Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s Manager Makes Bold Claim Regarding Mariah Carey

Standard

Thursday; September 24, 2009


Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s brand manager Bobby Francis claims that Mariah Carey’s vocal style was taken from Felecia Howse (Layzie Bone’s wife) after releasing her hit song “All Good” in 1998.

Bobby’s claim was precipitated by a thread created, September 20, in the “Bone Thugs Affiliates” section of Bone’s official message board BTNHBoard.com. The headline, which didn’t even concern Mariah, respectfully read “Phaedra Butler vs. Felicia Howse” with a poll, asking which singer fans prefer. (Phaedra works with Bobby and was a member of R&B trio Lady Soul in the early 90s.)

Two days later, Bobby and/or his Brand Engine team viewed the thread, deemed it inappropriate, and replied with fury and absurdity through his own thread under the “Brand Engine” section of the board. He directed his initial comment to the threadstarter:

“First off, I’d like to say that whomever started this post will never ever have the opportunity to be involved in anything that I’m involved in re: B.T.N.H. Unless they come forth now-privately!!!”

Thereafter, he directed his comment regarding Felecia and peppered it with admiration:

“Let’s be clear, Felicia Howse is the 1st Lady of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony! End of that discussion! Her track record speaks for itself! Her major smash “So Good,” not only marks her place in history with Bone but it marks her place in music history.”

The song that Bobby wrongly refers to as “So Good” is called “All Good”; this song which features Krayzie Bone was featured on Mo Thugs’ 1998 platinum-selling album Family Scriptures Chapter 2: Family Reunion.

Bobby is correct when he asserts that Felecia is the first lady of Bone. He is also correct when he asserts that her hit single marks her place in history with Bone. However, his latter comment regarding her place being marked in music history is unfounded, because she has no music catalog; thus, she has no reputable history in the music industry. The fact can not be denied: Felecia is only known for one song (not to mention her affiliation with Bone).

After his praises for Felecia, without any provocation, Bobby felt obligated to add Mariah Carey into his rant, stating the following:

“Many music lovers across the world don’t realize that her HIT song serves as a blueprint for every HIT song that Mariah Carey has ever recorded, since she heard Felicia’s Song missile and copied/borrowed/used her vocal style ever since!!!”

Not only is this statement a head-scratcher, but it renders the purest form of foolishness. Granted, “All Good” was a hit and beautifully executed by Felecia and Krayzie Bone; it sounded amazing when it came out and sounds amazing today. Both the song and its corresponding music video are top-notch – and she should be credited for her performance.

However, Mariah’s entrance into the music industry came with her self-titled album in 1990, while Felicia’s introduction came via Bone in the late 90s. Before Felecia was even known, Mariah sold millions of records and recognized worldwide. Thus, Bobby’s claim that Mariah stole her “blueprint” does not make sense, nor is it plausible.

With more than ten albums under her name, Mariah has released hits after hits and represents one of the top-selling music artists of all time, selling more than 200 million records. She signifies a worldwide icon and will go down in history as one of the best female vocalists that ever belted out a note. Felecia, on the hand, has not released one solo album; aside from the Bone community, she is neither known countrywide nor worldwide.

To make Bobby’s statement even more outrageous is the assertion that Mariah utilized Felecia’s vocal style to gain success. No disrespect to Felecia because she represents a good singer in her own right. However, comparing her to Mariah in any facet is like comparing Michael Jordan to John Salley. The disparity in talent is quite evident.

Moreover, her vocal capacity does not compare to Mariah’s. It does not take an A&R executive to figure that out, for anyone with ears can tell the difference and the superiority of Mariah’s vocal range.

What motivated Bobby to make such audacious accusation is not known, but one thing is clear: his statement is nonsense, laughable, ill-advised, and makes Bone look bad.

Ironically, Bone is currently working on their long-awaited album, as a 5-member group, titled The World’s Enemy due out November 24, 2009; if Bobby continues, Bone may indeed turn into the world’s enemy.

It would be in Bone’s best interest to sit down with their manager and advise him to stop any future jargon, because if he can wildly accuse Mariah of stealing Felecia’s vocal style (while constantly yelling with various exclamation marks), there is no telling what he will say and/or do next.

If there is ever a time to showcase his professionalism, the time is now. Bobby Francis needs to find his intellectual and managerial compass and refrain from grotesque comments.

