Released on February 8, 2005 by newly formed record company Ball’r Records (which is currently defunct), Gemini: Good vs. Evil by Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony represents an incredible piece of work. This solo release marks Krayzie’s third studio album (seventh solo album to date, counting his two underground releases, The Legends Underground (Part 1) and Streets Most Wanted, and his two mixtapes, Fixtape 1: Smoke On This and Fixtape 2: Just One Mo Hit).
1. GET ‘CHU TWISTED
The album starts off on a fast note, literally. Krayzie Bone, known for his quadruple-time rhymes, does just that. The beat by Lil Jon is first-class and Krayzie destroys it. He raps so fast that he decides to take a breather (verse 3) and continues on viciously. Everything about this song is perfect, from Lil Jon’s production to Krayzie’s mesmerizing quick tongue. The chorus speaks for itself: “Bone Bone Bone Bone Bone, let me get ‘chu you twisted man.” The catchy chorus is fitting because it will get ‘chu twisted. The hotness continues with the following track.
2. THAT’S THAT BONE
“That’s That Bone” features fellow Bone member, Wish Bone, and he does not disappoint, for his flow and multiple verses on this song are outstanding. In fact, Wish starts the song with energy and heat, followed by Krayzie who delivers a viciously outstanding verse to remember that starts with lava-like heat: “You motha…uz better / wake up and smell, the marijuana inhale / a little ganja, and realize you dealin’ with a monster / mastermind of rap and crime, I’ll blast your mind / I’m so sick, but no need to call a doctor / ‘cause you won’t find a cure for this / besides, I don’t need no remedy, I’m already fixed….”
The beat, rendered by 5150, has a hard-edge thump that just keeps one bouncing his/her head, tapping the feet, moving hands in contentment, or any other bodily movement that one prefers. That’s the cause and effect this song has because it is so amazing.
Wish is the most criticized Bone member, but he does a remarkable job (he doesn’t overshadow Krayzie, however). He and Krayzie trade verses back and forth fluidly and accordingly, as if they were battling to outdo each other. This formula was correct because it makes the song more interesting; the normal formula verse/chorus, verse/chorus, verse/chorus wouldn’t have such effect.
“That’s That Bone” is one of the best duet songs executed by a Bone duo. Krayzie and Wish render an electrifying track.
3. PUT IT ON Y’ALL
Track three, “Put It On Y’all,” represents another exciting track, produced by Dillio. Once more, Wish appears on this track and he does well. Needless to say, Krayzie drops a wicked verse, followed by Wish. “Put It On Y’all” basically states that they will put it on anyone (i.e., haters and troublemakers) and put the situation to rest if need be as the fascinating chorus claims: “Won’t weep no mo, won’t speak no mo, won’t beef no mo, once we put it on y’all / won’t weep no mo, won’t speak no mo, won’t beef no mo, once we put it on y’all.”
Exciting as this track is, the brevity (and two verses) really kills it. It’s simply too short.
4. INTERVIEW (Skit)
This brief interlude-interview is quite interesting. The interviewer, Chuck Foolery, asks one simple question: What’s up with the new album, and what’s up with you – Krayzie Bone the artist? Thereafter, he shares his thoughts.
In brief, he basically talks about the new album and sheds some light regarding his good side and bad side. Moreover, he contends that sometimes his bad side seems to override his good side, but he strives to make some changes to ensure that his good side overshadows his bad side – and one way to accomplish those changes is through God.
5. NUTHIN’ BUT MUSIC
“Nuthin’ But Music” represents a tribute song. In this track, Krayzie pays homage to the old- school rappers such as Too Short, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Jam Master Jay and Run-DMC, Fat Boys, etc. He also names many songs that he enjoyed in the past from old-school rappers. The production by Fredwreck is decent but doesn’t have that wow factor; however, considering the atmosphere of the song, the beat is fitting because it has that old-school vibe to it.
