Literary Analysis: Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man: The Search for Identity and Individuality


MARCH 27, 2007

A novel represents a work of fiction – a story that is creatively written from an author’s mind and point of views. That does not exclude fiction from the realm of reality, however.  Fiction and real life interrelate in every sense; in fact, fiction always has elements of reality.  Real-world experiences, people, history, and life in general are influential to a novelist and serve as a catalyst, assisting him or her to formulate ideas and craft a novel.  Therefore, real life and works of fiction aren’t too far apart; they are connected – directly, indirectly, or metaphorically.  Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952) proves that to be true, for the historical insinuations are evident.

Scholars have taken notice of Invisible Man ever since its release in 1952, and continue to scrutinize the novel for good reasons: it is fascinating; it brings forth many interpretations and debates (negative and positive); it questions one’s role in society; it addresses racism, etc.  Overall, the text is profoundly powerful in all aspects.  As Per Winther writes in “Imagery of Imprisonment in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man,” “Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man is an immensely rich novel, which explains why, since its publication in 1952, so many readers have been, and still are, moved by Ellison’s complex narrative of twenty turbulent years in the life of his young, nameless, black protagonist” (115).  The release of Invisible Man has rendered a plethora of scholarly analyses from the likes of Marc Singer, William Walling, Per Winther, James B. Lane, Eric Sundquist, and many more – touching on various issues.  However, few scholars (probably none) have found the time to address the invisibility of Ellison’s invisible protagonist and the silent generation in the 50s collectively.  Thus, I will attempt to tackle many issues of the narrator’s invisibility and struggles in conjunction with the Beats’ invisibility/“the Silent Generation” in the 1950s, and the artists of that time.  This is where fiction and real-life (historical allusions) share similarities.  The nameless protagonist in Invisible Man and artists in the 50s are in search for two things: true identity and individuality.

From beginning to end, the racism motif presents itself throughout Invisible Man, and the prologue swiftly demonstrates that:

“I AM AN invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids – and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me” (3).

These opening words by the narrator do not provide his race, but the latter part of his statement provides a clear indication of who he is – a black man – from the way he states his invisibility and the historical context of his account.  At the time this novel was released, segregation was prominent and blacks protested for their equality, stating similar words like the narrator’s.  Because society selectively chooses to ignore his presence because of his phenotypical makeup as a black man, he is literally (and physically) rendered invisible.

The racism motif reaches its peak, physically, when the narrator gives an account of an incident in which he unintentionally bumps into a large blond man in the dark, causing the blond man to share his disgust with a racial epithet.  Feeling disrespected, the narrator goes on the attack and batters him onto the ground, pulling out a knife and preparing to take the man’s life.  But he thinks otherwise and comes to his senses: the blond man insulted him because he could not really see him due to his invisibility.  The narrator’s confrontation with this blond man is important, because he learns the following day that a newspaper labels the incident as a mugging.  This labeling by the newspaper (white society) demonstrates the narrator’s metaphorical slavery, invisibility, and subjugation – for he is being dominated by the views of others.  First, the narrator is dehumanized by the man’s racial epithet, which prompts him to attack and make the verbal abuser recognize his individuality; and second, the narrator is dehumanized by the newspaper that labels him a mugger.  The roles are reversed: the white man is not the assailant but the victim, while the narrator is viewed by the public as a criminal. Moreover, the actual incident with the blond man is ignored altogether, along with the narrator’s motives, which become invisible to the public.  Therefore, other people in society classify Ellison’s invisible man’s identity according to their own prejudices.

Conversely, Ellison’s nameless protagonist mirrors the feeling many critics had about the 50s (and those who lived it) in New York, labeling the decade “the Silent Generation,” which can be termed metaphorically as the “unnoticed generation” – similar to being invisible.  Critics have had a field day criticizing the fifties for what it produced, like the major Beat writers – Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg – known as the Beat Generation.  Some critics have named the bohemians of that decade as the strangest souls who wasted and abused their bodies with heavy doses of drugs and alcohol; some critics even said that they had dangerous intentions to change America.  In fact, Stephen Prothero’s article, “On The Holy Road: The Beat Movement As Spiritual Protest,” quotes Norman Podhoretz’s brutally harsh critiques in 1958 Partisan Review: “The Bohemianism of the 1950s is hostile to civilization; it worships primitivism, instinct, energy, ‘blood’; Podhoretz (the most outspoken critic of the Beats) continued: “This is a revolt of the spiritually underprivileged and the crippled of souls.” Podhoretz went so far as to characterize them as Nazis and Hell’s Angels.  The Beats ignored his rhetoric because in their minds, it was nonsense.  The Beats’ intentions – and those who lived in New York in the fifties – were to separate themselves and to be different from America’s norm, argued the Beats and others.  Therefore, when outsiders do not understand what people do or how people choose to live their lives, they are looked upon negatively, and that’s how many critics felt about those in the fifties, especially the Beats.

Were Podhoretz’s critiques and reviews from other columnists necessary?  Didn’t Podhoretz understand that people who lived in New York or journeyed there wanted to find something different and be free, especially the bohemians?  Did he not take notice that bohemians were people who lived an unconventional lifestyle – somebody, often a writer or an artist, who did not live according to the conventions of society?  They wanted to be different, rather than being conformists. Therefore, a couple of questions must be asked: Were the criticisms of these artists really warranted because they lived differently from how others lived?  More important, were the fifties really that dull and silent?

Although Podhoretz has bashed “the Silent Generation” as a whole, those who lived in New York at the time strongly believe that their decade has been given a bad name – and novelist Dan Wakefield is one of those who shares similar views. Because the fifties has been mislabeled and tagged as being dull, Wakefield felt obligated to address the stigma. Fittingly, Wakefield’s book New York In The 50s (1992) gives a vivid light of the New York that he knew and experienced, tackling the so-called silent:

“If my generation was ‘silent,’ it was not in failure to speak out with our work, but in the sense of adopting a style that was not given to splash and spotlights” (6).

This statement by Wakefield renders truth, because the body of written works produced in the 50s (including future works that were released by the artists of that era) were abundant, from The Catcher in the Rye to On The Road, from Howl to Notes of a Native Son, and many more. So “silent” was not an accurate term at all; people just made the choice to ignore the generation altogether, because the wild and free lifestyle they desired to live were bizarre to them. As a result, their works were invisible to the public and not taken seriously. Moreover, the strangeness of the Beats caused the banning of Burroughs’s Naked Lunch, which was later reinstated; and also brought a court hearing to ban Ginsberg’s Howl. Naked Lunch was described by a reviewer as “a prolonged scream of hatred and disgust, an effort to keep the reader’s nose down in the mud for 250 pages” (quoted by Prothero, 206). Similarly, Howl was called a disgrace and protested hatred for society.

In regard to Podhoretz’s ruthless critiques, it appeared that his attitude took not a constructive criticism approach but a personal hatred stance against the Beats and their disparity with society. His 1958 article “The Know-Nothing Bohemians” verified that as he tried to debunk the Beats by scrutinizing the real-world consequences of their point of views about life, and so forth. One of the Beats could have reversed his article’s title into “He knows Nothing Bohemian,” for he does not live it. Hence, Podhoretz’s rhetoric about the Beats stems from his ignorance in not knowing what the Beats were, and his unwillingness to accept a different style of living he was not accustomed to. Therefore, he dehumanizes their character by talking down to them and labeling them whatever he sees fit: pessimists, naysayers, nihilists, troublemakers, and dangerous. Like Ellison’s nameless character, Podhoretz removes the people-friendly features of the Beats’ character, taking away their good qualities (or features) which make it difficult for others to see them as normal and acceptable humans. In all, he dehumanizes their stature and importance, making them invisible by choice.