It is important to note that Mariah Carey and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony have a working relationship and have collaborated several times: In 1997, Bone appeared on Mariah’s single, “Breakdown” from her multi-platinum album Butterfly; a different version of the song titled “Breakdown (Mo Thugs Remix)” appeared on Bone’s 1998 compilation album The Collection Volume One, featuring longer verses from Krayzie Bone and Wish Bone, with an added verse from Layzie Bone, who was absent from the original song. In 1999, Mariah’s “I Still Believe” remix from her #1’s album featured Krayzie Bone and Da Brat (a similar version of the song appeared on Krayzie Bone’s Thug Mentality 1999 album with only Mariah). Moreover, in 2007, Mariah appeared on Bone’s “Lil L.O.V.E” single from the group’s Strength and Loyalty album. (Music videos were produced for each song.)

Despite such bold claim by Bobby Francis, the long-standing working relationship between Mariah Carey and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is strongly cemented and will not end in the future, for their mutual respect has been publicly noted many times.

* * *
Originally published September 24, 2009 via now-defunct Web site Examiner.com

Advertisements

Album Review: New Waves (June 2017) by Bone Thugs (Krayzie Bone & Bizzy Bone)

Standard

Sunday; June 25, 2017


With more than 30 solo albums combined, Krayzie Bone and Bizzy Bone (recognized by many as the best members) of multi-platinum-selling rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony teamed up to release a duet album entitled New Waves on June 23, 2017 under the name Bone Thugs. While promoting the album, Krayzie and Bizzy made it clear on several occasions via interviews that their forthcoming album would not be the typical Bone Thugs-N-Harmony sound, for they were pursuing a different avenue musically and experimenting with different productions that would yield a modern sound. In one interview conducted by ThisIs50.com, published on its YouTube channel on May 5, 2017, Krayzie makes that clear:

“This album, like I tell everybody, if you think you’re finna go buy a Bone Thugs-N-Harmony album, then that’s not what you gonna get … because this is something different. We’re from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, but we’re trying a different approach. This is more of an upbeat album, not like Bone like where you get the more dark, eerie feel …”

In other words, Krayzie and Bizzy were looking to deliver a commercial album to grab the attention of non-Bone fans – and that is exactly what they accomplished with New Waves.

1. Coming Home (feat. Stephen Marley)
Released as the first single on March 24, 2017 and followed with a music video on May 8, 2017, “Coming Home” represents a pleasant-sounding song that presents a smooth production by Damizza, Avedon, and Clifford Golio. The content of the song concentrates on home and how it will always be the base, despite relocation and necessary travels – a theme that many can relate to if life circumstances have caused relocation to a different city, state, or even country.

The track features a verse by each member but fails to hit the 3-minute mark. Despite the shortness (which seems to be an issue throughout the album), everyone does a good job and delivers a good song. Krayzie vocalizes the first verse nicely with his smoothness and glamorizes about how his city of Cleveland, the place he was born and raised, will always be home because that is origin of his existence. Likewise, Bizzy shares similar sentiments by vocalizing his struggles on the streets of Cleveland and how Bone, as a whole, will never forget its root. Stephen Marley blesses the chorus with his singing and comes correct.

2. If Heaven Had a Cellphone (feat. Tank)
Released as the second single on June 9, 2017 in conjunction with a music video, “If Heaven Had a Cellphone” proposes a heavenly question and the action one would take if he or she could connect with a lost loved one (or anyone) in heaven through a cellphone. Backed with a mid-tempo production, this track sounds really nice and presents the usual quick-flow delivery from Krayzie and Bizzy, both of whom delivered a single verse. R&B singer Tank complements the two verses and does a great job passionately singing the chorus, which appropriately fades as the song ends.

In reference to the theme of heaven, this track has “Tha Crossroads” ambiance. After the major success of Grammy Award-winning song “Tha Crossroads,” which sold millions as a single subsequent to its release in 1995, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s major albums have always featured a single (along with a music video) that had a similar vibe as if the record labels were trying to reproduce “Tha Crossroads.” For example, Art of War (1997) produced “If I Could Teach the World,” BTNHResurrection (2000) produced “Change The World,” Thug World Order (2002) produced “Home” feat Phil Collins, Strength & Loyalty (2007) produced “I Tried,” and Uni5: The World’s Enemy (2010) produced “Meet Me In The Sky.”

