in the first song.
The single, “Throw Em Under the Bus” begins with diarrhea grunts. As our evening at the nightclub drags on, Jadakiss paints a Pulp Fiction scene while Kurupt spits only a slightly better verse than he did on the “Inner G” single on Killa Priest’s new album, The Offering. “Cocaine Cowboys” is a little cliché, but the Manuel Noriega documentary audio samples throughout the 80′s sounding Scarface beat are fantastic. “Green Light” is another club song with an Eminem production influence, but the sole concept is to remind us that “green light means go”. Capone tells us how fly he is these days and what he likes to drink, as Final Chapter raises his drink a little higher. “I don’t care what you say, John Legend looks gay,” proclaims NORE.
Deacon teams up with N.O.R.E. on “Pop a Pill”, a strip club joint where they discuss having sex with women on ecstasy. “Sour Diesel” is a weed anthem where Styles P talks about watching Animal Planet. The hook is as boring and unoriginal as the song concept. N.O.R.E. then reminds us he’s “joking but halfway serious” about “Paternity Test”, a song where he asks Shorty to give him a paternity test. It must be hard for him to trust promiscuous women these days with his modest and humble lifestyle. The beat is tired and the chorus is just silly.
“Ima Get You” is a climatic anthem that has a lot of energy featuring GLC and Kanye West allegedly. GLC and Kanye sing the chorus only, both telling us they’re, “everything you wish you was” and jacking the G-Unit jingle when they say “get you”.
“Eat Pussy” is the most socially alarming song from Victor Santiago, as along with Tru Life and Peedi Peedi, they help embarass women worldwide. In “The Rap Game” N.O.R.E. gives a glimpse into his past record deals and experiences. “I was glamorous/ flew back from Los Angeles/ had to do the radio with Clue, met Fabolous/back then Trackmasters had an artist named 50 Cent/ did a song with him and they ain’t give me 50 Cent”. You don’t say?
The Alchemist produced, “Drink Champ” touches down on his confidence in drinking anyone under the table, explaining his strike-out game to drinking with the Pope. The final joint, “Shoes” is another stripper theme song that would make Sara Jessica Parker melt. A high paced club banger with KC on the hook, along with the rest of the album themes may help N.O.R.E. soar past label mates in units sold, but this release may further alienate Babygrande from it’s core audience, in terms or preserving the founding Rawkus-influenced artistic integrity it originally launched with. You decide. – Aaron James White
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