This dehumanization theme appears in the opening development of Invisible Man, which lingers throughout. Ellison shows that with his nameless protagonist and other blacks in a high school graduation ceremony, where he is to deliver the class speech. But before he gives the speech, the narrator (and other black boys) is ordered to partake in a boxing match, orchestrated by the white men. With firm orders by the white men, the narrator and his classmates put on boxing gloves and enter the ring – where a stark naked blonde parade the ring. It becomes stranger to the boys as they are blindfolded by the white men with threatening orders to batter and kill each other: “ ‘See that boy over there?’ ” one of the men said. “ ‘I want you to run across at the bell and give it to him right in the belly. If you don’t get him, I’m going to get you. I don’t like his looks’ ” (17). The bell sounds and melee ensues – blacks wildly punching blindly, hitting anyone in proximity – to the enjoyment of the white men.

Thereafter, the white men continue their ridicule of the narrator and the boys by trickery, with shudders via electricity.  Exhausted from the battle, the boys’ blindfolds are removed, while the white men place them on a wall, awaiting their bogus monetary prize on a rug.  Blind with ignorance, the boys (on their knees as commanded) rush to get the money and to their shock, they are literally shocked from an electric current that runs under the rug, as the narrator shares his pain: “A hot, violent force tore through my body, shaking me like a wet rat” (22).  While the boys’ laughter stems from being shocked, the white men’s laughter stems from the amusement of watching electrified blacks make a fool of themselves: “… he (one of the boys) ran from the floor amid booming laughter” (22).

Finally, after the embarrassment of the boys, the nameless character prepares to give his speech. The master of ceremony gives him a patronizing introduction, which prompts applause and laughter: “ ‘I’m told that he is the smartest boy we’ve got out there in Greenwood. I’m told that he knows more big words than a pocket-sized dictionary’ ” (23). The narrator takes the podium; he begins delivering his speech and realizes that the audience is ignoring him, while the laughing persists. He becomes nervous, mouth filled with blood, and it shows as he makes a mistake, saying “social equality” rather than “social responsibility.” After rendering his speech (and after fulfilling their comedic bone), one of the white men awards him with a briefcase and tells him to cherish it, claiming it will determine his peoples’ fate.

These episodes in Chapter One (i.e., battle royal, electric rug, and speech) do not only represent the evening’s entertainment for the white men, but it also demonstrates humiliation, animalization, passivity, and dehumanization.  The grandfather’s narrator did warn his son (narrator’s father) before he died that life is a war, and to keep up the fight.  War against whom?  A white society that aggressively fosters hatred and bigotry via systematic tactics and exclusion to keep Black society subjugated.  The grandfather orders and gives his family concrete wisdom: “I want you to overcome ’em with yeses, undermine ’em with grins, agree ’em to death and destruction …” (13).  In other words, the grandfather advises his family to uphold a dual identity: externally, they should embody the stereotypical good slaves’ motifs, which will satisfy the master; however, internally, they should carry the bitter hatred and resentment of such false identity against the master.  Following this model allows the grandfather’s descendants to play a false role, only to make it appear as if they are satisfying the whites’ ego.

However, the young narrator does not know how to play the dual identity, for he does not know his true identity and individuality, causing the white men to take advantage of his passivity during the entire day’s events.  Metaphorically, the boys’ blindfolding in the ring supports their real-life blindness; they are unable to see through the true intentions of the white men as they force the boys to conform to the racial stereotype of the black man as a violent and savage creature.  As the men watch the boys in the boxing battle royal, they look at them not as equals or humans, but as inferior beings – as wild animals.  Although the grandfather provides knowledge to his family, it is fruitless to the narrator, because it doesn’t fully register in his head. Believing that full compliance will gain him admiration and accolade, he obliges the white men’s commands.  To some extent, his beliefs prove true, for he is awarded the briefcase for his submission, but he is also tricked at the same time.  The nameless character has not yet learned to see behind the masks, behind the tricks, and underneath the various covers constructed by white society. He only learns after the fact that he has been made a fool of when he realizes the phony coins, subsequent to suffering the electric shock from the mysterious rug – at the expense of his humiliation and dehumanization. This lack of awareness – blindness – stems from lack of not knowing his identity and individuality.

Ellison’s invisible man experiences being tricked again, but this time it takes on a different meaning.  He is not deceived by the white men; rather, he is fooled by a black man, Dr. Bledsoe – the college president.  While transporting a white trustee, Norton, around campus and showing him the old slave quarters and taking him to Golden Day, Bledsoe becomes furious when he learns of the narrator’s journeys: “The quarters! Boy, are you a fool? Didn’t you know better than to take a trustee out there?” (79).  The narrator claims that he was told to go there by Norton, but Bledsoe does not care: “Damn what he wants. We take these white folks where we want them to go, we show them what we want them to see” (79).  Feeling the college is at risk, along with his power, Bledsoe takes swift action and expels the narrator from the school, to his surprise. Ironically, to seem as a nice and reasonable man, Bledsoe gives him various letters and tells him they will help him find a job in New York, but it’s only a ploy, which the narrator fails to recognize.

Similar to the sentiment that the narrator’s grandfather tries to pass down to his descendants, Bledsoe too utilizes dual identities, but his represents narcissism and immorality.  He cares for no one – including blacks – except for self. Bledsoe, being the president, uses the school to abuse his clout and gain more power, rather than achieving wide-ranging social advancement for his people and he makes that clear: “I’s big and black and I say ‘Yes, suh’ as loudly as any burrhead when it’s convenient, but I’m still king down here” (109).  Bledsoe continues: “… I’ve made my place in it and I’ll have every Negro in the country hanging on tree limbs by morning if it means staying where I am” (110).  Bledsoe pokes fun at his own race by talking in slang, using “I’s” rather than “I am” to seem uneducated like other blacks.  Bledsoe then states that when he tells the white men what they want to hear, he is able to control them.  Thereafter, his rant becomes disturbing as he claims that he would have all blacks lynched to keep his power.  Yes, such declaration by any human being is absolutely outrageous and sinister, but coming from a black man makes it even worse.  However, after the narrator has heard such unbecoming language, his trust in Bledsoe remains palpable, clearly indicating his lack of awareness because he still has not learned to look behind the masks through discernment.

Moreover, while on a bus ride to New York, the narrator meets the veteran who ridiculed Mr. Norton at Golden Day, precipitating Bledsoe to expel him like he did the narrator.  Strangely, the narrator doesn’t believe Bledsoe would do such a thing.  The veteran tells him to open his eyes and don’t take the face value of everything: “… look beneath the surface… Come out of the fog, young man. And remember you don’t have to be a complete fool in order to succeed” (118).  The veteran speaks these words because he knows that the narrator is ignorant (and still shows signs of blindness) for not believing that Bledsoe is the cause for his relocation.  For some reason, the narrator still has faith in Bledsoe although he has been punished by him. It is only when he learns Bledsoe’s true motives, then he realizes that he was tricked, for the letters that were to help him served as a way to hinder his progress, with punishing statements: “… this letter is a former student of ours … who has been expelled for a most serious defection from our strictest rules of deportment. The letter continues: “… it is to the best interests of the great work which we are dedicated to perform, that he continue undisturbed in these vain hopes … from our midst” (145).  Bledsoe’s betrayal of the narrator shows that it is not only whites who betray and suppress blacks, but blacks can do the same to their own race.