The aforementioned tracks are superior; however, “If Heaven Had a Cellphone” can be placed in the same category, not in regard to content but in regard to the ambiance that it exudes.

3. Good Person (feat. Joelle James)
As soon as this remarkably tranquil music by producer Avedon begins to play, with the amazing voice of Joelle James, one emotion instantly came to mind: this song could be special – and goodness, special it is. “Good Person” sounds terrific and begins with an appealing chorus:

“Am I a good person / or is it something I’m telling myself to sleep at night? / Please say I’m worth it / ‘cause these demons are not letting go of my crippled mind.”

Krayzie melodically vocalizes his verse like a surgeon and manipulates his style to perfectly align with the beat. Bizzy, with his unmatched voice, glides his words like a sword that cuts through fine silk cloth. Joelle James, who executes the chorus, captivates the soul with her voice.

This track pours out a mellow vibe that strikes the eardrums in all the right places. If it were not for its shortness, it would have been flawless. On a scale of 1 to 10, “Good Person” receives a 9.5.

(I personally had this track on repeat for about 30 minutes after listening to the album.)

4. Fantasy (feat. Jesse Rankins)
Released as the third single on June 16, 2017 and accompanied with a music video, “Fantasy” represents an energetic funk song. This song wreaks a mawkish feel and borderlines corniness to some degree. There are many songs produced in the genre of funk that sound great, but this does not represent one of them. The chorus by Jesse Rankins sounds horrible – not to mention the overall sound of the song. In fact, Jesse Rankins sounds like Cee-Lo Green. If this song did not reveal the feature, majority of people who initially hear the song would think it features Cee-Lo Green, and that is not a hyperbole.

Despite such horrendous song, many people will enjoy its funkiness because it presents a party atmosphere that could be played in any festivity such as a club, a birthday party, a wedding reception, and the like. For that reason, it deserves a thumbs up. Commercially speaking, “Fantasy” could have been a hit had it featured Cee-Lo Green or even a talented artist like Bruno Mars – simply because they are famous artists and have a large fan base. One of their presences alone (specifically Bruno Mars) would have facilitated more views and attention.

5. That Girl (feat. Kaci Brown)
The title of “That Girl” speaks for itself: the theme concentrates on a girl (i.e., a lost girlfriend) whom they wish to reconnect with and regain that love. Moreover, the verses in some part praise and show love to women. The wish to reconnect with a lost love is solidified as Krayzie repeats the latter part of his first verse (after Bizzy’s verse) to show how badly he wants his love. Featured artist Kaci Brown sings well and sounds nice on the chorus. That said, there is nothing exciting to say about this song, for it does not spark any moving emotions. It’s a subdued track but not a thrilling one – and comes off as bland.

However, one message that can be extracted from “That Girl” is obvious: If a man is in a relationship and “that girl” leaves for whatever reason – and he truly believes that she is/was the one – then he should do everything in his power without comprising his self-worth and morals to regain that love. The same message can be shared for a woman who breaks up with her man.

6. Let It All Out (feat. Jazze Pha)
“Let It All Out” makes a strange appearance and sounds out of place, considering the fact that Krayzie (who delivers a nice verse) appears in the opening for 30 seconds and vanishes, while Jazze Pha takes over throughout; Bizzy is not featured. This song, actually, sounds like a Jazze Pha song that features Krayzie. If one enjoys upbeat music that features an artist screaming in conjunction with uninteresting lyrics, then he/she will enjoy this. In totality, this song is horrible and represents a filler track.

7. Waves (feat. Layzie Bone, Wish Bone & Flesh-n-Bone)
From uninteresting to pure satisfaction, “Waves,” which features all five members of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, represents an attention-grabbing melody that serves as a stimulant to one’s ears. Unsurprisingly, Krayzie opens with an amazing laid-back/harmonizing flow, where he sings in part: “I love this new wave that we’re on right, can we vibe can we vibe?” There is no question regarding likability, for most people will undeniably vibe to this song. It features Bone’s signature laid-back, harmonious, and quick-tongue ingredients, which all collide seamlessly to create a great song. Producer Scott Storch deserves a notable mention for crafting an incredible beat.

8. Whatever Goes Up (feat. Jonathan Davis of Korn)
“Whatever Goes Up” has a semi-rock feel to it, which is appropriate since it features Jonathan Davis of nu metal group Korn on the chorus. It typifies a satisfactory song that will hold the attention of some and dismay others who are not fond of this style of music.

