N.O.R.E. - Grimy: God's Favourite      
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written by Apollo    
A lot can be said about Victor Santiago a.k.a. Noreaga or just simply N.O.R.E. You could look at the good Nore, the emcee who shined on 'The War Report' and his first album 'N.O.R.E.' Or if you're a "Hater like Star and Buck" you could look at the lackluster Nore, delivering lazy verses on 'Melvin Flynt' and 'The Reunion' (which was saved by Capone). But, in-between all the lines and Neptune tracks, you realize Nore just doesn't care. After leaving the weak label, Tommy Boy, C-N-N inked a deal with hip hop's premier label; Def Jam, and was set to release the highly anticipated, highly bootlegged, and high pushed back third solo effort; 'Grimey: God's Favorite.'

To call God's Favorite a so-so album is not fair. There are a lot of straight up coast to coast bangers on here. With the help on the Neptunes, Nore shines and sounds quite rejunivated. The smash single "Nothin" is burning up the airwaves as this is being written with it's bumpy Arabic flavored beat. Also the Violator Compilation gem, "Grimey" is thrown on the album, and it helps. The best Neptunes' assisted track is by far "Head Bussa" with a roughneck beat that is reminiscent of Cam' Ron's "Let Me Know," but better. Noreaga expresses his thoughts on the record industry and CEOs on "Mr. CEO," a nice cut with some of Nore's posse rhyming on track, and Nore exhibiting more comedic lines like "We belong on 'Uncut,' not 'Midnight Love.'" The dark and depressing "Black Clouds" is very ill, with some good street parables and thoughts of past loved ones, and the same is to be said for "Now I Pray" with some ill piano keys. For those who could not stand the album's first unofficial single "Nahmeanuheard," there is a very banging remix with a much better beat and includes guest appearances from Fat Joe, Cassidy, Cam' Ron, and Capone.

But, ironically, the album's best cut is not even by Noreaga, but the Capone bonus track "Life of A (Gangster)." This cold track features a chilling beat produced by Yogi, over which Capone showcases his skills excellently.

Even Puff admitted that the sun don't shine forever, and the same could be said for 'God's Favorite.' There are plenty of duds on this album, including maybe one of the worst songs of the year, "Big Ds" featuring Akinyele and some Neptunes' tracks don't work out (prime example being the weak "Consider This" featuring a dumb hook by Kelis). The strange cut "Banned From Another Club" should have stayed on DJ Envy's mixtape. The worst moment of the album comes in the form of "Live My Life" featuring Ja Rule. Of course you have Ja trying to sing and Irv Gotti's beat sounds like something 2Pac passed on for 'All Eyez on Me.' Even worse are the skits for this album, I can't believe Nore would rather have Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, Nas and even Nelly say "Holla back slime" on a answering machine then feature alongside him on a track.

Personally, I like this album, sure you can't listen to it straight through without getting a headache, but the songs that are nice are worth more than just a single listen. This is a summer album and summer albums always don't fully deliver ('Kiss Tha Game Goodbye'), but if you're looking to have something to bump in your ride for the summer and don't care about lyrical content that much, 'God's Favorite' is a good purchase.