Additionally, the narrator’s pain and bad luck persist.  Like the electric shock in chapter one, the narrator suffers similar results; this time, however, it’s from shock treatment when he’s unconscious at the hospital following the fight with Brockway.  The white doctors mirror the same attitude the white men shared in the opening chapter via dehumanization.  Because the narrator is unable to respond to the doctors’ question, they began to practice shock treatment on him (while another doctor wanted to castrate him) as a way for entertainment.  The shock treatment causes the narrator to shake, and one doctor asserts that he is dancing: “Look, he’s dancing… They really do have rhythm…” (180-1).  While the narrator hears the screams of a woman in his head, the doctors play with his head and ask him questions like: Who was buckeye the rabbit? Who was brer rabbit?  The narrator attacks their amusement with his own: “He was your mother’s back door man… ‘Buckeye’ when you were very young and hid yourself behind wide innocent eyes; ‘Brer,’ when you were older” (184).  Following his humiliation at the hands of the doctors, they tell him he is cured and can leave.

This episode in chapter eleven represents significance, because he has somewhat changed metaphorically.  When he signs his release paper, he questions himself, “is he (the doctor) in on it too” (187)?  In on what?  The white suppression that haunts him.  The narrator begins to think and comes to the conclusion that he is no longer afraid of men like Norton or Bledsoe, for they are nothing to him so he expects nothing from them. Moreover, the transition is quite clear, something like a symbolic rebirth – he awakes without any memory; he does not understand language; and he does not know his identity.  The music and the machines’ noise collectively make him hear the sound of a screaming woman in pain, akin to a woman in labor. More important, the narrator’s metaphorical rebirth occurs with no parents; he takes on the doctors on his lonesome.  The veteran’s advice that he becomes his own father is crucial, for he starts doing that by opening his eyes and looking at things differently, questioning himself and others’ true intentions.

The narrator is slightly removing the blindfold as he questions why he shouldn’t do hard labor as the doctor warns him he is not suited yet.  “Take another job… Something easier, quieter. Something for which you’re better prepared,” the doctor said.  These words are condescending and a racial stereotype that blacks are lazy, unfit, and do not work hard.  This advice comes from the same doctor who took part in the amusement of the narrator’s humiliation, claiming he dances well as he is being shocked (which falls under a racial stereotype of blacks, something like a dancing Sambo doll), and trying to take his manhood by castration.  The castration reference by one of the racist doctors serves as a way to deny the narrator of his humanity.  Clearly, a castration of one implies the stripping of his power, his ability to function, his ability to foster children, his ability to progress, and his ability to be whole – the purest form of emasculation.  Nonetheless, from this episode, the narrator’s eyes begin to open to some extent; his invisibility and blindness are still intact, but he is freer and starts to find his identity in New York.

The narrator’s union with the Brotherhood shows that he still lacks individualism and has not removed that blindfold away from his eyes.  After seeing an injustice being done (white men evicting a black woman), the narrator speaks out prompting the crowd to react and take the furniture back into the house.  Cops arrive and he runs off, but hears a voice that calls him brother, a white man named Brother Jack.  Jack argues that he should become the spokesman for the Brotherhood; however, the narrator doesn’t agree and wants to think about the proposition.  Thereafter, the narrator thinks about Mary (a woman who gives him a place to freely live and generously feeds him) and makes the decision to join the Brotherhood.  Jack provides him with a house owned by the Brotherhood and strange enough, a new identity – claiming he should leave the past behind and focus on his new identity.

Joining the Brotherhood shows that the narrator is looking for a new identity (but not in the right place), and shows his lack of self-identity as he is labeled as what Jack wants him to be.  It becomes apparent from the start that the Brotherhood has sinister intentions and needs him to further its cause when Emma tells Jack he isn’t black enough.  Such comment proves that the narrator is unimportant to them as a human, but only as a figure and tool the group wants to exploit. In a sense, the narrator submits to white society for agreeing to serve as the black spokesman of the Brotherhood.  In more concrete language, he threatens and compromises his own identity by submitting to white men with clout.

The blindness of the narrator continues in a rally where he is to deliver a speech (in a former boxing ring), similar to chapter one.  He blindly gives his speech but is criticized for how he does it by the Brotherhood:  “In my opinion the speech was wild, hysterical, politically irresponsible and dangerous.  And worse than that it was incorrect” (264). This lambasting ridicule shows that his stay with the Brotherhood would not be a long stint. Moreover, the physical battle the Brotherhood had with Ras the Exhorter/Destroyer (somewhat resembles the real-life Malcolm X) and his followers show that clearly, because he is unable to recognize his group from Ras’s.  This confrontation shows signs of unfruitfulness on both sides, because both groups are fighting for the same thing, black equality – or at least one group.

The inevitable happens when Jack tells the narrator that he must attend a meeting the following day, but it never happens.  Jack toys with him and sends him away because he is done using him, so the narrator is of no use anymore.  Once again, the narrator shows his inability to see through the masks of others when he realizes that the Brotherhood’s intentions were to exclude him from the meeting initially.  The Brotherhood wants no part with the narrator, along with some blacks – feeling that his union with the Brotherhood is a betrayal to the black community.  The narrator is also betrayed again as he witnesses a former member of the Brotherhood, Clifton (who is later shot dead by a cop), selling Sambo dolls – a bad caricature of the Black culture.  The dolls are crucial and carry symbolic meanings, because although the dolls move by themselves, they need the help of strings to facilitate their movement.  This implies that Blacks continue to live under the umbrella and control of whites; blacks are puppets and whites are the puppeteers.  Metaphorically, blacks are in the driver’s seat, but whites are steering the wheel.

That is evidence how the Brotherhood has used the narrator for the main purpose to destroy Harlem all along by galvanizing a riot with the help of Ras.  He learns this at the end, but it comes too late.  To a certain extent, he becomes a traitor twice: first, for working with a racist group; and second, for playing an active part in the destruction of the black community.  However, as the narrator tries to subdue the riot and explain the cause for it, Ras orders his followers to kill him by way of lynching, but he runs away and falls into a gutter.  As he lies underground, it is completely dark with no light.  He has nothing with him but the briefcase – holding almost everything in his journey for identity: diploma, Clifton’s doll, letters, etc. – that was given to him in chapter one by one of the racist men.  In order to make light, he burns each in every one of the items in the briefcase.  By burning the items in the briefcase, the narrator has now found his identity (or close to finding his identity) and breaks away from his past.