9. Cocaine Love (feat. Bun B & Jesse Rankins)
“Cocaine Love” opens with a few words by Bizzy regarding deplorable women who manipulate men:

“You better never take them panties off this bitch. She’s a blind man’s drug, baby – a hustler’s nightmare. Men sell their souls for one …. She’s known to snatch your spirit out your chest and release you to the dirt from which you come from. Son, you better never take them panties off this bitch.”

Basically, this song concentrates on women (metaphorically, a deadly drug) who may have ulterior motives and take advantage of men via manipulation, which can leave men in a bad position. Yes, she may be attractive and lovely, but her spirit may be wicked and deadly. Women are no doubt men’s biggest enticement and weakness – and this track tells men to be careful, because that temptation may lead to a disastrous outcome.

The message in “Cocaine Love” comes through and the verses by Krayzie, Bizzy and Bun B make that obvious, including the chorus by Jesse Rankins. However, the overall vibe does not break through as memorable.

10. Bad Dream (Feat. Iyaz)
The theme of disgraceful behavior by women continues in “Bad Dream” with candid lyrics. Unlike “Cocaine Love,” which warns men to be cautious, “Bad Dream” holds nothing back and viciously attack foul women with profanity and unpleasant language.

Backed with a subdued beat in the opening, Krayzie starts the song conversing with a woman after waking up from a nightmarish dream: “I had a real bad dream last night, but at least I thought it was a bad dream. But then when I woke … I was laid up next to you, I realize it was that bad dream come true.” Thereafter, the music simultaneously transitions into an up-tempo beat as Krayzie jumps into his verse and makes it clear that he does not entertain conceited women, the “fake hoes,” the “stink hoes,” the “jezebel” and would “rather talk to [him]self” and “walk by [him]self” to avoid any problems in a relationship.

The notable chorus comes in with the following: “I had a bad dream last; you were standing in a different light. When I touch my eyes to wake up, they were open all along; now I’m shaked up. Bad dream, bad dream.” Special is one word that describes this chorus.

Like Krayzie, Bizzy’s verse goes off viciously – but in a more demeaning manner with language such as “cokehead slut” and other vulgar language that focuses on a woman that may have done and/or treated him badly through betrayal.

“Bad Dream” does not typify a great song, but it’s okay. One element that strongly shines is the chorus. The chorus gleams with a nice execution by Iyaz; its amazingly catchy melody will definitely have many repeating it from time to time after one listen.

11. Gravity (feat. Yellawolf)
The production of “Gravity” has a lot of clamoring instruments, making it strangely interesting. The verses in succession by Krayzie, featured artist Yellawolf, and Bizzy are good, but it does not have a remarkable replay presence. Nonetheless, “Gravity” represents a tolerable song that one could listen to here and there without pressing the skip button when it appears on the playlist. The female singer, believed to be Shaunice Jones, does a nice job executing the chorus.

12. Bottleservice
The only song on the album that does not feature an artist, “Bottleservice” represents an up-tempo, happy-filled party song. It’s conceivable to pass by a club and hear this track loudly blasting while club-goers are crazily dancing, drinking and having a great time. Rather than getting high with weed, Krayzie and Bizzy want to get high with alcohol as Krayzie melodically vocalizes: “We’re just trying to fly through the sky, come let’s float; we’re trying to stay high rise way higher than most, rise way higher than most.”

Again, as mentioned prior, if one enjoys upbeat club music, then he/she will find this track appealing. If one does not enjoy club music, then he/she will not find it enjoyable.

13. Change the Story (feat. Uncle Murda)
“Change the Story,” an upcoming single that has a corresponding music video, touches on dead souls – a theme that Bone members in general have always touched on in their songs. Unlike “If Heaven Had a “Cellphone,” which concentrates on speaking to dead souls in heaven, this song wishes it could change the outcome of one’s demise and hope he or she was still presently living. Unsurprisingly, Krayzie delivers on the chorus as usual with his rawness. The verses by Krayzie and Bizzy are enjoyable and well executed.

Uncle Murda, on the other hand, sounds out of place and does not blend well with neither Krayzie nor Bizzy. Moreover, his rapping style does not complement the nice production by Avedon. While the styles of Krayzie and Bizzy present a serene approach, Uncle Murda’s flow presents a harsh tone. If he had elevated his verse and delivery, the song would be much better.

