[With seemingly endless collaborations ranging from the late Big Pun, Nas to newcomers like Wale, rap veteran N.O.R.E. tells SOHH readers how he’s been able to keep his hip-hop Rolodex in tact.]
I just think I have my [hip-hop connects] from me being humble. Once upon a time I was one of the hottest dudes in the game and I’ve remained the same up to who I am right now.
It doesn’t matter if I’m the hottest or the coldest or if I’m the mediumest. As long as I maintain my humbleness and I can show people I can relate to them and they can relate to me, I am the everyday man.
If it wasn’t a Joe Budden and there wasn’t a Fat Joe my rap name would be Regular Joe. That’s exactly who I am. I just enjoy things. I enjoy the maintenance man. I enjoy having a conversation with the maintenance man the same way I enjoy having a conversation with President Obama. He follows me on Twitter.
Well, I haven’t had a conversation with President Obama but if I did have a conversation with Obama, it would be the same way I’d have a conversation with the maintenance man. That’s not a downgrade or an upgrade, it’s just that I treat everybody with the same amount of respect so that when it comes time for me to need a favor, I’m good.
Then it’s pretty easy for somebody to say, “No problem N.O.R.E., I’ll be there. No problem N.O.R.E., I’ll send the record. No problem N.O.R.E., I’ll come to the video.”
I treat everybody with respect whether they’re hot or not, medium, cold, ketchup, mustard, you know what I’m saying? I treat them them with respect.
One-half of the Queens hardcore rap duo Capone-N-Noreaga, Victor “Noreaga” Santiago met Kiam “Capone” Holley in 1992 while both were serving prison sentences. Signed to Penalty Records in 1996, the pair released a hard-hitting debut (The War Report) in June 1997, but after Holley was thrown back in jail on a parole violation, Santiago began recording a solo album. His solo debut, N.O.R.E. — an acronym for “Niggas on the Run Eating” — was an all-star affair, with contributions from Foxy Brown, Nas, Busta Rhymes, and Jay-Z, among others. Melvin Flynt — Da Hustler followed in 1999. His third album, God’s Favorite, was delayed several times, but finally appeared in mid-2002. In 2006, he moved to the Def Jam imprint Roc la Familia and released N.O.R.E. y la Familia…Ya Tú Sabe, a mostly reggaeton album featuring guest stars like Nina Sky, Big Mato, and Daddy Yankee.