This album was the epitome of what grimy NY hip hop was about. To be honest I was heavily into the West Coast and dirty South to really pay attention to what was really going on with NYC at the time. I’ve heard about this album being a classic for years so I copped this along with Murda Muzik(when it dropped) at the same time because I wanted to see what the hype was about.
One thing I heard was that Capone was locked up around this period so due to Capone’s Incarceration, It was up to Noreaga to carry the weight on this album, Nore may not the dopest emcee in the game but his crazy style and good delivery alone carry his elementary lyrics. Tragedy Khadafi did a superb job of penning his rhymes and he shines throughout this whole album. Noreaga holds his own nicely on the Underground Classic Bloody Money where he’s encouraging his New York niggas to get the paper whenever it be rapping or hustling. The sound of Blood Money is similar to the whole War Report album. The sound was gritty and dark. Halfway Thugs is another ill track where he’s calling out fake thugs in the Industry and Live Long is also heavily slept on where he shows love to all his peoples in QB and dedicates his first verse to his incarcerated Partner in Crime Capone.
While Nore can carry the album, It’s when he joins up with Capone and Tragady Kadafi(who appears on half the album) that the album starts packing serious heat, The pro East Coast/West Coast Diss track LA LA featuring Mobb Deep is basically a reply to Tha Dogg Pound’s New York New York, While none of the emcees disses LA in their rhymes, Its pretty known in the Video for the single that it’s a straight up diss to the land of the Palm Trees and didn’t keep it subliminal either.
The Guest Appearances are basically from unknowns(if you live in QB, you probably know most of these cats) or peoples from their crew. The only known name guest appearance comes from Havoc from Mobb Deep as he does the courses for his produced 2 lawbreaking Joints Parole Violators and Illegal Life Those tracks show Hav at his best behind the boards. He’s always been the guy to go too for that grimy NY sound at that time and he didn’t disappoint here. Although Im a bit disappointed that He and Prodigy didn’t drop a verse on neither of the songs, They still were dope nevertheless.
War Report has a few weak spots. I can do without Closer(which has a horrible R&B course), Black Gangstas, and the annoying interludes(with the exception of the Nore and Capone Phone conversations)which further hinder the album’s momentum. They could have been replaced by many of the songs that they did for the Clue tapes in 97. But it’s not too much of a big deal because you also had the pro NY anthem T.O.N.Y., Channel 10 and the fly joint for the ladies Capone Bone where Capone shows that he can flip it for the ladies.
War Report gives you a great hindsight of what life was like in the streets of Queensbridge. Everything from the album’s sound, cover, and tone was made from a prospective of wild NYC hood cat and still to this day stands out in the midst of time because of it.
Vic’s Rating: 9.0 outta 10