14. Ruthless (feat. Layzie Bone, Flesh-n-Bone & Eric Bellinger)
“Ruthless” stands as a robust track that pours out a fervent message of support for a loved one that is going through hardships. The amazing chorus says it perfectly:

“When the world has you cornered / and you can’t make a way / ‘cause time is growing shorter / not much more you can take / and oh when they’re gunnin’ with you in their sights / I’ll be your fighter, I’ll be ruthless for you / I’ll be your fighter, I’ll be ruthless for you.”

Lyrically and stylistically, Krayzie, Bizzy, Layzie and Flesh deliver noteworthy performances – not to mention Eric Bellinger who passionately croons the touching hook. “Ruthless” is so smooth throughout that it will capture most listeners’ attention once the song begins and after it ends.

15. Don’t Let Go (feat. Rico Love) Album Bonus Track
The album ends with another happy-thumping, upbeat, positive-thinking song that delivers the following message: love life, live freely, refrain from troubles, avoid negativity, enjoy every moment and opportunity – and never take life for granted, for each person has one life to live. “Don’t Let Go” represents another track that could be played at a party.

16. My Way (feat. DB Bantino) Digital Bonus Track
A nice bonus, “My Way” can only be obtained through digital download. Excluding the horrendous chorus by DB Bantino, which sounds like the current nauseating style adopted by many rap artists today, Bizzy and Krayzie deliver a hardcore, fast-spitting performance that will instantly grab the attention of long-time Bone Thugs-N-Harmony fans. The energy, the flow, the production, and the execution are on point. Krayzie and Bizzy definitely bring the heat. “My Way” could have been special, if not for the chorus. It’s hard to listen to such style of rapping from the current “hip-hop/rap artist” and not be turned off and disgusted. Nonetheless, it represents a very good song. Knowing the Bone community, an edit of the song – with the exclusion of the chorus – is probably floating around somewhere on YouTube.

Being that this is a bonus digital track and does not fit with the core sound of the album, it’s a pleasure that Krayzie, Bizzy, and their team decided to offer this rather than keeping it under wraps in a vault somewhere.

As expected, the album delivers something different and features various genres of music such as funk, R&B, techno, pop-rap, electronic and other forms. The overall sound can be characterized as friendly, upbeat, and feel-good.

New Waves is not groundbreaking, but it is a decent listen.

That said, the album presents two main issues: the brevity of songs and the overwhelming features throughout.

In regard to brevity, 9 songs (including the bonus track) on the album are less than 3 minutes. Out of those nine songs, “Coming Home,” “If Heaven Had a Cellphone,” ‘Good Person,” which are all noteworthy fall in that category. If these songs were longer, it could have propelled them to another level. It is also important to mention that both Krayzie and Bizzy deliver one verse on each song (excluding “That Girl” where Krayzie repeats the latter part of his verse, and the absence of Bizzy in “Let It All Out”). This tactic is unusual. Moreover and shockingly, the album does not feature a back-and-forth harmonious connection between Krayzie and Bizzy; instead, the songs are executed with a verse-chorus-verse-chorus motif.

In regard to features, the album features an artist on every song, with the exception of “Bottleservice,” another approach that is uncommon. Because of this, the duet-album label stands questionable, because it feels like a collaboration album and not a true duet album. Make no mistake, some of the features are great (e.g., Joelle James, Tank, Eric Bellinger, Stephan Marley, and Iyaz), but the bombardment of features can not go unnoticed.

As a whole, New Waves has some good songs, but the long-term replay value is slim to none. Will some enjoy the album from start to end? Yes. If one enjoys dance music, club music, electronic music, disco music that have an upbeat feel to it, then he or she will certainly enjoy the album. If one does not fancy such style of music, then he/she will enjoy a few songs on the album. The album produced enough styles for anyone to select a single song or multiple songs that are enjoyable.

If people can enjoy trash music from the likes of Migos, Future, Young Thug, Lil Yachty and all the current artist that share the same rapping motif, then there is no reason whatsoever for them not to enjoy this album, for it is musically better – and features two legendary artists who are actually rapping/singing rather than talking and mumbling their gums on beats.

Nonetheless, the songs that are memorable are as follows: “Waves,” “Good Person,” “If Heaven Had a Cellphone,” “Coming Home,” “Ruthless,” and “My Way.” From this list, “Good Person” stands firm as the best song on the album.