The narrator being in New York prompts his sudden awareness of what is real as he remains underground, rejecting the idea that a single philosophy can constitute a complete way of being, for each soul embodies a multitude of various components. Interestingly, this philosophy is what Norman Podhoretz lacks because he refuses to see others – the Beat writers in the 50s – for their multiplicities, rendering him blind to others’ diversities.  Similar to how the nameless protagonist searches for his identity in New York, people in the 50s did the same, and New York was the place for it as Wakefield argues: “Our fifties were far more exciting than the typical American experience because we were in New York, where people came to flee the average and find a group of like-minded souls” (7).

Ellison’s Invisible Man represents a buffet that feeds one’s knowledge in every aspect, every turn, every page and chapter – for it is filled with profound metaphors and real-life (historical) issues.  More important, its prolific literature is influential and continues to bring forth discussion in college classrooms and from scholars as they continue to write about it.  Ellison also influenced (indirectly or directly) books from his counterparts like Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and others.  Whether one is black or white does not matter, because Invisible Man serves substance to everyone and influenced many in the 50s and beyond, including future works and American culture as a whole.  It will always be a topic of conversation for generations and generations to come.  Likewise, the Beat Generation may never be scrutinized entirely (or taken seriously by scholars) but it is catching on, because courses are being taught on various college campuses today.

Overall, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man can be described for its fame in two words: extraordinarily superb. It signifies a richly crafted – in-your-face – novel that stands firm as a classical gem and continues to engage readers since its 1952 release.


Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to release Sons of St. Clair Documentary


February 9, 2018

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s members Krayzie Bone and Bizzy Bone will be releasing a documentary called Sons of St. Clair via Silver Sail Entertainment. St. Clair is a neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, where the five members – Krayzie Bone, Bizzy Bone (born in Columbus, Ohio), Layzie Bone, Wish Bone, and Flesh-N-Bone – were born and raised.

This documentary, directed by Tim Newfang, makes its debut at the Mammoth Film Festival which runs February 8 through February 11 in Mammoth Lakes, California. Sons of St. Clair plays on Saturday, February 10.

This documentary represents an offspring of Krayzie’s and Bizzy’s duet album entitled New Waves that Entertainment One Music (eOne) released on June 23, 2017. While recording New Waves, Bone’s long-time manager Steve Lobel stated that a documentary was in the works and would follow the album’s release, including major plans to push the album. Moreover, both Krayzie and Bizzy stated that a music video would be executed for each song. The news that were released by the members and their camp brought happiness to many fans. However, after the release of New Waves, everything changed.

For whatever reason, independent label eOne made the decision to give up on the album. The album, despite the favorable reviews online, that was expected to make some noise failed to make any clamoring bang. The album that was expected to chart respectfully debuted at 181 on the U.S. Billboard 200. The album that was expected to produce a music video for each song produced only five videos: “Coming Home” featuring Stephen Marley, May 8, 2017; “If Heaven Had a Cellphone” featuring Tank, June 9, 2017; “Fantasy” featuring Jesse Rankins, June 16, 2017; “Change the Story” featuring Uncle Murda, July 10, 2017; and “Bottle Service” featuring Jesse Rankins, July 17, 2017.

Everything that was planned for New Waves from the onset did not transpire and, essentially, after a month, the album died (despite the two pre-recorded music videos that were released). New Waves faded into obscurity due to the absent of monetary aid from eOne to promote the album efficiently, which prompted Bizzy to voice his anger – directed at eOne – on social media. Through Instagram Live, he made it clear that it would take at least $250,000 to promote the album properly.

Bizzy was also unhappy that Krayzie released another duet album with Young Noble entitled Thug Brothers 2 (June 16, 2017), one week prior to New Waves – a business decision that was purposely executed by Real Talk Entertainment to ride the wave of the highly-anticipated duet by Krayzie and Bizzy. (Krayzie had nothing to do with the release date.)

With the complete silence of New Waves due to eOne’s refusal to promote the project monetarily, many concluded that the documentary, Sons of St. Clair, was also dead. Fortunately, that is not the case, because it will be released via the Mammoth Film Festival. The documentary will showcase the recording process of New Waves and provide the history regarding Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s iconic music and the group’s genesis in Cleveland, Ohio.

A release date via DVD and/or Blu-ray has not been announced. The trailer can be seen HERE.

Tiger Woods mentions Bone Thugs-N-Harmony in Texts with Mistress Jaimee Grubbs


December 9, 2009

Golf star Tiger Woods has been in the news daily after his early-morning Black Friday crash in November, which resulted in the revelation that shocked many: his affairs with numerous women. The story continues to get interesting but disgusting by the day, thanks to the money-hungry women who are providing the media with private information to keep their names in the news.

Jaimee Grubbs, one of Tiger Woods’ mistresses, is one of those women who seems to be enjoying the sudden minute of fame with constant media exposure, and it continues through private messages. Today, the New York Post obtained and published on its Web site text messages shared between Tiger and Jaimee, where Tiger randomly mentions Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.

The text messages are shown below verbatim:

Tiger: Hey Sexy I can’t come out this week. Something came up family wise (July 20, 3:04 p.m.)

Jaimee: That’s okay I hope everything is fine … would have liked to see you

Tiger: We will make it happen

Jaimee: I drove out for the night to surprise a friend with a present for there birthday (July 26, 11: 22 p.m.)

Tiger: what kind of present your naked body

Jaimee: haha no a watch I slept alone

Tiger: alone with him that is

Jaimee: haha I wish

Jaimee: miss u (Sept. 27, 6:38 p.m.)

Tiger: now that’s hot so who is your new boy toy

Jaimee: no new boy toy … still running dry… been on 2 real dates in the pat 2 months 😦

Tiger: I need you

Jaimee: then get your tight ass over here and visit me! I need u

Tiger: I will wear you out soon

Jaimee: how soon? I got a new piercing

Tiger: really. Where

Jaimee: I just sent u a pic of it … is on my cheek below my eye … implanted a little diamond

Tiger: send it again. I didn’t pick up on that

Tiger: you just need some attention from me

Tiger: do you have a boy friend (8:45 p.m.)

Jaimee: I don’t even have someone I am dating … no … u can be my boyfriend 😉

Tiger: then I am

Jaimee: I wish

Tiger: quiet and secretively we will always be together

Tiger: when was the last time you got laid

Jaimee: if we hang out on a Sundway we can watch desperate houswives again haha (Sept. 30, 3:38 p.m.)

Tiger: oh god

Jaimee: take a break from watching boring old golf

Jaimee: I mean the amazing sport of golf 😉

Jaimee: [more than an hour later] babe I was kidding

Tiger: I know sexy

Jaimee: is it orange county time yet? (Oct. 1, 6:06 p.m.)

Tiger: oh stop 🙂

Jaimee: hahaha I know … but you canceled on me last time so the anticipation is killing me … im finding myself watching sports center … haha j/k it isn’t that bad

Tiger: its never been that bad

Jaimee: very true … I only watch football

Tiger: Figured you would say that. Big black guys.

Jaimee: u are my first, last and only black guy! U should feel special

Tiger: why do I not believe that?

Tiger: [later, in response to Jaimee’s mention of a date who was “full of himself”] you kinda like that for some reason which is weird why you decided on me.

Tiger: having an asian mother and a military father you cannot and will not ever be full of yourself

Jaimee: I have fun with u, you always make me smile and I am not afraid to be myself or say anything to u … the day I met u I thought u were going to kick me out a few times but for someone reason you didn’t and u have told me numerous times I talk to much but slowly as I get to know u iI think your absolutely amazing

Tiger: you are wrong I’m bone thugs in harmony

Jaimee: Something wrong babe?I was excited to sepnd time with u this week (Oct. 15, 6:40 p.m.)

