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N.O.R.E. AKA P.A.P.I. "Student of the Game" Album Review

Review Date: April 16, 2013 at 6:40 AM ET

Release date: April 16, 2013 [Entertainment One Music]

Review by Compay for


N.O.R.E. Student of the Game review

Student of the Game may not be Noreaga's best work to date, but it's still an album that his listeners old and new should add to their collection.


Fans of his music since the days of War Report may favor his older music, but much of what's on the new album is trademark N.O.R.E.. Street life, sex, drugs, and gunplay.

As with all of his albums, N.O.R.E. is always listenable, even if he never puts much attempt in being too lyrical. The Queens rapper acknowledges this on Camouflage Unicorns, dropping "I'm the Lefrak king, I don't care what you say to me, say I don't make sense, cool that's okay with me."


Where he shines on his latest LP is noticeably "Built Pyramids", which also features the best beat on the album thanks to Large Professor. You can expect some vintage N.O.R.E. with "Faces of Death", which feels like a continuation of "Banned From T.V." Four minutes, no hook, just N.O.R.E. going hard on the track along with French Montana, Swizz Beatz, Raekwon and Busta Rhymes.

Student of the Game has a mix of guest features ranging from long established artists (Scarface, Pete Rock, Havoc) to a few that have only recently managed a buzz. What's noticeably the most unusual thing about the guest spots is that Lil Wayne only does the hook for "She Tried", he doesn't drop 16 bars on the track.

Most of the beats are fresh, a couple were misses. Beatmakers for the latest project include Cookin Soul, Illa, Inf, Pharrell, SPK, Pete Rock, Charlie Brown, Scram Jones, DJ Thoro, Hazardis Soundz, Large Professor, and Jahlil Beats. Standout beats on the album are "What I Had to Do" by SPK, "Built Pyramids", and "Camouflage Unicorns". The last of which has Nore, Havoc and Tragedy Khadafi dropping bars over a music box sample and gritty drums. If the sample seems familiar, it's a sped-up music box version of "Love Story" by Henry Mancini, a different version of which was used in the beat for Immortal Technique's "Dance with the Devil."

One of the few complaints I'd have about the new album is the number of skits and filler tracks. The album is 19 tracks deep, five of them are skits or fillers. I can understand showing props to Victor Cruz and Kevin Hart by putting them on, but I have no idea why Scott Disick (Kourtney Kardashian's baby daddy) is even on this album.

Overall, Student of the Game is worth copping. N.O.R.E. occasionally stretches it a bit thin to make words rhyme (or not at all in some cases), not every guest feature is hot, and a few beats aren't quite suited for him. But the new album is enjoyable, and an overall step up from Noreality. If you've been a fan for a minute, you'll probably like the album.




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