In closing, New Waves is not a bad album or a great album; it falls in the middle as a decent album with some good tracks. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s manager Steve Lobel should be applauded for bringing Krayzie Bone and Bizzy Bone together to deliver an album that thumps a different sound.

On a letter-grade scale, New Waves receives a deserving C grade; commercially, it receives an A because they accomplished the sound they were pursuing that will grab listeners who are not the long-standing Bone Thugs-N-Harmony fans.

 

Album Review: Creepin On Ah Come Up (1994) by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

Standard

In 1994 the music industry was introduced to a new group – via Eric “Eazy-E” Wright who passed away in 1995 – that brought something fresh, unique, and simply amazing.  Originating from Cleveland, Ohio, the five members of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony quickly made a name for themselves.  The quintet (Krayzie Bone, Layzie BCreepinone, Bizzy Bone, Wish Bone, and Flesh-N-Bone), usually a foursome, excluding Flesh-N-Bone, hit the scene with a stand-alone style that caught the attention of millions worldwide.

These youngsters that used to run the streets of Cleveland became instant celebrities.

With their distinctive rapid-fast raps and smooth harmonies, some probably thought they had an extra hidden tongue or a special pallet, allowing them to rap so quickly without taking a breath.  That’s how different they were.  Their style was purely awe-inspiring, and it resonated through their multi-platinum first album, executive produced by Eazy-E.

Released under Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records on June 21, 1994, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s debut album Creepin On Ah Come Up is not a lengthy album; rather, it is an 8-track EP album.

Track one, “Intro,” is a really great introduction and starts the album off perfectly.  The beat sounds smooth and subdued but ominous.  As soon as the intro begins, the listener hears guns clacking (i.e., unloading and reloading) with a muttering voice that shortly becomes apparent with a gloomy laugh, followed by a formal introduction:  “I’m back.  Straight off the … streets of Cleveland, five true thugs from the double glock, Bizzy, Wish, Krayzie, Layzie and that nigga Flesh…”

With 40 seconds left in the intro, the members join in with their harmonies:  “East 99 is where you find me slangin’ that yayo, Cleveland is the city where we come from so run run.”  Over a leisurely dark drumbeat, this chant is repeated four times, and ends with the ominous laugh of euphoria.  This opening track (1:25) flows beautifully into the following track as if they were one piece.

In fact, track two, “Mr. Ouija,” is an extension of the intro – and serves as a second introduction.  However, “Mr. Ouija” is a different track.  It is not a song but rather a harmonizing a cappella that truly shows how talented they are collectively.

Track three, “Thuggish Ruggish Bone,” represents a song that remains in one’s mind due to its catchiness.  The song begins with the voice of Pastor Calvin O. Butts who states the following:  “We’re not against rap.  We’re not against rappers.  But we are against those thugs.”

Thereafter, the song officially starts with Shatasha Williams who lends her vocals to the chorus and sings it beautifully.  All the members deliver amazing verses with their own unique style and flow, but Bizzy – who delivers the final verse – really stands out with his fiery verse and unusual but effective delivery.  Nonetheless, they all do a wonderful job and render their verses accordingly, thanks to their main producer, DJ Uneek, who sampled and crafted a pleasant beat.

In all, “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” typifies a classic song.   In fact, this song was the first single released by Bone and became an instant hit.  Not only was it a major hit, but it sold more than 500,000 copies alone, reaching gold status – something that was unheard-of at the time and even today for a single song.

Track four, “No Surrender,” is one of those songs that calls for a repeat after the first listen.  The production by DJ Uneek reaches top-notch status and Bone’s rapid-fire flow complements the hard-hitting beat nicely.  The theme of the song centers on police – mainly the hatred they have for cops due to the mistreatment (i.e., brutality and killing) of people.

Track five, “Down Foe My Thang,” has a simple but fascinating beat produced by Rhythm D.  Bone really takes advantage of the beat and just tears it up.  Their gangsta persona is clearly present in this song, supported by the chorus: “Bang bang gotta get down for my thing …”

Track six, which shares a similar title with the album, begins with a nice prelude:  “Right about now, Thugs-N-Harmony is on ah come up, so to all you bustas out there – beware.”   Considering the previous tracks, this statement is fitting.

