Artist: Bone Thugs-N- Harmony
I knew the importance of First of the Month before I ever had to collect a pay-stub. Look Into My Eyes, If I Could Teach The World, and Days of our Lives taught me there was more to a thug than just violence and gangbanging. While Crossroads taught me the meaning of life and death. Even their more mainstream hits, such as Home, were decent, if not simply commercially radio worthy.Their technique is unique and their velocity is legendary. Although one might not understand a word of what they’re saying, but the flow is just so tight that it doesn’t matter. These Notorious Thugs have truly mastered control of the mic. As the only rap group to collaborate with Eazy-E, Tupac, Big Pun, and Notorious B.I.G prior to their respective deaths, while also colloborating outside of the Hip-hop genre with artist such as Phil Collins, Gerald Levert and former sumo wrestler Konishiki ( I don’t know about this one. .), Bone Thugs and Harmony have clearly made their mark on the game.
Returning from a four-year hiatus with their sixth album, Thug Stories , BTnH are once again displaying their character sound similar, yet with a distinctively different approach. They’re on a new record label and even their look has changed. Krayzie, Layzie and Wish now perform as trio, without lyrical input from Bizzy Bone, who officially left the group in 2005, or Flesh-n-Bone, who is serving a sentence in the Pleasant Valley State Prison, in Coalinga, CA.
While sticks and stones will not break Bones and Thugs, this review is going to harm them. Thug Stories doesn’t have one tale that measures up against previous Thug epics. Call Me, for example is supposed to be the standard grown and sexy joint for the ladies accompanied with the usual Bone Thugs themes: let’s get high and have sex. Yet the under-impressiveness of the sexiness of this joint is all too apparent with lyrics such as “when I honk the horn twice, I need some head to go down.” It feels like something was missing from this track, ah yes, Mariah, with whom Bone Thugs arguably have their best slow jams. This Life and the Intro are respectable tracks, both of which give BTnH the space to really exhibit their skills. Ironically, Fire is the hottest track this album has to offer (no pun intended). Its classic Bone Thugs and Harmony and the production perfectly matches the content of the track, without sounding cliché or overdone.
The title track, Thug Stories, does not have much to offer; it can only be appreciated for its references to old Bone Thugs hits. If they want to tell thug stories, they’ve got to come with some real shit, because 50 has already cornered this market in their absence. Other tracks like Don’t Stop, which sounds like the underscore for an 80’s pop-culture movie, So Sad, an ode to “slimy, grimy women,” and She Got Crazy are lackluster. Do It Again was a waste of a good sample, not innovative, although Krayzie’s character flow is slightly redeeming.
Thug Stories left me wondering if the game has really missed these Thugs. Twista has already bitten their style (which Layzie Bone spits about in the Intro), while The Game and the Southern rappers have cornered their subject matter. Although Bone Thugs used the same content formula, enough time wasn’t spent perfecting the finished product. Overall I’m very unimpressed by the production on this album; I really wish that they had put some more meat on these Bones.
Bone Thug and Harmony is already collaborating with Swizz Beats for their upcoming album, tentatively titled, “Strength And Loyalty,” featuring their newest single “Just Vibe.”