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Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (and solo work)

Reviewed on this page:
Creepin' On Ah Come Up - E. 1999 Eternal - T.H.U.G.S. Trues Humbly United Gathering Souls - Family Scriptures - The Art Of War - A New Breed Of Female - Family Scriptures Chapter II: Family Reunion - Heaven'z Movie - Thug Mentality 1999 - Ghetto Street Pharmacist - BTNHResurrection - Mo Thugs III: The Mothership - The Gift - Thug By Nature - Thug On Da Line - Thug World Order - Alpha And Omega - Gemini: Good Vs. Evil - Bone Brothers - Thug Stories - Strength & Loyalty

Not merely the biggest hip hop act in the history of Cleveland, the Bone Thugs are one of the few bright spots in the current state of the music. When I started listening to hip hop in 1984, I often had a great deal of trouble understanding the rappers because they talked so fast. My ears are better now (all of ours are), and these guys are the first rappers I've heard since those early days who challenge me with the speed of their delivery. If that was all they did, though, they'd be a bewildering curiosity - fortunately, they also come up with wonderful mellow R&B grooves (courtesy of DJ U-Neek and his proteges) and soulful harmony vocals, adding depth to their often violent urban tales. The group was brought to prominence by former N.W.A. member Eazy-E, and since his death they've paid respect to him while rising to greater heights. Like the Wu-Tang Clan, the Bone Thugs have become a virtual industry unto themselves, with numerous spinoffs, protegés, and solo projects, most of which I haven't reviewed yet.

There are a lot of Bone Thugs fan sites, and I haven't looked at them all. Lil' Ripster's page looks pretty good. (DBW)

Krayzie Bone (Anthony Henderson), Bizzy Bone (Bryan McCane), Layzie Bone (Steven Howse), Wish Bone (Charles Shruggs Jr.), Flesh-N-Bone (Stanley Howse), all vocals; DJ U-Neek, DJ, producer.

Faces Of Death (B.O.N.E.: 1993)
At this point the group's name, B.O.N.E., stood for "Beatin' On Niggaz Everyday." Released before the group's association with Eazy-E, this record didn't sell much and is now a collector's item. (DBW)

Creepin' On Ah Come Up (1994)
Eazy-E produced this eight-song EP, and appeared on the single "For Tha Luv Of $" (which also appears in instrumental form as "Moe Cheese"). A smash success - selling four million copies - and the high-speed rapping against mellow, downtempo synth loops ("No Surrender") became the blueprint for the band's sound. There are also a couple of elements here that didn't stick: the ominous synthesized voice on "Intro" disappeared, and the female backing vocals on "Thuggish Ruggish Bone" (from Shatasha Wiliams) and "For Tha Luv Of $" were rarely heard again. A good pickup at EP prices, though it's not entirely solid ("Mr. Quija" overdoes its "Mo Murda" chant; the title cut drags a bit) and they got better mileage out of their routine on future full-length releases. (DBW)

E. 1999 Eternal (1995)
After the commotion produced by the preceding release, E. 1999 Eternal debuted at #1 and sold over 5 million copies... it's pretty good, too. The group's mix of triple-time rhymes, luscious vocal harmonies and slow deliberate grooves was firmly in place - it all works on tha single "Tha Crossroads," which went double platinum and won a Grammy. At album length, though, the approach wears out its welcome: U-Neek relies so heavily on high synth squiggles you get the impression his keyboard doesn't have any other settings, and the lyrical preoccupation with death and destruction is limiting ("Mo' Murda," "Die Die Die"). The Poetic Hustlaz and Graveyard Shift make their first appearances on the closing "Shotz To The Double Glock." Produced by U-Neek, exec. produced by Eazy-E. (DBW)

T.H.U.G.S. Trues Humbly United Gathering Souls (Flesh-N-Bone: 1996)
As I understand it, Flesh-N-Bone isn't technically a Bone Thug, but he clearly isn't downplaying his connection with them, from the disc's title to the slow, simmering instrumental backing. Layzie Bone and Krayzie Bone even guest on "Playa Hater." But Flesh-N-Bone has much more focus on religion: the disc opens with the Lord's Prayer; Run appears in minister mode, delivering a sermon ("Reverend Run Sermon") and adding vocals to "World So Cruel"; spiritual concerns dominate the title track and "Mystic Spirits," among others. But don't be dismayed: there are also straight-up party tunes like "Nothin But Da Bone In Me" and "Crazy By The Flesh." The main problem here is a lack of variety: despite the guests (also including Fat Joe), Flesh-N-Bone's soft-spoken, rapid-fire delivery doesn't project enough personality to carry this 17-song, 70-minute collection. The production is mostly by Damon Elliott, though Bobby Jones, Tony C, Rhythm D, Krayzie Bone and Ted Harmon also contribute, and it's similarly short on excitement: the music is servicable throughout, but without U-Nik's bizarre touches it gets wearying by album's end. (DBW)

