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by rocafan on 11/21/2004 10:39:00 PM

Nore Interview


Pain Is Love

Very rarely do you come across a rapper who openly admits he is a human being. Whilst most rappers are shooting videos in Mexico and talking about their jewels and cars, everyone knows material things mean shit when you have to battle the game called Life. NORE sits down with Ashlene to talk about his pain, as only he knows best.

A 16 year old sits quietly in his jail cell. He is bored, so he passes his time reading ‘gangsta’ books, the only stories which relate to his life at the moment. He attends bible study regularly, spits rhymes with his friend Capone, but other than that, books and more books keep him occupied. One book in particular, titled ‘The Autobiography of Manuel Noriega’, is a story that would be with him for the rest of his life. After completing the book, one of his cell mates snatches it from his hands….

“What are you reading?”
“Give me back my book!”
“Manuel Noriega? Who the hell was he?”
“He was born in…..”
“Oh damn! You know everything! Noriega!”

And so NORE was born.

How did Nore come about? Does the name still have meaning for you?

At first it did. I never named myself that, they gave me the name. I came across the autobiography and I just liked how slick Manuel was. He didn’t let Bush play on him, he played Bush. You know what I’m saying?

So that was my name in jail and then I came home and Capone was like ‘Noreiga’ and everyone in my hood called me papi, so it caught on. They all thought it was funny but they had no idea who Noriega was or what he represented. Then I chose to shorten my name to Nore because I wanted to live out my own legacy…

You’ve gone from Tommy Boy to Def Jam to Roc…why did you join the Roc?

I don’t think my fans care about what label I’m on. I think they care about me being me. And doing the same music I’ve been doing. The opportunities that Roc-A-Fella presented to me were good… prior to that I starred in one of their movies “State Property 2” and I wasn’t signed to the Roc, yet they were showing me how much love they had for me…. .. Like I was a part of the Roc, when I wasn’t. So it was an easy move for me. When Liles left I didn’t know who was going to take over at the time. And I didn’t want to stay at Def Jam when the people I knew were gone.

Critics would say your first solo album N.O.R.E was your best and unmatched. What do you say?

Yeah my favourite album. I was just so happy at that time. I didn’t care about anything at that time – it was just about the music. It was my first time going to Miami. We did the record there. I was a NYC kid…noone asked me for shows – it was always New York, New Jersey, Connecticut. So when I was out there I was like “Fuck it, Im doin my album in Miami”.

So are you happy now?

Yeah Im happy – Im focused…I feel like a new artist…

You kept saying you were going to do a follow up to the CNN album?

Yeah we have an album that’s done, Def Jam slept on it. They didn’t really like it. So then they decided we should work on our solo projects. And Capone decided to do his solo project on his own. He didn’t really want to get involved…. If he messes up, he messes up… if he does a great job, he does a great job. I respected that as a man, as an artist, as a family member.

So what have you been doing?

In 2 years, I’ve done 5 movies. I wanted to go hang out with my Spanish people- see what that was like. I went and hung out with the pimps for a little while, I went to Jamaica… I did a reggae song with Lexxus and Wayne Wonder…And then from there I went to Puerto Rico. I was inlove with the island life… and you know what, my other half is from the islands. You know I found out my own people were doing our type of reggae, our language, our style…

Is that why you chose a reggaeton track for your first single?

I didn’t choose that for my single! It's crazy, I did it for a mixtape. I did it for a mixtape just for the Puerto Rico Day parade. You know, we just threw it out and you know my other half being Latino… they needed that shit; they needed it more than I knew…

You mention your Latino side a lot lately – do you feel you missed that side of your life?

I sorta do…

You never visited that side previously in your music?

Yeah of course on my first record “La La” the first line is Spanish to let everyone know.
But it’s a part that I felt I should have recognized… I mean I had a record on the 1998 N.O.R.E album, my favorite album, called ‘Esta Loca’. So I’ve done records for Latino people but I’ve never put energy or money behind it, you know what I’m saying? I didn’t put money behind this record, Damon did!

Dame demanded this record, they took this record. And said we gonna play this shit everywhere, all the time. And that was a big deal for me…

So what’s on the new album? More reggaeton?

It’s gonna be a hip-hop album. There is another reggaeton track on there. It’s a hip-hop album. I’m a hip-hop artist first. I’m just lucky I tried something and it worked.

What are you doing different on this album?

I’m just really trying to experiment. I’m trying to make the follow up to N.O.R.E, I don’t think I’m there yet which is why I pushed the date back. I’m trying to make something like that because of the less stress I have…I got a rock’n’roll track on there that I’m not using but I done it…!

Are you more relaxed than you were at Def Jam?

I'm way more relaxed than I was on Def Jam. When Kevin Liles was there they basically let me do what the f*ck I wanted to do, so when they left, I left. And Dame came up to me and said I’m great. He said ‘you're doing great without me. I’m not going to change anything’ He was like ‘I’m going to help sell this for you’. And I love that. Nobody can change me. I have to do who I am, that’s why my fans love me. Stupid Sober. Fat. Drunk, whatever. I have never let them down as a fake person…

Any appearances?

I got Mariah Carey on here, I got Big Pun on here. I’m not one of those artists who sit back and not doin their job cause I got a whole bunch of guest appearances. I made my career off guest appearances.

Is Capone on there?

No unfortunately not.


Cause Capone wants to do his thing. You know what it is? I built this company for us; I built this company for the both of us. So now he wants to build something and cut me in, you know what I’m saying? As a man , sometimes you just wanna do something for yourself and then come back together.

What would you say to people, who didn’t feel you previous albums matched up? Why should they buy the new one?

All my albums went gold. All gold. Yeah this is it. This is basically part 2 for N.O.R.E.

Is it going to be street or commercial? I mean you got Mariah Carey on there!

I got her as street as she can be! It was originally titles “Nore-again Album Part 2” I said I’m going to save that title... but this is originally it. If you don’t like my music, if you don’t like me, if you don’t like what I represent, when you come around me, you’ll see how humble I am, how down-to-earth I am. You’ll always leave a family member. That’s very realistic…

What would you be doing if Roc didn’t sign you?

The same thing…nothing changes for me. You shouldn’t let nothing change you. You should better yourself, that’s it.

What’s been the one turning point in your life? Throughout your entire life, what has changed you?

When Big Pun and my father died. When I came into this game, I didn’t expect to make friends with anybody. When I met Pun he was like “You half Puerto Rican? You going to be my friend” and he was like “Yo I don’t care how gangsta you are, you going to be my friend” No one gave a fuck about me to even be my friend. And that was the first time anyone had kept it 100% real with me. When he died, a piece of me died.

Then my father died 2 months later, it was too much. I couldn’t take it. My father was my hero. I had seen my father whip 2 dudes’ asses as a young kid…that was amazing to me. So to lose both… that was the worst… there was a lot of pain…

Bad things happen for a reason…

Yeah, pain is love. When Ja Rule said that shit, he spoke the truth.

Any Shout Outs?

Thugged Out Family. We gonna come up….

Interview by Ashlene Nand.

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