Produced by DJ U-Neek, the beat presents a mixture of calmness and darkness, complemented with Bone’s gloomy lyrics.  This song is literally a story.  All the members share a piece of their life story/crafted story of their troubled past, and what immoral act they would like to undertake.  First, Krayzie shares his wicked thoughts with an interesting verse.  The others also share similar sentiments:  Layzie comes in with his wicked ideas, followed by Bizzy who ends the song on a right note.  “Creepin On Ah Come Up” presents wicked lyrics, but the story-like song delivered by Krayzie, Layzie, and Bizzy is amazing – not to mention the catchy chorus line.

Track seven, “Foe Tha Love of $,” is purely amazing, raw – and downright incredible.  Producer Yella gets a lot of credit on this song, because his mesmerizingly hardcore and hard-hitting production is an inferno, allowing Bone to add more fuel with their quick harmonizing tongues to start a firestorm.   This song is without a doubt a pure classic and the members murder this song, including Eazy-E who is featured on the track.  Everything about this song is flawless, as well as the video.

Moreover, “Foe Tha Love of $” was chosen as the second single for the album, and it was a big-time hit, selling over 500,000 copies alone and reaching gold status, similar to “Thuggish Ruggish Bone.”

Krayzie does the honor by ending the song with a couple of references and the mention of his Bone brothers:  “Yeah Bone in the … house for the nine-quats ….  Yeah, rollin’ with Ruthless in this …, my … Layzie Bone, Bizzy Bone, Wish Bone and Flesh-N-Bone, and I’m that … Krayzie Bone in the … house.”

“Foe Tha Love of $” is so amazing that the final track, “Moe Cheese,” continues with its instrumental, which is actually a perfect choice, considering its high-quality stature. Producer Yella also incorporates a few add-ons to make the instrumental more interesting.

As a whole, Creepin On Ah Come Up (1994) represents a timeless piece of greatness.  Bone effortlessly murdered this album from its commencement to its ending.  The producers (DJ Uneek, Yella, and Rhythm D) also deserve a bulk of the credit, for their production of beats were outstanding, including Eazy-E who takes credit for executive producer.

Unlike other albums, where one has to skip songs to find the one he or she likes, this album represents a skip-free EP; no songs deserve to be skipped or bypassed.  The album should be placed in a CD player and played throughout, from beginning to end.  Skipping a track on this CD would be a sin, for every single track is a standout.

The manner in which they collectively rap and maneuver their fast-flow lyrics in conjunction with their smooth harmonies is an unmatched talent that only they embody.  It’s simply crafty and stands alone.  Ever since their inception, their unique style – so infectious – inspired many artists to imitate, but none has been able to equal their stylistic manner of flow.

For a debut album, Creepin On Ah Come Up (which only has 5 full-length songs) cannot get any better, for it is flawless.  In fact, it sold 4 million-plus copies in the United States, rendering it quadruple-platinum status.  Moreover, it sold 5 million-plus worldwide.  Incredibly, the album garnered two major hits with “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” and “Foe Tha Love of $,” which went gold (500,000 units sold) on their lonesome as singles.

In the early 90s, such accomplishment was unheard-of in the hip-hop/rap genre, but Bone was different and made history.  Their history-making and success would continue in the following years.

All in all, this EP album is a perfect ten – not to mention a classic.  Bone Thugs-N-Harmony entered the scene with a bang and that is why they are currently active in the music industry and planning to release another album titled The World’s Enemy late 2009.  Being in the industry for 15 years – and selling millions worldwide – is why they are considered one of the greatest and influential groups of all time.

***
[Originally published February 28, 2008 on now-defunct Examiner.com]

 

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony appears live on Shade 45’s Lip Service

Standard

October 27, 2009


Monday, October 26, 2009, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony sat down with provocative radio hosts Angela Yee and Leah Rose of Lip Service to speak about their upcoming album, the group reuniting after ten years, and miscellaneous subjects (including sex talk).

Bizzy Bone was not present for good reasons; according to the members, he stayed behind in Los Angeles, California to attend court-ordered drug rehabilitation classes, while the rest of the members took the trip to New York to promote their approaching album Uni5: The World’s Enemy.  The four other members, Krayzie Bone, Layzie, Wish Bone, and Flesh-n-Bone, held it down, however, and gave a shout out to Bizzy Bone and stated everything with him is great.