Tiger: I will you Sunda night. Its the only night in which I am totally free but I have to leave at 530 Monday morning to drive up to the valley for an outing for one of my sponsors. See you at 8 pm on Sunday in newport

Tiger: don’t text me back till tomorrow morning. I have to many people around me right now

Tiger: send me something very naughty (Oct. 18, 3:40 p.m.)

Jaimee: some things are worth waiting for lol … besides im at work

Tiger: go to the bathroom and take it

Jaimee: haha ur too much

Jaimee: are u leaving me cause your wife is still in newport 😦 I am lonely now … i like falling asleep in your arms (Oct. 18, 11:38 p.m.)

Tiger: sorry baby I just can’t sleep. Its just a problem I have

Tiger: she is not here. They left this morning

Jaimee: well I appreciate you not wanting to wake me up but if y couldn’t sleep I would have rather sat up and talked to u more … find out why I keep falling more and more for u 😉

Tiger: Because I’m blasian 🙂

Tiger: I’m sorry babe. Im already home.

Jaimee: I’m putting my underwear back on … thats a no no … come take them off

Tiger: 🙂 you are too funny

Tiger: happy thanksgiving to you (Nov. 26, 11:16 a.m.)

Jaimee: u too love

The Bone Thugs-N-Harmony reference comes out of nowhere and can render a few interpretations, but two are logical: (1) because Bone is known for canceling shows and showing up late for events, perhaps his comment stems from that; or (2) because Bone is known for its rapid-fire rapping style, perhaps his comment stems from each member’s quickness. The latter seems more logical.

Nonetheless, with Bone’s new album, UNI-5: The World’s Enemy, slated to hit store shelves in March 2010, this unexpected line by Tiger is actually good promotion. In truth, Tiger manages to promote Bone in one line more efficiently than the group’s Brand Engine management team in 2009. It’s sad but true.

Tiger’s random Bone reference is interesting but irrelevant. What is more interesting are the full text messages and how they became public via Jaimee.

Tiger, for weeks, has been verbally attacked in the media for cheating on his wife and his sexual escapades with various women. His privacy has been violated, not only by the women who publicly show their faces for attention but by the information that they provide to the media – and the text herein shows that.

Thus far, Tiger has been linked to 11 women: (1) Rachel Uchitel, 34-year-old club hostess; (2) Jaimee Grubbs, 24-year-old reality show contestant and cocktail waitress; (3) Kalika Moquin, 27-year-old club manager in Las Vegas; (4) Holly Sampson, porn star; (5) Veronica Siwik-Daniels (aka Joslyn Jame), hardcore porn star; (6) Cori Rist, 31-year-old swimsuit model; (7) Jamie Jungers, 26-year-old former employee of Trashy Girls Lingerie; (8) Mindy Lawton, 33-year-old pancake housewaitress; (9) unidentified former cocktail waitress in Orlando, FL; (10) unidentified British reporter; (11) unidentified woman reported in a UK paper.

Yes, Tiger committed adultery, made wrong decisions, and behaved badly. Yes, he willingly cheated on his wife Elin Nordegren several times and disrespected himself, his spouse, and his family. Yes, Tiger’s transgressions were uncalled for and should not be supported or excused, for he acted stupidly – and dishonored his wife and marriage vow in the worst way. Consequently, he should be accountable for his actions and criticized heavily. No person should have any sympathy for what he’s going through, for he placed himself in that position and jeopardized the health of his wife and future earnings. However, these women should not be given any airtime to publicize their sadness while speaking on their relationships with Tiger. More important, they should not be treated as victims, because they are not. The true victims are Tiger’s wife and his children. The mistresses represent participants in the destruction of a marriage.

Any woman who knowingly sleeps with a married man should not be pampered and cuddled with cute comments of sorrow. Rather, they should be excoriated equally as the man for ruining a marriage and a family that will never be the same again.

For some odd reason, some women refuse to accept this simple ideology of equal blame but rather endorse a double standard: attack a husband who cheats on his wife (because “all men cheat” and “all men are dogs”), while holding back any contempt at the woman who participated in the affair – as if she’s absolved from her actions.

If Tiger’s infidelity causes people to label him a “dirty dog” and a “man-whore” for his actions, then his participating mistresses should also be labeled with similar offensive words.

These women, especially Jaimee, who decided to go public after Rachel’s rumored affair with Tiger, are nothing but slut-whores looking for quick fame and monetary stability through Tiger. These reported mistresses are trashy (e.g., some of their professions speak for themselves), uncultured, unethical, and slutty – and should be lambasted in the media equally as Tiger.

His already-damaged reputation should not be facilitated any longer by these rapaciously money-hungry women who are claiming to have private e-mails, voice mails, pictures, text messages, and the like. Most disturbing is that fact that some of these women are hiring lawyers to negotiate a monetary deal with Tiger’s legal team to keep quiet and preclude any information from coming out.

Unfortunately, damaging information has been released with more rapidly forthcoming to humiliate and embarrass Tiger even more. Reports claim that one of Tiger’s mistresses has already sold naked pictures of the golf star to Playgirl. According to Playgirl, it does have the alleged naked pictures of Tiger and plans to possibly release them, after confirming their authenticity. This type of scandalous action by this mistress represents greed at its finest and a woman who lacks character.

Fittingly, Tiger has become hated by many women the world over. Using Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s forthcoming album title in this context, he seems to be the world’s enemy. If Tiger is being treated like the world’s enemy, the women that are seeking monetary compensation to remain silent, or decide to sell anything damaging involving Tiger for profit should also be treated as such for sleeping with a married man. They deserve no respect whatsoever.

In truth, these women are nothing more than gold diggers – not to mention pure refined slut-whores for knowingly sleeping with a married man and having the audacity to come out publicly to exploit his fame and richness.


Originally published December 9, 2009 via now-defunct

Krayzie Bone Addresses New Albums, Lawsuits, and Plans for 2010


January 8, 2010

Brady Allyn Media, in association with Dhark Knight Media, sat down with Krayzie Bone of multiplatinum-selling rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony for an interview in early January.

This piece will feature a brief recap of what Krayzie Bone stated and what he and his Bone brothers plan for 2010.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s Upcoming Album

Fittingly, Krayzie starts the interview with the mention of the group’s new album, UNI-5: The World’s Enemy, which is slated to come out on March 2, 2010 via Warner Bros. Records and BTNH Worldwide.

Krayzie addresses Fixtape 3: Special Delivery, the songs on it, and the feedbacks from fans in comparison to UNI-5. At release, many fans were and are still disgusted by Fixtape 3 because it does not showcase that Bone flavor and energy that Bone often presents. Because of this, some fans stated that the new album will fail and will not be as good as prior Bone albums.

Krayzie makes it clear that Fixtape 3 has no influence on how the actual album will sound, for the group’s upcoming album sounds completely different – and a project that people will be listening to for years. With Bone’s track record of releasing amazing music throughout a 15-plus year music career, his statement is fitting.