6. ALL I’M HEARING
“All I’m Hearing,” produced by Krayzie himself, is a smooth song with a lot of truth and meaning behind it regarding the music industry. This song begins with radio reverberations, (i.e., one who is searching for a radio station that interests them to no avail). The harmonizing chorus by Krayzie declares: “All I’m hearing on the radio, same thing / and all I’m seeing in the videos, same thing / same old song far from original, gotta maintain / we’d just like a breath of fresh air so here we blow.”
After he delivers two verses over his serene production, he takes the time to speak about the music industry with about 1 minute and 15 seconds left in the track; he declares in part:
“Man, when I turn on the radio today, you know what I’m saying, it’s like, it’s like man, I’m hearing the same thing over and over again; you know what I’m saying? Constantly being drilled with the same style, with the same, with the same beat, with the same everything, you know? It’s like a lot of things done changed about the music ‘cause the music game ain’t original no mo’….”
This statement was very telling in 2005, including today, because it is very true. The music industry today, especially the Hip Hop/Rap genre, is basically a joke. Many artists release music for the hell of it; this is one reason why album sales continue to decline. As a whole, “All I’m Hearing” signifies a very good and truthful song.
7. LET’S LIVE
“Let’s Live” represents an inspirational song where Krayzie professes his love for life and encourages people to embrace life to the fullest. On this track, Krayzie does not use a fast flow; rather, he uses a melodic flow which fits nicely with the serene production by the Platinum Brothers.
8. CHAOS (skit)
Produced by Drone One, this skit has an apocalyptic nature to it, where listeners clearly hear people screaming, crying, and running in the beginning and the midpoint of the song as Krayzie raps.
9. DON’T KNOW WHY
“Don’t know Why” typifies a very dark song, which samples “This Time” by alternative rock/metal group Depswa. In fact, Jeremy Penick of Depswa lends his vocals to the chorus as Krayzie delivers two sinister and dark verses – story-like verses where he doesn’t know what has happened as part of his opening verse claims:
“Woke up this morning in a cemetery kinda weary / Looked over my shoulder and I seen / somebody just been freshly buried / Was kinda scary ‘cause my shirt was soaked in blood man / Shovel in my hand so I had to be the one that dug that / But I had no knowledge / I don’t remember even leavin’ the house man / Can’t explain how I got here / It’s like I was walkin’ but I was unconscious…”
This fabricated story-like song is quite interesting and eerie, to say the least.
This song, semi-song for a better term, is good. Two words describe this song: vicious and raw. Krayzie violently attacks this song instantly as the beat drops and delivers a raw verse, with the help of the Wunda Twins who provide their production skills. However, “Mangled” is one of those songs that will make people ask one simple question: why so short?
Considering how good this song is at its current state, the running time (1:56) does not justify its fine nature, including the single verse. The briefness of this song makes it impossible to understand any logical reason for ending it so suddenly, especially when the potential was there to make it an incredible song. Nonetheless, the song will satisfy listeners.
11. LOCK DOWN LOVE
On “Lock Down Love,” Krayzie dedicates a wholehearted performance to all of those who are incarnated and doing hard time in prison, in conjunction with a nicely calm production by Femi Ojetunde, where Krayzie uses his harmonious voice to render a good song (free from profanity).
12. SLAVE (skit)
This slave skit is rather strange because Krayzie, who plays a slave, makes the choice to remain in captivity while another slave reveals that he is escaping, and tries to convince Krayzie to come along, but he refuses. All in all, this skit is pointless and serves as a filler-track.
13. I REMEMBER
L.T. Hutton, who has worked with Bone on many occasions (group and solo projects), lends his production prowess on a heartfelt song that Krayzie dedicates to his Bone Thugs-N-Harmony brothers. Taking into account their problems in the music industry (especially with their label and internal strife within the group), this song is fitting.
Starting with a verse that concerns Flesh-N-Bone (incarcerated in 2000 but released from prison late 2008 to rejoin his Bone brothers), he shares his pleasure in reading letters from Flesh which are broader with vocabulary, and shares his sorrow for not being able to talk frequently: “It’s been a minute since I saw ya / I hear your lawyer still tryin’ to get that appeal for ya, / Wanted to holla and tell you what’s poppin’ but you probably / Already know we’ve been going through problems….”
