CNN Classics: Capone-N-Noreaga On Making Their Key Records

"Invincible" (2000)

Noreaga: “We was starving to work with Premier. We was so starving to work with him that I think we paid him all his money up front. He was like, 'I want this amount.' We were like, 'Here!' And this is the first time we paid somebody up front. And it’s the first time we ever waited. Premier had us waiting for a good four to six months. To this day, Premier doesn’t give out beat CDs. If he makes a beat, then he makes it deliberately for you. It’s not like if you don’t want it, Nas or Mobb Deep could get it. Nah, if you don’t like it then it gets erased.

“The crazy thing was I remember Premier telling us that his little brother was like the biggest CNN fan, so I guess we had an advantage because at this time Premier was as hot as fish grease. He was the hottest thing on the market so he had a waiting list like the welfare line. We didn’t even get on the phone with him. He just got the money. I remember right before he actually gave us the beat we was going to ask for our money back. We were like, 'This is ridiculous, you got us waiting for too long.' 

“But then he told us to come to the studio. He was in the studio with us and he played us three or four bangers and was like, 'Oh, we like it.' And he was like, 'Nah you don’t like it.' And he erased the shit right in our face! I mean three of four times. If he was playing the beat and we didn’t go 'Whooo!' and were just like 'Yeah, this is good.' I swear to you, he erased the shit right in front of our face if he didn’t get the reaction he wanted. When he played the beat he wanted us to jump up in the air and be like, 'Whoo!' 

“He had the skeleton for 'Invincible' but he didn’t have it all and he had a few other choices. And obviously when he played 'Invincible,' we was like, 'This is it!' We was at D&D studios, he would step out for a minute. We stepped out. And he put the touches on there and we came back and it was done. We were like, ’Finally!’ We wrote our verses right then and there on the spot. 

“The first line that comes, ’Yo Melvin Flynt drop, my whole collasso stop/I can't believe I fucked up and made a half-ass album/My excuse is, my pops just died, and I ain't wanna make music/My pops just died.’ Well, it was so much on my mind and I wanted to be honest with the fans. It wasn’t even about dissing my last project, or dissing myself, it was just about being honest. That’s just how I felt and it was so much on my mind, it wrote itself. Premier played the beat, I sat there and wrote the rhymes, and I was like, "Let me get this shit off my chest." What better way to get it off my chest then a Premier beat? I was lucky enough for the world to feel that. 

“But you see Eminem took my shit, right? Eminem just said, 'Let’s be honest, that Relapse album was ehhh.' I’m like, "Yo, I respect you, Eminem, but you know where you got that from." [Laughs.] There’s never been another rapper on planet Earth that dissed himself. I was the first person to do it. It was just something that was on my mind the same way it was probably on Em’s mind. You throw out a product that you’re not proud of. And you know at the end of the day, you have a job to promote it, you have a job to try and sell it. But deep down inside you wasn’t 100% feeling it. 

“At the same time, people come up to me like, ’Melvin Flynt is your best album, nigga!’ And I don’t argue with them. But it wasn’t about the material for me, it was about my heart not being in it. To this day, when I walk down the street, people will just drive up and be like, ’Yo! Melvin Flynt is your best album!' And then get in their car and roll off. Like there are people who take it personal with me! But I was just being honest, something I thought I owed the fans. Something I thought I owed myself.”

Capone: “Premier was basically our homeboy. That was years in the making. Premier wanted to be on The War Report. But when we was recording The War Report, we couldn’t afford him. When it was time to do it and things was right, it was time to do it. But getting Primo was hard because he had a million projects he was working on at that time. But he came to the table. Primo is never going to send you a bunch of beats, he’s going to send you one beat and you're going to run with it. And when we got that one beat it was like, 'Yes!' 

“We was recording in D&D a lot so we had to see Primo. I remember it being grimy because it was D&D. At D&D you don’t sit on certain chairs, all the walls [got] graffiti, it’s roaches everywhere. It’s foul! It’s the foulest studio you can record in but it has the best sound. 

“I like to write about a lot of shit I see. [That’s why you hear,] 'For my niggas in the bridge, with the $50 dollar Panasonics on the black gates.' Back then tapes was the shit, there wasn’t no CD players. They had these little black Panasonics that was like $50 dollars. QB and most hoods in NYC had these little black gates. And these little black gates, the radio handle fits perfectly over three of the top parts of the black gate. So your radio sits there all day, you don’t even got to put it on the floor, you can just chill on the bench and have your radio on the gate and just ride it out all day. That’s where I came up with the Panasonics on the black gates. If you go to any hood right now you’ll find somebody with a radio on the gate. It might not be the same old black Panasonic, because they got mp3s and CDs and all types of shit now. But back then, that $50 dollar Panasonic was the shit. And if you was a real hood nigga, you already know that that radio was so easy to take apart and put together, so a lot of people was hiding they work in there. And I don’t mean they 9-5.”

Tags: capone, cnn, music, nore
blog comments powered by Disqus