To put more emphasis on how different the two projects are, he states that the songs on Fixtape 3 were purposefully allocated to an underground release, because the atmosphere in the recording studio collectively was not there, and thus the songs were neglected for their lack of excitement and did not make the final album cut.

(Fixtape 3 was released free online through after Christmas Day.)

Krayzie Bone’s solo album

He states his new solo album called Chasing The Devil will be out in 2010 and said “the album is gonna be sick.” The announcement of this new album is no surprise to Bone followers, for Krayzie has been working on it for about two years; in fact, the original release date was set for mid-December 2009; however, it was pushed back in response to the group’s album that was also set for a December 2009 release.

This will be Krayzie’s fourth studio album; he currently has eight albums under his name, counting official mixtapes and online albums.

Krayzie Bone’s Mixtape

Speaking of mixtapes, Krayzie surprised many by stating that he has another mixtape coming out entitled Fixtape 4: Lyrical Paraphernalia. His prior mixtapes, Fixtape 1: Smoke on This and Fixtape 2: Just One Mo Hit, were quite the catch and amazing; if this upcoming mixtape is executed in the same manner, it will be no different. This fixtape will be released before the release of his major album, Chasing the Devil.

Duet Album with a Bone Member

Fans for years have been salivating for a duet album with Krayzie and Bizzy. In fact, Krayzie, about two years ago, posted on that he and Bizzy were planning on an album to fans’ delight – but no information came out since the revelation.

In this latest interview, Krayzie says he and Flesh-N-Bone are working on a duet album, but he has to keep it under wraps for now. Like his prior announcement regarding a duet album with Bizzy, this statement sounds great, but the actual execution – and release of duet album – is questionable, because Bone has a history of announcing future projects that are never released. Thus, this statement should be taken with skepticism.

Compilation Projects

Krayzie announces two compilations that are in the works: a Thugline compilation, featuring his Thugline artists; and a Cleveland compilation titled Cleveland Is the City, featuring several artists from Cleveland.

Lawsuits from Former Affiliates

In part two of this interview, Krayzie Bone addresses the lawsuits from former Mo Thug/Bone Thugs affiliates, but he speaks specifically on a multi-million-dollar lawsuit filed by Thug Queen – $22 million lawsuit to be exact for not being compensated for her recordings and songs. He says the lawsuit shocked him because he spoke to her and invited Thug Queen into his home months prior.

Moreover, he says that he, too, never got compensated by the record labels after releasing Mo Thugs 1: Family Scriptures and Mo Thugs 2: Family Reunion, both of which went platinum.

Wish Bone’s Solo Album?

According to Krayzie, Wish is working on his solo album and it will come out. This comment by Krayzie is nothing new to Bone fans, because every member has said the same thing in many interviews when asked about a Wish Bone album. “It’s coming soon” is usually the verbiage used, which goes back to the late 90s.

Even though Krayzie says it “will be a shocker,” he seems uncertain and his facial expression shows that. With a new year, fans should hope that the “it’s coming soon” verbiage is validated with some snippets and an actual release date. Honestly, based on prior talks and promises regarding a solo album from Wish, it most likely will never come out.

Wish is the only member in the group who has yet to release a solo album; Krayzie (being the most successful), Bizzy, Layzie, and Flesh have all released solo albums and account for more than 20 solo albums collectively.

Reaction to fans’ Thoughts on Bone’s New Music

The interview ends on a major topic that has kept the Bone forums very hot: the changing the Bone’s music. Many listeners and fans have said that Bone’s music has changed and is somewhat subdued and watered down. In other words, that hardcore sound from their early albums has dissipated. This is not debatable because it’s a fact that their music has changed throughout years, and Krayzie does not deny that.

Krayzie says that their music has changed, because they have grown up and have kids and families – and religion has played a part of it. He also makes it clear that their current music will not equate to the music they were putting out in the 90s because time has changed, and says a true artist must adapt with time. Thus, the lyrical content that was presented early in their career will not be revisited in the current times, because they are in a different place in life.

Krayzie actually makes some great points on this subject and makes sense regarding the group’s transition, for change is inevitable and Bone’s current music shows that. He ends the subject of conversation by stating the following:

“Anybody that, you know, get mad at us ‘cause we’re not rapping about the same thug stuff years ago … it may be time for you to find a new rap group.”

Overall, this interview by Krayzie is very informative and has a few entertaining moments. It’s by far one of the best interviews Krayzie has ever done.

This interview is about 25 minutes long and broken up into three parts (as shown below):

Part 1: Interview (9:01)
Part 2: Interview (5:27)
Part 3: Interview (9:09)

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Originally published January 8, 2010 via now-defunct

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Plans Think Tank 4 in Los Angeles, CA – 11/27/09


November 25, 2009

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s manager Bobby Francis has scheduled yet another think tank for Friday, November 27, 2009, dubbing the event Think Tank 4. Like the prior think tank in October, it will be streamed live via exclusively.

Strangely, it takes place after Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday (one of the busiest shopping days of the year)?

Information for this upcoming event has been kept under wraps; in fact, the location has not been disclosed. This is not out of the ordinary with Bone’s Brand Engine management team, because the prior think tanks were approached and executed in the same manner.

Those who were selected to attend prior events were given a meet-up location on the day of the event and, in turn, were told the exact location of where the think tank would be held.

Despite the lack of information from Bone’s management team, those who attend or watch the live stream can expect a similar show like Think Tank 3 – new songs will be played from Bone’s upcoming album and attendees will give their opinions on a paper that will be collected at the end. (Think Tank 3 was held in Burbank, California on Friday, October 23, 2009.)

In short, Think Tank 3 was a major success – even though it started more than four hours late and ran into the early-morning hours. All five members were present and performed their “See Me Shine” single with a live band; fans even paid homage to Bone by performing their songs. With success, however, came some form of problems by way of Bobby Francis.

This is why the announcement of another think tank caught many Bone fans by surprise, considering how angry and combative Bobby Francis was toward fans after Think Tank 3. Why? Because the 20-plus songs that were played online – via the live stream – were later uploaded onto YouTube for millions to hear.

Bobby, unsurprisingly, started attacking and threatening fans by claiming those who uploaded songs onto the Internet have jeopardized the release of Bone’s new album and will never be a part of what he and/or Bone is doing (if the songs were not removed). He continued his unruliness with the usual “haters” and his “they don’t wanna see me shine” verbiage.

From the beginning of these events, many people were intrigued and questioned the purpose of these gatherings and the beneficial value it would have for Bone, and it continues with Think Tank 4. Some think it’s a great way for Bone to interact with fans (and hear their opinions), while others claim it’s a waste of time. Both arguments make sense: The former is true because it does allow interaction, and the latter is true because it does not benefit Bone in any fashion (e.g., it does not provide promotion).

In truth, fans are the only ones who benefit from these events.

Bone’s new album UNI-5: The World’s Enemy is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. Records on December 22, 2009 – and not one ounce of decent promotion has been rendered. Due to the lack of promotion, a couple of questions must be asked: Shouldn’t Bobby and his Brand Engine team put their energy somewhere that will be advantageous for Bone and their new album rather than executing another think tank? Shouldn’t more emphasis be placed on a broader audience rather than Bone fans who will naturally support and buy the album when it comes out?

