On N.O.R.E.’s third solo album, God’s Favorite powered by the extremely pushy and successfully scorching Neptunes-produced “Nothin’“, those diving in for a taste aren’t going to be too thrilled. For Victor ‘NORE’ Santiago, “Nothin’” over accomplishes, so just like other street credo rappers such as Cam’ron with his “Oh Boy,” Fat Joe with his “What’s Luv” or even Mobb Deep with their “Hey Luv (Anythng),” there’s much anticipation from the masses for their LPs to follow. However, God’s Favorite isn’t by any means brilliant, definitely not anywhere close to classic, or similar to the project-life feel of 1997’s The War Report.

Now with a new label, NORE is sadly a victim of the corporate tactics. Produced by The Neptunes, a production team mostly responsible for launching pop and R&B smashes by the likes of Nelly, Usher, Britney Spears and Nsync, too much is trusted to them. From “Head Bussa” to “Consider This” featuring Kelis , then to “Grimey,” a horrible sounding half-finished track which NORE dares to save with his tired flow, these beats don’t fit the rapper. Guests try to help NORE through the torturous pitfalls of other weak songs like “Nahmeanuheard” featuring DWNLZY, “Live My Life” featuring Ja Rule and “Wanna be like Him” featuring Mashonda. But to no avail. Even on the noisy hyped-up remix of “Nahmeanuheard” by Swizz Beatz (this time featuring Capone, Fat Joe, Cam’ron and Cassidy) the poison is too lethal to save this album, definitely one of this year’s surprise failures.

NORE’s gangster and superthug image dwindles on record as he concentrates too much on his jubilation with his newfound Def Jam label, and the plush benefits their ‘baby-sitting’ sacrifices his craft for. Only a few tracks like “Banned from another Club” and “Now I Pray” featuring Musaliny invoke the realism of his terrorist mind-set from what we’ve known him and his Terror Squad members for. Outside of this morsel, the majority of the album exposes his battalion and this release is best described by the title of his lead single nothin’.