Family Scriptures (Mo Thugs: 1996)
Compilation of tracks by assorted Bone Thug protegés, but they don't make the most of their shot: Ken Dawg - if you couldn't tell from the name - is a Snoop Dogg clone ("Playa In Me"). Female trio Tré takes "sassy" to self-parodic proportions on "Here With Me," though "Take Your Time" is passable imitation En Vogue). Everyone comes together on three numbers: the dramatic "Thug Devotion" (based on the Earth Wind & Fire song), "No Pretender" and the extended title track. Various producers including Krayzie (as Anthony Henderson), Archie Blaine, Bobby Jones and Paul O'Neil; no one strays much from the Bone-approved combination of fast rhymes and slow keyboards - most of which were played by Jones - except on the calypso-inflected second half of Krayzie's solo feature "Mo Murder." But even when it's not done particularly well, the crew's mix of enthusiasm and relaxation is bracing (Souljah Boy's "Low Down"), and the arrangements are exacting (II Tru's "Ghetto Bluez," with a nice Layzie guest shot), (DBW)

Trials And Tribulations (Poetic Hustlaz: 1997)
This Mo Thug act consists of Tony Tone, Boogy Nikke, and Mo!Hart. (DBW)

The Art Of War (1997)
The departure of Eazy-E cleared the way for the band to get even better. All the elements that made E. 1999 successful are still present, and there are three big improvements: the rhymes cover a lot more ground, often cosmically spiritual ("If I Could Teach The World"). Secondly, the sung and chanted melodies are far more memorable ("Get Cha Thug On," "U Ain't Bone"). Lastly, U-Neek has added a great deal of variety to his backing tracks, including acoustic piano and atonal strings (presumably inspired by Wu-Tang producer RZA), so they're both attention-grabbing and soothing ("Mind Of A Souljah"). The sound is no less effective when they speed up the tempo, as with the funky "Wasteland Warriors," based, like most cuts here, on a keyboard riff. Together with the rapid-fire rhyming, you end up with a two-hour experience that never gets repetitive or stale. Tupac Shakur guests on one track ("Thug Luv") and it's nonstop gunfire and celebration of violence, jarringly different from the mood of the rest of the album - I'll refrain from further comment. Probably the group's high point. (DBW)

A New Breed Of Female (II Tru: 1997)
Brina and Jhaz are II Tru, the Bone Thugs' version of a female hip hop act. They're forceful and dynamic, so they can hold up their end on both uptempo shouters (title track) and mellower fare (the languid "Summer Time," with Ken Dawg). But because they're not terribly original, they don't bring enough personality to put over tunes based on everyday loops, and there are a lot of those ("Are You Ready," based on an old Peaches & Herb hit; "Shyste"). Similarly, the lyrics are capably put together but uninspired, covering well-ploughed ground without a new message or imagery ("Mothers Reminisce"). Layzie and Krayzie appear on "So High"; Flesh, Tombstone, Sin and Dawg guest on the rousing "Two Hits And Pass." Produced by Archie Blaine except for two Krayzie tracks. (DBW)

Family Scriptures Chapter II: Family Reunion (Mo Thugs: 1998)
Another "people we promised favors to" compilation, and easily the best record of that type I've ever heard. Bone Thugs auxiliary artists featured here include II Tru, Ken Dawg, Poetic Hustlaz, Felecia, Souljah Boy and more, with lots of guest appearances by Krayzie and Layzie. U-Nik (or U-Neek, however he wants to spell it) didn't have anything to do with this disc - production is handled by Damon Elliott, Anthony Henderson, Romeo Antonio and others - but the vibe is basically the same: deliberate and endlessly tuneful. The first two songs (Mo Thug Family's "Mighty Mighty Warrior" and Souljah Boy's "Mighty Mo Thug") are brilliant, uplifting but lowdown - Earth Wind & Fire meets G-funk. Two songs by the full Family also deliver: the hilarious "Ghetto Cowboy" and the lengthy closing "Otherside." Even most of the lightweight tracks have heavy grooves ("Pimpin' Ain't Easy" by II Tru; "Mo Thuggin'" by Poetic Hustla'z). There's a lot of variety but consistent quality, and the disc is relatively easy to find cheap, so keep your eyes open. (DBW)

