If a mixtape falls in Lefrak and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Yesterday our dude NORE just released Norminacal: The Underbelly on his Thugged Out Militainment label. No fanfare, no press release, nada - which is a damn shame, because it's solid. HANG HANG!
The disc is pieced together from "recent vintage" mixtape joints (the Journey-sampling "Citi Boy" off the Heatmakerz CD, "El Pollo Loco" from Hang Hang Sangria, white-label favorite "Cuts From NORE") as well as tracks we can only presume were recorded for the still-unreleased One Fan A Day LP. But don't think this is a throwaway disc. The NORE-isms are in full effect ("They don't wanna see you push a hemi like Joe Dirt," "I'm half black/ half Spanish/ half retarded," etc.), and tracks like the Midi Mafia-produced "Get Off The Block" and "Please Tell Me Why" not only knock, but are welcome throwbacks to the hybrid sound of Noreaga's first solo album, where early Neptunes jams like "Superthug" scraped up against Timb-boot NYC shit. And the guestlist - Nature, Maze, motherfucking CARDAN?!? - also reps 1998 to the fullest.
Maybe we're just tripping on some pre-Thanksgiving nostalgia, but this is a feel-good listen. The only thing that would have made it better is if they included the white-label NORE/Peedi/Just Blaze collab "Niggarican." Or, y'know, if this was an ACTUAL NEW NOREAGA ALBUM. Nonetheless, the mix gets an official recommendation from Team FADER. Make it the number one priority on your Black Friday shopping trip. If they don't have it, buy a crisp copy of N.O.R.E. and play "Banned From TV" REALLY LOUD on the drive home.