The War Report is the debut studio album by American hip hop duo Capone-N-Noreaga (C-N-N). The album features the singles “L.A., L.A.”, “T.O.N.Y.”, “Illegal Life” and “Closer”. Tragedy Khadafi appears on more than half of the album’s songs and served roles as both producer and executive producer. Despite its strong underground overtones, the album was a commercial success, listed on 1997’s Hip Hop/R&B Top Five, and certified Gold in the US.
Considered a classic by fans and critics , The War Report’s signature sound was distinctively underground and hardcore for its time, a trademark that garnered street credibility for the group. The unique chemistry of Noreaga’s unorthodox lyrical delivery, combined with Capone’s streetwise slang and Five Percenter references, established the duo as a household name within the hardcore hip hop community. Furthermore, the album created a large and devoted cult following for the group and launched the solo career of Noreaga, who subsequently went on to achieve significant mainstream success (most notably with the Neptunes-produced club anthem “Superthug”).
More importantly, The War Report is often credited with reviving East Coast and hardcore hip hop, signaling a return to realistic and gritty hardcore street aesthetics (defined by unapologetic tales of violence and drugs) and spelling an end to the surrealistic, ostentatious, and narratives of mafioso rap. Beginning in the end of 1996 and throughout 1997 (during the commercial height of Puff Daddy‘s pop-oriented Bad Boy Records during its Arista Records years), mafioso hip-hop gradually lost its critical acclaim within the underground scene from which it originated. As it crossed over into the mainstream, the concept was becoming increasingly generic (as seen with the hip hop supergroup the Firm, which rhymed almost exclusively about the mafioso life). Upon the release of The War Report, however, Capone and Noreaga brought new life into the gangsta rap subgenre, becoming an instant underground phenomenon that foreshadowed the rise of similarly styled emcees who went on to cross into the mainstream for the remainder of the mid 1990s (i.e., Royal Flush and Mic Geronimo), into the late 1990s (i.e., DMX, and Ja Rule) and into the early-mid 2000s (i.e., 50 Cent and Jadakiss).
The success of the album managed the group to make a sequel titled The War Report 2: Report the War. The album was originally scheduled to be released on June 15, 2010, almost exactly 13 years to the original, but it was pushed back a month later to July 13, 2010.