Heaven'z Movie (Bizzy Bone: 1998)
Largely self-produced under the alias "B.B. Gambini"; partner producers include Mike Smoov, Johnny J and Mafisto among others. Bizzy follows the format of a Bone Thugs release but with only a fraction of the restless energy and catchiness... much like his followup The Gift. The samples are obvious ("Thugz Cry," based on "When Doves Cry"), and the string of Mafia imagery is more so ("Waitin' For Warfare"). But there are some effective grooves nonetheless (the furious, focused "Social Studies"; "Menensky Mobbin'"), and refreshing humor ("Let us all sing along in the words of the old Negro spiritual," a voice intones before the hook of "(The Roof Is) On Fire"). (DBW)

The Collection, Volume One (1998)
Seems a bit early to be releasing a greatest hits album, but nobody asked me. (DBW)

Thug Mentality 1999 (Krayzie Bone: 1999)
Krayzie produced a bunch of tracks on this double CD, and so did a lot of other people; U-Neek only gets one cut, "Where My Thugz At." It doesn't make much difference in the sound: it's more or less the same smooth, synth-hook with touches of strings that's been the Bone Thugs trademark for years. It's not easy to make a double album all in the same style without getting dull, but Krayzie pulls it off again, with one pounding, tuneful groove after another: "World War," "Thug Mentality," "Payback Iz A Bitch," "When I Die" (featuring Fat Joe, Big Punisher and Cuban Link). Other guests include Naughty By Nature's Treach, Snoop Dog, Kurupt and Mariah Carey (remaking her own "I Still Believe"), in addition to the usual Thug crew: Graveyard Shift, Souljah Boy, Felecia. The female vocal group Up In Clouds adds lovely backing to "Smoke & Burn," and there's some musical variety on the reggae closer "Revolution" featuring The Marley Brothers, and the ganja paean "Smokin' Budda." I could've done without all the between-song skits, there aren't as many vocal harmonies as on a Bone Thugs band project, and Krayzie works from a very limited lyrical palette (the word "Thug" is in the title of seven different songs), but this is still a consistently enjoyable effort. (DBW)

Ghetto Street Pharmacist (DJ U-Neek: 1999)
Producer U-Neek steps out from behind the turntables to rap on a few cuts, but mostly this is a showcase for his proteges: Female singing group Gemini impresses with a couple of love songs: "Now That I'm Over You" and the single "Doctor Doctor" (with Bizzy). E.W.F. (not to be confused with EW&F) is the male vocal group, sort of a Bonez II Men ("Blaze"). The aptly-named Jagg is a hyper rapper like the Bones ("Bring It On"), while L-Jay ("California Streets") and NytOwl ("On Deck") are more laid-back. All of the above appear on the dramatic statement of purpose "We Come To Serve Em" (also present in a remix), and still more obscure talents also get their shots (Dekumposed is featured on "Woe Is I," based on an Al Green vamp). It's even more varied than you'd expect, because U-Neek pushes himself as a producer to come up with unique backdrops: "Murda Murda" (with Layzie) and "Bring It On" stick close to the classic Bone Thugs sound, but elsewhere he comes up with unusual combinations of keyboard sounds and irresistable hooks (the pounding "Ain't No Love"). Plus, the brief interlude "Hard" is one of the funniest seduction numbers you'll ever hear. (DBW)

BTNHResurrection (2000)
No surprises, but it's high-quality Thug product - strings, dance-friendly drum loops, high-pitched G-funk keyboard hooks, tongue-tripping vocals. There are lots of nice touches: "JT" Thomas's "Souljahs Marching" makes good use of eerie synthesized pizzacato strings opposite rhythm guitar chicks; syncopated organ and guitar behind the popwise synth hook on "No Way Out." Not as much singing as Art Of War, focusing on rapid-fire rapping, though are a couple of exceptions: female vocal group David's Daughters appears on "The Righteous Ones," while U-Neek's "Weed Song" is a tender New Jack Swing ode to, well, weed. The furious "Battlezone" is one high point, but there's not a weak track here - even the bonus track "One Night Stand" has more going for it than most artists' entire albums. Big B is the only guest rapper ("Change The World," built on the chord changes of "
Little Red Corvette"). About half the tracks are produced by U-Neek ("Ecstasy"), the rest by Thomas, LT Hutton or Darren Vegas, and they're all more or less out of the same bag. (DBW)