These are basic questions that a manager should ask himself/herself when representing an artist, but it seems like Bobby and his team have no answer, or maybe their lack of experience precludes them from finding an answer regarding proper promotion and showcasing it with action. Thus, they organize marketing gimmicks and call it promotion.

Every artist should cater to their fans, but this catering by Bone via Brand Engine has gone too far and is senseless. How many think tanks need to be held by Brand Engine for someone in their circle to conclude that they are not providing any promotion? With one month left until the album is shipped to stores, more emphasis should be placed elsewhere to attract non-fans, for they are the ones that should be catered to and enticed to buy the album when it comes out – not long-standing fans.

More devastating to Bone is the fact that many people have no clue they have a new album coming out, because their “See Me Shine” single has not been consistently promoted on the radio nor with a video.

Record labels are usually the primary advertisers for their artists’ material, which begs the question on Warner Bros. Records’ role in regard to promotion. However, it does not mean that an artist’s management team should ignore promotion by holding events that serve no purpose for its artists – and that is precisely what Brand Engine is doing.

Nonetheless, if Think Tank 4 is anything like Think Tank 3, it will be a success and an enjoyable experience for the fans; however, it will not be a success for Bone because it will provide no promotion, nor will it attract non-fans.

For this reason, it would not be surprising if Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s new album, The World’s Enemy, is delayed and pushed back to 2010.

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Originally published November 25, 2009 via now-defunct

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Plans Think Tank 3 in Los Angeles, CA – 10/23/09


October 19, 2009

Orchestrated by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s management team, the group will be holding a think tank Friday, October 23, 2009, in Los Angeles, California to promote their upcoming album called The World’s Enemy. This will be the third think tank thus far.

The first and second think tank, also held in California, had a sense of secrecy and exclusiveness, allowing only a selected few to participate. However, this think tank will be inclusive for everyone. According to Bone’s manager Bobby Francis, this will be the biggest think tank yet.

Because this event will be held in California, leaving many fans elsewhere unable to attend, the owner of BTNHBoard (Gibbs) in conjunction with Bone’s team decided it would be beneficial to stream the event online, and that is the plan for Think Tank 3 (allowing fans from afar to watch from their computers).

The live streaming of this event can be watched via, Bone Thugs’ official forum.

Unlike the prior two think tanks, all five members will be present: Krayzie Bone, Layzie Bone, Bizzy Bone, Wish Bone, and Flesh-n-Bone.

Think tanks are usually occupied by a panel of experts in a specific field; however, this think tank will be occupied by fans and the media, most of whom have no expertise in the music industry or how it works. Therefore, it is safe to say that the attendees will not be the ultimate deciders of how the album is executed, but rather attendees that provide their feedback and/or advice on songs and other issues.

Bone has not used a think tank in fifteen years, so this is a new approach. Their albums in the past have been released without the help of the public’s opinions and garnered success. Their upcoming album will be no different, because fans will not be decision-makers. The final decision of how the album will be constructed and what songs make the final tracklist will come from Bone and Warner Bros. Records collectively.

Some people may still wonder and ask one simple question: Why is a multiplatinum-selling and Grammy Award-winning group holding a public think tank? According to Bone’s manager, these think tanks are held to give fans the opportunity to meet and interact with Bone members and to experience the “best fan-family experience.”

The exact details of what will happen at this event are not yet known. The location has not even been announced.

However, there are rumors that claim the album will be played in its entirety. This is very questionable. There is no doubt that some songs will be played, similar to the prior think tanks, to give the attendees a taste of what The World’s Enemy will sound like, but playing an entire album is unlikely and will most likely not happen.

Even though this event is dubbed Think Tank 3, and opened to the fans and the media, one should expect a press conference-like approach, where a question-and-answer session takes place regarding their upcoming album.

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Originally published Oct. 19, 2009 via now-defunct

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Releases Street Singles Ahead of Forthcoming Album


September 28, 2009

Multiplatinum-selling and Grammy Award-winning group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is UNI-5, and on the verge of releasing their long-awaited and highly-anticipated album, UNI5: The World’s Enemy, on November 24, 2009.

After nearly a decade of working as a trio and quartet (due to Flesh-N-Bone’s incarceration and Bizzy Bone’s ouster), Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is once again a quintet. Bizzy returned early 2008 and Flesh, who spent more than eight years in prison, was released late 2008 to complete the fearsome five. He was welcomed home with hugs, kisses, and laughter by his family, friends, and Bone brothers: Krayzie Bone, Layzie Bone, Bizzy Bone, and Wish Bone.

With new brand manager Bobby Francis and his Brand Engine team, Bone wasted no time and made the recording studio their home, constantly recording and preparing to unleash their signature quick tongues and harmonic flows. Bone also put joy on the faces of fans by scheduling a few concert dates and fittingly dubbed it the UNI5 Tour (i.e., as in unified).

Pressured by fans to put out a new song or sample, the group released two full-length street singles late February 2009 via their MySpace page: “The Game Ain’t Ready” and “Nuff Respect.” (Both songs were initially singles but did not make the final cut.)

Before these two releases, members were hyped and said they would bring the heat – and “The Game Ain’t Ready” did just that.

The beat is bass-heavy, supported by hard-hitting drums, and each member brings it accordingly. The overall theme of the songs centers on how the music industry is not ready for the hot music they have forthcoming.

The catchy chorus, occupied by Layzie with background support from Bizzy, makes that clear: “The world ain’t ready / the game ain’t ready / these n….s ain’t ready / ‘cause the lyrics heated heavy.”

Bizzy, in his hyperactive voice, starts off the song with an introduction: “Yeah uh yeah, Layzie Bone, Krayzie Bone, Wish-n-Bone, Flesh-n-Bone, and that lil … you know it’s Bizzy Bone.”

That’s all Flesh needed to hear because he drops a blistering verse. If there were any worries of how he would sound and perform due to his long prison stint, some of those worries vanished and transformed into satisfaction, because he attacks the first verse viciously.

Layzie follows with a pristine delivery and with each word being articulated nicely. Krayzie, unsurprisingly, flows pleasantly with his smooth and quick vocals. Despite having the shortest verse (14 seconds), his verse is memorable. Wish, the most criticized member for years, does not disappoint and drops a respectable verse. Bizzy, although hard to understand with his new style at times, wildly ends the songs with a satisfactory verse. Overall, this song is nice.

The second street single, “Nuff Respect,” is not the typical Bone song that people are accustomed to hearing. The weak hook and bland beat are two features that keep this song from reaching the next level.

The rhythm may not be easy on the ears, but the members’ flow and intensity complement the beat well, showing that they can tackle any beat, despite its mediocrity. In actuality, one aspect of this song that makes it attractive is how each member delivers his verse, especially Krayzie.

He begins the song with a verbal onslaught that is quick, robust, and intense. He has a deadly flow and murders his verse from start to end. The way Krayzie swifts and manipulates his voice, switching up his cadence, to match the beat is unmatched by any.

Flesh attacks the second verse with a quick delivery of his own that’s somewhat whispery, but it does not affect his overall performance. Layzie continues the intensity with a clear delivery that is occupied with threatening lyrics if he and his Bone brothers are challenged and/or disrespected.

With Bizzy’s subdued and low-pitched vocals, the mood of the song changes; however, it does not disrupt the intensity of the song but rather brings another dimension to the song that is effective. Wish, who ends the song, drops a Wish-like verse with his signature repetition of words that gets him in trouble sometimes, but he pulls it off with his intense vocals.