Verse two concerns Layzie; in this verse, Krayzie basically shares his thoughts on how they were very close as youngsters, but it’s just not the same anymore as he puts it: “Those days, it ain’t the same no more / We don’t even hang no more / We let the fame destroy, / Something that’s worth way more / ‘cause friends / Kinda hard to come by…”
Verse three concerns Wish; in this verse, Krayzie shares his old memories on how he mistakenly shot Wish with a shotgun and refused to reveal to the police what really occurred, but he was still shackled: “Rushed to emergency, coppers came and arrested me, even though you told ‘em I didn’t do it, they cuffin’ me …”
Last but not least, and appropriately, is verse four which concerns the fiery and mysterious Bizzy. In this verse, Krayzie shares his memories of the good times (that is, when they used to walk the streets together, eat and starve together, and sleep outside in Cleveland’s below zero temperatures together). But their relationship became gloomy, and because he and Krayzie are the most popular members, critics and fans argue that the group’s problems stem from them as Krayzie alludes to: “Now how did it all of a sudden get so cloudy? / They say Krayzie got problems with Bizzy that’s why they (they) breaking up / Only problem I had was you running out on the band / But you explained to me deeper and now I understand….”
The overall theme of “I Remember” is outstanding and one of the most heartfelt songs by Krayzie.
“Hi-Di-Ho” has no fixed chorus or verses. In other words, there are no formal choruses and verses, presenting a no-structure delivery. Krayzie simply speed-raps to the beat and takes a temporary break before continuing his rap. It’s like he delivers one long verse throughout. In the latter, he chants continuously until the song concludes. However, that doesn’t mean the song is bad or outstanding; it’s only a decent song that appears to be unfinished and too short, running at 2 minutes and 42 seconds.
If this song had a recognizable chorus and some verses (and longer), it would be a very good track, especially with Krayzie’s aggressive lyrics – not to mention L.T. Hutton’s great production.
15. MURDA MUSIC
For some reason, “Murda Music” produced by 5150 sounds like an introductory track rather than a song. Being that this song appears at the latter of the album is good, because it somewhat serves both as a prelude and closure for the final track.
16. GET ‘CHU TWISTED (Remix)
“Get ‘chu Twisted” opens the album with an amazing solo by Krayzie, and the album ends with its remix featuring Krayzie’s Bone Thugs-N-Harmony brothers, Bizzy, Layzie, and Wish. It is nowhere near exciting as the original because Krayzie simply destroys it on his lonesome. However, “Get ‘chu Twisted (remix)” is a great song. It’s basically similar to the original version, but the chorus is a bit different with the following: “Let me get ‘chu twisted man / Gimme some Hen’, gimme some gin.” In sequential order, Krayzie delivers the same verse as the original version; Wish delivers a good second verse; Layzie does his thing on the third verse; and Bizzy ends the song with his hyper-active vocals. This final track closes the album perfectly.
Generally speaking, this 16-track album is remarkable; its deserving grade is a B+ and highly recommended. It will not disappoint. Gemini: Good vs. Evil is definitely a must-have album.
The album also comes with an interesting teaser-DVD (containing the video/single of “Get ‘chu Twisted” and mini interviews), which features all the members, excluding Flesh. The full-length DVD was expected to hit stores months after the CD’s release, but because newly formed Ball’r Records quickly folded, the full-length DVD failed to come out. So, it is safe to say that after three years, it may never see the day of light.
Krayzie Bone is currently working on the Bone Thugs-N-Harmony group album, The World’s Enemy (due out November 24, 2009), and his forthcoming solo album called Chasing The Devil (due out December 2009); most likely it will come out in 2010. The title does not mean he is chasing the devil. According to Krayzie, the album’s title is a metaphor, meaning the wrong choices that people in life undertake by chasing the devil (selling drugs, chasing money, chasing sex, etc.) which ruins and corrupts their lives.
[Originally published March 24, 2008 on now-defunct Examiner.com]