Fifth Dog Lets Loose (Flesh-N-Bone: 2000)

Mo Thugs III: The Mothership (Mo Thugs: 2000)
By now each Bone Thug had his own set of proteges, and this album features Layzie's. As a result, the cast is almost entirely different from the 1998 Mo Thugs compilation. There are two holdovers: Ken Dawg presents the mellow, Rhodes-based "It Don't Stop" while Felecia duets with Layzie on "This Ain't Livin'," one of the album's highlights, based on a sample of the Crusaders hit "Street Life." Production is mostly from Thin C., Rich E. and Darren Vegas - Mike Smoov also produced two tracks, and Flesh-N-Bone's moving "If I Can Go Back" is by Damond Elliot - and the sound is closer to standard-issue sample-and-loop hip hop than the Bone Thugs norm. Desperidos get five of the disc's sixteen tracks, and they show a similar lack of personality: just another five guys trading lines about life on the streets, without any particular verve or originality. The bottom-heavy "Tighten Up Your Operation" is probably the best of their bunch. Similarly, Freaky-G and Emmortal Thugs contribute the mostly shouted gangsta epic "Last Laugh." Female vocal group Potion apparently wrote their pleasant contribution "Wanna Be Ballers," produced by Rich E. Most jarring moment: Layzie's young son Jeremy adds vocals chillingly beyond his years to "The Backyard." (DBW)

The Collection, Volume Two (2000)

The Gift (Bizzy Bone: 2001)
On his own Bizzy Bone lacks inspiration, with the usual triple-time rhymes and high-pitched sung vocals, but no memorable vocal melodies - he tends to sing-song - or lyrics. His only powerful, coherent rhymes are on the prison meditation "Before I Go"; otherwise he frequently falls into anti-gay or misogynistic rants ("Whole Wild World") - maybe the full group had the same tendency, but I never noticed it - which makes the closing "Jesus" even more grating than it would otherwise be. Some guests would have helped to break up the monotony and introduce other viewpoints: due to his lack of message, the overall impression isn't singleminded intensity, just a lack of ideas. The record's consistently listenable anyway, thanks to the production by Darren Vegas: he builds solid vamps and clever hooks (high-pitched keyboards on "Schizophrenic," engaging (if fake) steel drums on "Don't Be Dumb"), and keeps shifting the arrangements (washes of keyboards, frequent but small variations in drums and bass). He doesn't stick with a single formula, blending retro Rhodes with G-Funk squiggly synth on "Still Thuggish Ruggish," using aggressive bass synth to drive "Murderah," wheeling out lyrical guitar and crashing snare on "Don't Doubt Me." It's still in U-Neek's keyboard-heavy, lite R&B mold, but even more eclectic - clashing sharply with the one-note nature of Bizzy's performance. (DBW)

Thug By Nature (L-Burna a.k.a. Layzie Bone: 2001)
As befell other great talent combinations (e.g. Three's Company), the individual Bones aren't worth much on their own (Krayzie excepted). While Bizzy's concurrent solo release is too heavy on mile-a-minute sung vocals and chants, Layzie goes to the opposite extreme with too many subdued raps over unmelodic loops ("Battlefield"). Since his lyrics and delivery don't set him apart from the crowd and there are almost no guests - Aaron Hall is on "There They Go" while Big Chan and Flesh-N-Bone drop in on "Still The Greatest" - Layzie's monotonous delivery gets old fast. But there are several solid tunes: "Time Will Tell," with a Bone-style high-speed chorus and synth strings; the fast-paced, Dre Ghost-produced "My Niggaz," with a prominent triangle; "Deadly Music" (produced by Thin C and Buddy Banks), which makes good use of an acoustic bass sample; "Make My Day" featuring Baby S, with a bossa nova trombone part(!). If you don't hold him up to the expectations of the full group, this is decent enough. Nearly every track has a different producer, most of them new to me except for Darren Vegas ("Up Against The Wall," "Listen") and Damon Elliott ("Smoke On"). (DBW)