If Bone’s vocals were extracted and placed on a different production, it would be a more enjoyable listen.

On August 25, Bone released “D.O.A.” (Death of Auto-Tune) remix; the original song appears on Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 album. The sampled song has been praised by many and received great attention on many hip hop sites. However, like “Nuff Respect,” “D.O.A.” remix has a problematic beat; it is lifeless, annoying, and possibly one of the worst beats that Bone has ever rapped on.

The production was not meant for Bone but rather Jay-Z, so it’s understandable that Bone undertook such project for the sole purpose of promotion. The move was smart because it did garner attention and comparison to Jay-Z’s original.

Excluding the headache-prone beat, lyrically and stylistically, the members are on point and again show that they can deliver and flow on any beat (and sound good). For that reason alone, they get credit for putting life into a song/beat that was initially dead and dull.

There is also an inexpensive “D.O.A.” remix video, showing clips of the recording process.

On September 18, Bone released three more street singles via their MySpace page: “No Mas,” “Wanna Ride,” and “Let Ya Self Go.” These songs are okay and have some impressive moments, but they do not render anything special and are average at best. Moreover, the productions lack significantly.

In general, these five street singles and “D.O.A.” remix are not classics or flawless; not one (with the exception of maybe “The Game Ain’t Ready” ) has a long-term replay value and that unexplainable rawness that only Bone can offer via their unique styles.

However, Bone has made it clear that these songs should not be judged as an indicator of how The World’s Enemy will sound, for these tracks are simply street singles (i.e., throwaway tracks) that serve as teasers to get some buzz.

An artist’s painting should never be judged on the first few days but rather after the painting is completed and mounted – and that’s how Bone’s upcoming album should be treated: in its completed form and when it comes out. Like any other art form, music is an art; it takes time to build a project, select the proper production team, record the vocals properly, complete the mixing/mastering appropriately, strategize a proper promotional tactic, and select a radio-friendly single. These are crucial for an album’s success and are in no doubt being worked on by Bone and their team.

Bone has optimistically stated that they are working to create a classic album. Whether they can produce another classic album or not is debatable, but one thing is obvious: they can still produce a superb album with perhaps a couple of hit singles. The group’s track record speaks for itself, for majority of their albums have been certified gold, platinum, and multiplatinum by the RIAA.

Moreover, being in the music industry for 15 years and selling more than 30 million records in the U.S. and more than 50 million records worldwide is special (and not a fluke). Some artists do not last more than 2 years in the music industry, so for Bone to last 15 years in a cut-throat industry, and collectively drop more than 50 albums (greatest hits, group, solo, underground albums, etc.) is extraordinarily impressive.

The World’s Enemy will be Bone’s eight studio album; it is scheduled to come out on

November 24, 2009 under Warner Bros. Records and BTNH Worldwide, Bone’s independent label. (The album has already been pushed back four times, so the current date is questionable.)

The greatest predictor of the future is the past, which has been very successful for Bone, so their new album has the potential to be remarkable; that is, if each member executes his verses appropriately with quality production.

With so many filth polluting the airwaves and TV screens by today’s rappers, having Bone Thugs-N-Harmony back into the mix is good thing for the music industry.

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Originally published September 28, 2009 via now-defunct

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s Reunion Press Conference, Moderator Debacle – 10/21/09


October 22, 2009

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony held a press conference via Ustream on Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles, California. The press conference was scheduled to start at 4:00 PM but started around 4:20 PM (7:20 Eastern Time).

While the group’s 1995 hit song “1st of Tha Month” played in the background, each member entered and took his seat. Flesh-n-Bone entered first, followed by Layzie Bone, Wish Bone, Krayzie Bone, and Bizzy Bone.

The press conference started off pretty well, because the questions were coming from the attendees present (i.e., the press). That all changed when the questions from fans started streaming in from online. This is when the press conference shifted and had an uncanny and amateurish ambiance.

The first strange question concerned horror movies: “Are you still inspired by horror movies since your first tape is Faces of Death?” (“What’s the last good scary movie you saw?”)

The question alone was off because it insinuates that they were already inspired by horror movies, which somehow precipitated the recording of that album. In fact, Faces of Death, a 1993 underground album, has absolutely no connection to horror movies, so why the question was asked by a fan, let alone selected by the moderator, was beyond strange.

The question of course received a giggle from Wish. Nonetheless, Flesh answered the question the best he could, stating that their upcoming album will not be influenced by horror movies. He also added he watches horror movies and at times has nightmares.

The second strange question by a fan concerned the Mayan Calendar which alleges the end of the world: “Does Bone have anything special planned for the Mayan apocalypse predicted on December 21, 2012?”

Again, Wish found the question funny and answered jokingly, “Yeah get you some can and soup.” Thereafter, Wish took a serious approach and answered with an intelligent response, followed by Flesh, who appropriately responded by saying that no one can predict the end of the world but God.

The third strange question concerned donuts; yes donuts: “Where do y’all go for donuts?”

By far, this question was horrible and received some laughs, not to mention some strange faces by the members. The members that responded, however, had the presence of mind to keep their responses short and moved on, for they knew the question was meaningless and only presented by a fan to generate laughter. Unfortunately, the moderator felt the need to present the question.

As the press conference continued, viewers were probably thinking, what’s next?

Considering the horrible questions that were asked by fans – and strangely selected by the moderator – it would not be surprising if questions pertaining to “what food do you guys eat for breakfast” or “what toothpaste do you guys use to brush your teeth” were asked.

That’s how ridiculous the questions were, including one being asked about a former Mo Thugs artist named Powder P, and another concerning the marriage of Layzie and his wife Felicia.

Aside from Bizzy’s constant spitting into his napkin, the members collectively acted professionally, answered each question intelligently and to the best of their abilities, including the nonsense and fatuous questions.

Thankfully, Bizzy saved the day when he stood up and said he had a duty to fulfill. The press conference was about 38 minutes long. Had it gone on even further, it would have been more embarrassing – thanks to the moderator.

For some strange reason, the pointless questions fascinated him. The only selected question that was important concerned the gravesite of Eric “Eazy-E” Wright, their mentor who died in 1995 after signing the group to his Ruthless Records. Other than that, the moderator did a horrible job with the selection of questions from fans. He was unprofessional and should have selected the rational and important questions instead of the silly questions, but he decided to go with the latter.

Many fans anticipated this press conference because they were under the impression that information would be presented concerning their upcoming album, but that was not the case. Questions about an official single, a video, or anything pertaining to future music were not presented.

In essence, the press conference began with fans not knowing much about the album and ended with fans not knowing much about the album. The only important information that came from this press conference was the release date of The World’s Enemy, December 15, 2009.

For what Bone Thugs-N-Harmony has done in the music industry for 15 years and counting, they deserved a press conference better than what they were given – and the group’s Brand Engine management team did not present a level of professionalism at all. Rather, an amateurish press conference was organized, which makes perfect sense why the members looked uninterested and uncomfortable at times.

Seeing the members side by side was an impressive sight, however. Each member handled himself well with the situation that he was put into, and did an amazing job with the questions that he was presented.

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Originally published October 22, 2009 via now-defunct