For those street heads whose chronic-sucking, crip-walking heyday is 15 years behind them, Queens-born Puerto Rican rapper Victor Santiago Jr. will forever be known as Noreaga.
Partnered up with fellow NYC product Kiam Akasi Halley (AKA Capone), Santiago co-owned the East Coast rap game for a solid minute in the late '90s. After meeting in prison, the pair started writing rhymes together and then hyphenated their names to officially form Capone-N-Noreaga, signing to Tommy Boy Records and releasing the classic 1996 call-to-arms War Report.
But then criminal charges, jail time, and label troubles killed the tag team's momentum. And by '98, Halley was back in the pen while Santiago had taken a new nom de guerre and lauched his solo career with the eponymous record, N.O.R.E.
Over the last decade, there have been some strange detours: Santiago dabbled with reggaeton for a few years, moved from NYC to Miami, and got busted by the cops at Fatburger on South Beach. But still, he scored a couple of chart crushers like the Neptunes-produced party track "Nothin." And now it seems he's deep into that old groove again, reuniting with Capone for last year's War Report 2.
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There's even a rap-world rumor he's gonna go back to calling himself Noreaga. Keep dreaming, street heads.
With ¡Mayday!, Quest, Rich Kid Soundsystem, Ketchy Shuby, and DJ Entice as part of the Rising monthly hip-hop series. Saturday, February 19. Transit Lounge, 729 SW First Ave., Miami. The show starts at 9 p.m. and admission is free. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-377-4628 or visit transitlounge.us.