Thug On Da Line (Krayzie Bone: 2001)
Krayzie fine-tuned the U-Neek production blueprint, with slightly faster tempos, more aggressive beats, and keyboards used as accents rather than the basis of looped hip hop/soul grooves. Those changes move the project closer to standard-issue hip hop, but it's well done ("Can't Hustle 4 Ever," a "don't be a gangsta" PSA interpolating "Theme From Mahogany"), and a pleasant change if you're a Bone fan. However, there are no devastating individual tracks, and Krayzie's thematic monotony (this time six songs have "Thug" in the title) is wearing. The changes of pace are hit and miss: the gospelly "Time After Time" is moving; the obligatory reggae adventure ("Da Thugs") is mediocre; and "Rollin' Up Some Mo'," based on the novelty hit "Mambo No. 5," is just silly. Krayzie produced "Time After Time," "Kneight Riduz Wuz Here" and "Hard Time Hustlin'"; other producers include the Co-Stars, LT Hutton, Darren Clowers, Tim Feehan, Def Jef, Lofey, Damizza, the Neptunes, LS, Vachk and Super Sako. Contrasting with Bizzy's misogyny, Krayzie turns over a fair amount of album space to women, both rappers - protege Lareece, whose forthcoming album is hyped in the liner notes, is on seven tracks, and the long-silent Boss ("A Thugga' Level") - and singers: Tiffany - yes, the 80s pop princess - recalls Debbie Harry on "Talk To Myself," while Kelis is uncharacteristically reserved on the Neptunes' "I Don't Know What." A placeholder release, good enough to placate fans but nothing to get excited about. (DBW)

Thug World Order (2002)
Same Bone time, same Bone channel: I confess I don't have anything new to say about the combination of laid-back loops, vocal harmonies and machine-gun rapping. They still deliver the goods more often than not ("Bone, Bone, Bone"; "Get Up & Get It" with 3LW and Felecia) though at times the tackiness gets out of control: the remake of Phil Collins's "Home" is as unlistenable as the original. Bosco's "Bad Weed Blues" - a slow soul groove telling the sad story of a bad bag - is another highlight; mostly the material isn't fresh but it's tuneful and sometimes memorable ("Pump, Pump" produced by Alvin Clark; "Money, Money"). U-Neek produced about half the tracks; other producers include Armando Colon (the "save the children" number "What About Us"), the Platinum Brothers ("Get Up & Get It"), Rico Wade ("Guess Who's Back"), Def Jef ("Set It Straight"), Self ("Money, Money") and LT Hutton ("Cleveland Is The City," a soulful remake of Ian Hunter's "Cleveland Rocks"). Bizzy's last record with the group: he was kicked out later that year. (DBW)

The Movement (Mo Thugs: 2003)
I think this is mostly Layzie's proteges again: Felecia (title track), Ken Dawg, et al. (DBW)

Alpha And Omega (Bizzy Bone: 2004)
Well, Bizzy wasn't going down without a fight: "Died 4 U" is a blistering, though sad, attack on Krayzie for kicking him out of the group. Most of the album, though, concerns the shooting death of his foster brother Capo Confucious, giving the lyrics more focus than Bizzy usually has ("My Niggaz"). The bargain basement production is by M'Shala, Darrell L. Johnson ("Murdah"), Kenny McCloud ("Better Run, Better Hide") or Bizzy ("All In Together"). The beats are basic, with minimal instrumentation - "Sit Back Relax," which replays the Taxi theme beneath a pro-pot chorus - but nonetheless effective ("All In Together"). Virtually no guests apart from Brian Parker (the single "I Understand"), but this time out he doesn't need them ("Not Afraid"). (DBW)

We Workin' (Layzie Bone & G'Sta: rec. 2004, rel. 2009)

Gemini: Good Vs. Evil (Krayzie Bone: 2005)
In line with the title concept, Krayzie shows both his violent ("Murda Music") and humanist ("Lock Down Love") sides, and more interestingly, combines them both on the phenomenal "Don't Know Why" (based on a sample from Depswa). "Get'chu Twisted," produced by Lil Jon, combines his usual sky-high keyboards with Bone's usual speed-sung melodies and solid rhythmic base - a remix features verses from the other three Bone Thugs. Krayzie produced only "All I'm Hearing," with most of the production from Hutton (the tender Flesh-N-Bone tribute "I Remember"), 5150 ("There's That Bone"), and several others. There are a couple of bad trips ("Let's Live"), and no particular new ground, but it's another credible solo effort. (DBW)

It's Not A Game (Layzie Bone: 2005)

