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Famous Like Me > Actor > N > Noreaga

Profile of Noreaga on Famous Like Me

Name: Noreaga  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 6th September 1976
Place of Birth: Bronx, New York, USA
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

N.O.R.E. (formerly known as Noreaga, born Victor Santiago) is an American rapper and member of the hip hop group C-N-N (formerly known as "Capone-N-Noreaga"). N.O.R.E. stands for "N***az On (the) Run Eatin'". Half African American and half Puerto Rican, N.O.R.E. is currently signed to Def Jam Records via Roc-A-Fella Records, and has released reggaeton records in addition to his traditional hip hop fare. Featured in the hit song 'Oye mi Canto' with Nina Sky.Originally one-half of the underground hip-hop duo Capone-N-Noreaga (CNN), Nore launched his first solo disc, N.O.R.E. (N***as on the Run Eatin’) in the summer of 1998. This solo effort was arguably the first time a thugged-out rapper made an album that pleased both the hard-core gate keeping hip-hop fans and the mainstream audience. Today hip-hop is the mainstream, so limited friction exists between the two worlds. But Nore’s existence has always been about a duality. Born Victor Santiago in Queens, New York to a Puerto Rican father and an African-American mother, Nore eventually released two more critically acclaimed albums, Melvyn Flynt the Hustla, and Grimey … God’s Favorite. On December 21 he dropped his fourth, and unquestionably thunderous, album One Fan a Day.

Like many of his former albums, on One Fan a Day he worked with superstars like Mariah Carey, Kanye West, deceased mentor Big Pun, and über producers The Neptunes and Timbaland. But what’s different this time is that unlike his former infectiously catchy singles such as “Superthug,” “Oh No!” and “Grimey,” he has decided to make his first single off the album a reggeaton one — complete with raps and hooks in Spanish. The single, “Oye Mi Canto,” with its sensible reggeaton flavor and hip-hop bravado is tightened with the assistance of the up-and-coming GemStar, one of reggeaton’s biggest stars Big Mato, Daddy Yankee, and Latina siren du jour Nina Sky. Working with the ladies, he says, “was real fun and real easy. They rode with me.” It only makes sense that he would help with bringing reggeaton to the masses. The success of a reggeaton record relies heavily on the necessary timely delivery of the rap, the gritty posturings of the hip-hop culture, and the innate connection to Afro-Caribbean instrumentation (largely those from Puerto Rico) — all of which Nore unquestionably embodies. His attempt to bring reggeaton to his rap fold may raise eyebrows for some, particularly Latinos, because, well, Nore, although being half Puerto Rican, never truly repped musically for Latinos.

“My father was very proud of his heritage and he would not let me miss a Puerto Rican Day parade for nothing. I wanted to do something to honor my father’s memory. I did that song specifically for the [New York] Puerto Rican Day parade of this year,” he confesses. “I felt it was my time, mi tiempo, because I felt I evenly represented my black side by doing hip-hop. But I never made a record for my Latino people. I am so proud because these reggeaton artists have been doing this for years,” he concludes. Well over 30 years to be exact.

Reggeaton has its origins in Panama where in the mid-’70s Jamaican immigrants imported reggae. Ultimately reggaeton made its way to Puerto Rico, which it calls home today. With its uniquely driven drum-machine tracks that derive from the Puerto Rican genre bomba y plena, reggeaton relies heavily on conga drums and rap-styled vocals to distinguish itself from reggae. Of course, reggeaton is sung primarily in Spanish. For whatever reason, the so-called Latin explosion ushered in by Ricky Martin’s Grammy moment in the late 1990s did not benefit the urban and hip-hop market for Latino hit-makers that were in the game at the time. Today, with the unquestionable embassadorship of rapper Fat Joe and the Terror Squad, and on the heels of the mainstream success of Nina Sky, Daddy Yankee, Tego Calderon, Pit Bull and Ivy Queen, and of course Nore, Latinos artists are positioning themselves to dominate record sales and influence American music as we know it in the next couple of years. Major music houses are already taking notice. Reportedly, Sony Music has inked lucrative deals with such reggeaton artists as Buddha’s Family, Mickey Perfecto, and Noztra. Universal Music is already a major distributor of the genre in and outside Puerto Rico.

Altough reggeaton has been huge in Puerto Rico and South America for years, as Nore himself stated, the massive success of dancehall artists Shaggy and Sean Paul in the U.S. have to be credited for opening up the doors for the anticipated mainstream success of its brother reggeaton. But don’t sleep. If it were not for Nore’s endoresement, if you will, reggeaton would probably not be receiving so much love from pop radio stations across the country. He adds that before him there has never been “nothing reggeaton related on BET or MTV.” True. The video is on heavy rotation on both channels. Nore feels he needs to be saluted for “even touching reggeaton.” At the moment, hip-hop is swollen with new and hungry artists waiting in the wings to steal the shine from veteran rappers and dethrone them. This saturation prevents many rappers from taking risks, particularly choosing which will be the first single of the album. It must be uderstood that the success of the first single released unquestionably dictates the album’s sales and to a lesser extent an artist’s career. “I took a big risk by putting reggeaton on my back. Motherfuckers could have told me, ‘Fuck you, who the fuck are you?’ But I took the risk on my own and it has taken a life of its own,” he humbly states. If it would’ve not worked he “would’ve received a whole lot of shit.” This is a huge understatement. Although Nore is new to promoting reggeaton via one cut on his new album, he must be commended for his effort. Why such a huge undertaking? “I did it for my people,” he says while pulling from his omnipresent blunt. Gracias hermano. This article is not biased.

Real easy and real fun.

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