New York-based rapper Victor Santiago, Jr. first started to receive notoriety after he donned the stage name Noriega (an ode to Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega) and formed the group Capone-N-Noriega with fellow rapper Capone, who he met while serving a prison term. The duo released its debut album, The War Report, in 1997 and the LP was a commercial and critical success--helping establish Capone-N-Noriega as a rap group with provocative rhyming skills and adept production technique. Shortly after the release of the album, Capone was sentence to yet another jail term, leaving Noriega to to make an album on his own. Changing his moniker to N.O.R.E., he released his epynomously titled solo debut in 1997 and with guest vocal contributions from Nas, Big Pun, Busta Rhymes as well as instrumental production by The Neptunes and Swizz Beatz, the LP rose the high watermark set by Capone-N-Noriega's album and helped establish N.O.R.E. as a respectable solo talent. Since then, he has gone on to release a number of other albums, including a cross-over reggaeton LP and a return to his old duo, Capone-N-Noriega.