It is hard to believe that Bone Thugs~N~Harmony have been in the game for over ten years. In 1994 their classic EP Creepin On Ah Come Up made huge waves across the nation, while their follow up, E.1999 Eternal cemented them as Hip Hop heavyweights. Since then, Bone has gone through their fair share of trials and tribulations. From rampant break up rumors, to shady dealings by Ruthless Records, the Bone family has seen it all. Now off Ruthless and looking for a new home (probably with Swizz Beatz' Full Surface Records), Bone is looking to regain their once dominant swagger. Their latest release is a side project by Bizzy and Layzie Bone entitled Bone Brothers. But unfortunately, fans will have to wait a little longer if they intended to hear that vintage Bone sound they have been waiting for.
Bone Brothers is a rushed and poorly focused album. The LP was recorded on a tour bus in only a week's time (give or take) and the end results are proof of this. Stale concepts, rushed rhymes and poor production plague the album heavily. Self & Deenucka provide most of the beats on the album and unfortunately their cut and paste production drag the album down considerably.
The screeching violins of "Complicated" make for an irritating backdrop for Bone and Tha Outlawz to work off. While the track's hook only adds to the suffering. The generic run toting tales of "Blow You Away" featuring Skano, and "No Rules" featuring Mo Thugs are more contrived efforts that epitomize filler material. Other efforts such as "Str8 Ridaz", which suffers due to Self & Deenucka's lusterless piano loop, and "Dickrider" also fail to make their mark.
While they are few and far in between, there are some memorable moments on Bone Brothers. The fitting vocal sample of "What's Friends" plays perfectly with the track's message of backstabbing associates. The underrated Treach comes through for a solid appearance on the mesmerizing "Real Life". Self & Deenucka's lavish keys combine with Bizzy's alluring hook for a true Bone Thugs experience. However, the album's best track is the vintage Bone collaboration of "Everyday". With everyone finally on the same page, each member delivers an outstanding performance.
Bone Brothers was an album constructed in only a week and the final product is evident of that. While it is great to hear Layzie and Bizzy together for a whole album, Bone fans know the duo is capable of putting together a better album. With better beat selection, Bone should be able to recapture that classic sound we have yearned for over the years. But until then, fans will have to settle for average albums like Bone Brothers.