This was not a conventional interview but rather a laid back, carefree, and playful interview throughout.  It was quite entertaining and humorous – and perhaps one of the most lighthearted interviews they have ever done.  It lasted approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.  The entertainment and questions were countless, so this piece will feature a brief recap of what went down via bullet points.

  • Indirect question regarding so-called breakup

Naturally, this indirect question was fitting, considering the group’s constant foursome and trio appearance due to Bizzy Bone’s off-and-on presence (after Flesh-n-Bone was sentenced to prison).  Wish Bone stated all families have fights and problems, but the group never broke up and was always intact; members were just doing their own things, but they always had plans to come together as a five-member group when Flesh-n-Bone was released from prison.  (Flesh was released July 13, 2008.)

  • Regarding hometown of Cleveland

They talked about how Cleveland is one of the poorest cities in America, and how everything is basically the same since they left.  Even though they were born and raised in Cleveland, they said they have houses elsewhere and live outside of Ohio.  Flesh-n-Bone stated he has not visited Cleveland since his release in 2008, but has plans to visit his hometown in the future.

  • Question regarding reality show

Krayzie Bone stated the group would partake in a reality show, but it has to be under the right circumstances.  He added that they are looking for a show that depicts them as professional businessmen and not as a bunch of idiots.  The group actually had a pending reality show titled Living In Harmony, where several footages were already recorded, but Bone’s manager Bobby Francis recently revealed that the show was canceled because it was not the right situation.

  • Question regarding sharing and fighting over women

They emphatically said they have never sexually shared women, or had women come between their friendships because they have boundaries:  never mess with a woman that your friend and/or family is involved with.  In a disgusting voice, Krayzie Bone said, “That’s nasty to me.”

  • Question regarding leader of group

Throughout the group’s career, the question of who’s the leader has been asked several times, and the answer has remained the same:  there is no leader (but Layzie Bone takes credit as the unofficial spokesman).   The members basically said each member is a leader and plays his role and contributes when need be.  When it’s time to speak out, they emphasized that there is no problem, because they have known each other since they were kids and have a close relationship.  Thus, speaking out on any matter, especially regarding music, is natural.

  • Question regarding best fighter in the group

This segment was rather funny.  Krayzie Bone, with some added bass to his voice, said he would beat the [expletive] out of them.  Layzie Bone jumped in with rejection, claiming his bigger brother and eldest member Flesh-n-Bone could beat up everybody (and faintly added his name in the equation for approval).  Wish Bone, strongly rejected with two words:  “Hell no!”

  • Account regarding Flesh-n-Bone’s prison fight

Sticking to the subject, Flesh-n-Bone revealed a hilarious story about a fight that he had in prison with a troublemaker, stating that he abused this fellow inmate from one side of the gym to the other and left him bloodied – so bloodied that he was sent to the infirmary.

  • Question regarding relationships while in prison

One host asked the members a complex question pertaining to “would [they] wait for a woman who had a 10-year prison stint.”  Wish Bone jokingly said yes, but staying monogamous would be out of the question.  Layzie Bone said that every man would wait for his woman but, at the same time, he would sleep around until she is released.  The question was sparked when Flesh-n-Bone revealed that his 10-year prison stint caused his marriage to dissolve.

  • Question regarding Flesh-n-Bone’s transition, prison to real world

Flesh-n-Bone stated his transition went rather smoothly, but he did have to get accustomed to the new technology.  For example, he saw someone talking without any device in his hand and thought the person was crazy.  However, the person had an earpiece (i.e., Bluetooth) and he had no idea what it was, which generated some laughter.

In the latter part of the interview, R&B singer Omarion came into the studio and embraced and shared a few words with Bone.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony also talked about their new album and what new style they are bringing as a five-member group.  Their leading single “See Me Shine” featuring Jay Rush, Lyfe Jennings, and Phaedra was also played twice – at the beginning and near the end.

Unsurprisingly, they announced a new release date of December 22, 2009(?) for UNI-5: The World’s Enemy; this is actually the sixth time the album has been pushed back.

Overall, the interview was interesting.  Angela Yee and Leah Rose are known for their provocatively sexual tone, and they did not shy away from that motif with Bone.  They presented a carefree atmosphere and Bone reciprocated that vibe.

Lip Service, the two-hour show, comes on every Monday night on Sirius at 8:00 PM.

***
Originally published October 27, 2009 on now-defunct Examiner.com