Bone Thugs N' Harmony - Bone4Life   
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written by James Johnson   
Twelve years ago, no one could have predicted that Bone Thugs N Harmony would be in their current position. After hard work and grinding, not to mention they’re now historical bus trip to Los Angeles, and later back to Cleveland in efforts to meet Eazy E, they finally got what they were looking for. Eazy E took the fellas, Krayzie, Layzie, Bizzy, Wish, & Flesh, under his wings and guided them to immediate success. Of course, Flesh, due to his many legal matters, wasn’t always afford the opportunity of kicking it with them, but the remaining members held it down, releasing smash after smash throughout the first few years of their careers.

Following the death of Eazy E, things took a turn for the worst. Problems within the group begin to surface, beginning with Bizzy Bone missing a string of promotional dates. This would go on for the remainder of their career, giving fans a first-hand look at the idea that Bone Thugs N Harmony may soon be done and over. Much of the trouble was chalked up to a bad deal with Ruthless Records, yet, once the deal was complete and they left the label, the problems continued to trail behind. Over the past few years, Bizzy Bone has left the group and returned on numerous occasions. They’re last album, “Thugs World Order”, suggested that all problems had been mended once and for all, and everyone was on the up and up. Nevertheless, when the supporting tour took off, many of the dates only featured Krayzie, Layzie, and Wish, although they were all promoted with the idea that all four members would be present on all stops. Needless to say, that issue, as well as everything throughout their career has caused their fan base to dwindle.

Now, with Bizzy Bone on the outs yet again, the group has now chosen to forge forward without him, eliminating Bizzy once and for all. They recently signed with Swizz Beats and his Full Surface Records, and according to Bizzy himself, he hasn’t been allowed opportunity to record with them, despite many attempts. They have indeed moved on. Their first release with Swizz won’t come for some time, yet, they’ve already stewed up their first offering via their own independent label, titled “Bone 4 Life”. Put together as an exclusive recording, the album was only sold via their website for about one week before being removed. The album, which only features production from long-time Bone producer DJ Uneek, includes six newly recorded tracks, four of which also have radio versions, in addition to four songs from artists they plan to guide through the industry, including long-time Mo Thug member Felecia and newly attained Cleveland artist Lil Chico.

Of the six new tracks from Bone Thugs, the mot popular will probably be “Put Yo Hands Up”, which is as close as they’ve come in years to their East 1999 sound. The biggest problem the fellas will face is reinventing themselves and managing to remain original. They attempt to grab hold of the party crowd with “Playa”, but that’s so far from their style. Wish singing the hook doesn’t make matters any better. Production on the remaining four songs fails to match their style, let alone the topic they are confronting. Krayzie seems the most on point lyrically, followed distantly by Layzie. Wish has completely lost his edge, and may need to re-evaluate. I think they may be too concerned with trying to come back hard with a hit, and they aren’t putting the hard work in. Then again, being that it’s an underground release, we really have no idea how old the songs are, and they may not even be new material. Nevertheless, much of it probably should have never see the light of day.

Hopefully, this isn’t even a taste of what we have to look forward to from their new deal. With Swizz, they clearly have a chance at regaining some of their past success. If they work hard, he will work equally, considering that with Cassidy being indefinitely incarcerated, Bone Thugs will be his headlining act. For anyone who is serious about the music they purchase, I probably would not recommend “Bone 4 Life”.

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