This year, it seems the trend in hip-hop is nostalgia. In the past few months, we’ve seen crews like Dipset and G-Unit come together to make music that recaptures their original formidable years. With all this talk of the rap game recreating the golden years of the late 1990s/early 2000s, the thought of Capone-N-Noreaga and Tragedy Khadafi hitting the studio again isn’t surprising. The Queens products are best known for their classic album The War Report, but each have gone on to create their own legacies with solo LPs that received attention from fans.
These days, C-N-N and Tragedy have been hanging out a lot. From a huge welcome home concert this past week to constant studio sessions all over the East Coast for The War Report 3, it’s safe to say that Queens rap is back and in full effect. Earlier this week, XXL had the 42-year-old veteran MC—who brought blueberries to share during our interview—swing through the XXL offices to speak on being back with his rap crew again. Trag gave us insight on the C-N-N reunion, why Penalty Entertainment is a good fit for them, and—most importantly—what we can expect from The War Report 3.—Eric Diep
XXL: How did it feel to be performing with C-N-N again at La Quinta in Queens?
Tragedy Khadafi: I felt like I waited 20 years for it. It felt real good. We’ve been speaking for years, but a lot I could respect is that…we all agreed before we worked together, we needed to become friends again and not just be on for the sake of trying to benefit off said brand or whatever. It needed to be genuine. It needed to be authentic and we all agreed on that. We was doing some joints here and there. I’m on the Student Of The Game album with me, N.O.R.E. and Havoc. “Camouflage Unicorns.” And ‘Pone did a few joints for me in between there. We all agreed before we came together and formed again, we had to be [tight]. For me, it was great ’cause that energy was there.
What happened with you guys? Was there some sort of fallout?
Life happened. For a young guy like you, you will come across things where life is gonna happen to you, too, fortunately and unfortunately. But you know, we learn from it. Life happened and money got involved. It got to a point where… You know when I say money, not in terms of dudes getting greedy, but any time there is money involved, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the individuals who actually fall out. You may have people who have a different kind of interest, they want to get involved. You know, planting seeds. And when you are young, you go through that. Sometimes, people can get in your head. I’ve done it. We all do it. It’s things of that nature.
So this reunion has been a long time coming.
Aside from the reunion being a long time coming, I think it’s good for music lovers of that era, as well as this era now. You know, ‘cause we raised a lot of dudes with that album. To see what raised you come together, it’s like the groups that raised us or raised me, and [to] see them kind of go separate ways and come back together is a beautiful thing. Imagine if the Roc got back together. The whole Roc. Like, Jay, Beans, Amil, everybody. Sauce Money. Jaz-O. Even Dame. That’s what I equate that to. The Roc getting back together. It’s a good feeling. It’s just good energy.
What about the status of your solo album, Magnum Opus?
I’m ready to drop that like right now. You know what I’m saying? I’m ready to drop that right now. I’m talking to my boy and we can wait ’til after this project drop and kind of piggyback that. I’m ready to drop. Nah mean? Little touch-ups here and there, but I’m ready to go. I’m loaded, G. I’m loaded!
Did you put a pause on your solo career to do the C-N-N thing?
I wouldn’t even say that. It’s all coinciding to me. One feeds off the other and the other feeds off the other. It goes back and forth. I’m not gonna stop being Khadafi, nah mean? Nor am I trying to hinder me and my brothers from doing what we came to do. I wouldn’t expect them to do it. It’s all on the same road to me.
What are your thoughts on C-N-N signing to Penalty Entertainment?
That was the original home. For the most part, Penalty did real good with The War Report. Penalty did real good with N.O.R.E. and helping kind of alley-oop that with Tommy Boy [Music]. I think Neil Levine, he knows what he’s doing. He knows how to put the right people in place. He’s respected in the machine. I’m interested to see how well it does in this new age, in this digital world. I think there’s gonna be some challenges in terms of how some of us see it. I watched N.O.R.E.’s promo game, he’s pretty much on top of that. But I think we need to pick up some real guns, you know what I’m saying? And work the project in that way. I’m cool with it.