Bone Brothers (Layzie Bone/Bizzy Bone: 2005)
Wish guests on one track ("Everyday") and Krayzie appears on six ("What's Friends"), so it's essentially a full Bone reunion. Most cuts produced by Self & Deenucka, and they don't stray far from the usual blueprint, putting medium-gear soul loops under Bizzy and Layzie's menacing lyrics ("No Rules"; "Str8 Ridaz"). There are a couple of pleasant surprises, though: the celebratory "Hip Hop Baby" and "Complicated" featuring The Outlawz, with a hilarious, Biz Markie-style resinging of the Avril Lavigne hook. The attempts at slow jams are rather embarrassing, with a lack of subtlety that would shock R. Kelly: "Give It To Me" featuring Felecia (by now Mrs. Layzie); "Need Your Body." The Bones are extremely prolific, both solo and in various group configurations, and you don't need to check out every release: you won't regret picking this up, but you won't kick yourself for passing it up either. Also this year, BTNH released an internet-only album, Bone 4 Life, entirely produced by DJ U-Neek. (DBW)

Thug Stories (2006)
With Flesh-N-Bone in prison and Bizzy expelled, the group is just Krayzie, Lazyzie and Wish. Issued on Koch rather than a major label, this is a minor release - one step above a mixtape - rushed out to assure the faithful that a "real" Bone Thugs release was forthcoming. Nevertheless, it's got everything you expect from the group: tongue-tripping rhymes, soulful melodies, and rapid changes between heartless aggression ("Fire"), and tender ruminations ("This Life"). Loads of producers including The Platinum Brothers (title track) and Kush N Kato ("So Sad"); U-Neek is back for one tune, the misogyny anthology "She Got Crazy." (DBW)

Thug Brothers (Layzie Bone/Young Noble: 2006)

Thug's Revenge (Bizzy Bone: 2006)

Strength & Loyalty (2007)
A high profile comeback, loaded with name guests and recognizable samples. Some of these work out better than others: Mariah Carey basically steals "Lil Love," and Yolanda Adams is terrific on the gospel "Order My Steps (Dear Lord)." Felecia also delivers on a remake of Brenda Russell's "So Good So Right," and The Game and will.i.am are surprisingly bearable on "Streets." On the other hand, Akon doesn't bring much to leadoff single "I Tried," Swizz Beatz is painfully dull on "Bump In The Trunk," and the sample of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" is tacky ("Wind Blow"). Often, the group is better when they forget the bells and whistles and stick to their usual hood tales ("9mm") and philosophizing ("Sounds The Same"). (DBW)

Bone Brothers 2 (Bizzy Bone/Layzie Bone: 2007)

T.H.U.G.S. (2007)
A collection of rarities plus outtakes from the previous two albums. (DBW)

Mr. Ouija (Bizzy Bone: rec. 2006-7, rel. 2011)

Bone Brothers III (Bizzy Bone/Layzie Bone: 2008)

Ruthless (Bizzy Bone: 2008)
Another no-frills Bone release, with bargain basement beats and few guests: Layzie, Pitbull and Rick Ross turn up on one track each. Unlike on Alpha And Omega, though, this time Bizzy has nothing much to say, just spinning out one positive self-assessment after another ("Get Bizzy"), plus strikingly obvious, self-explanatory "4 The Ladies." The backing tracks feature an unusual focus on orchestral instrumentation, with just a few samples - "One Nation Under A Groove" on "Get High," for example - but they almost never rise above the level of merely functional ("Rollercoaster"). On the upside, though, "Gangsta" is an astonishing display of Bizzy's nonstop 900 MPH delivery. (DBW)

Thugz Nation (Layzie Bone: 2008)
There's definitely more star power here than on Bizzy's album which came out the same day: production comes by way of Danja (the curiously syncopated "Bone Thugs Boys") and Swizz Beatz ("Toast 2 That"), and a long guest list headed by Krayzie, Wish and Mr. Criminal. The musical palette is broad, mostly midtempo as usual but with instrumentation ranging from disco strings ("We Ain't Hard 2 Find") to odd Vocoder vocals recalling Roger ("You Know My Name"). There are also plenty of patented Bone Thugs singalong chants ("Chillen Like A Muthafucka"; "Mind Off This Money"). (DBW)

Smoke On This (Krayzie Bone: 2008)
Somewhere between an independent release and a mixtape, as most of the tunes consist of Krayzie raps over borrowed backing tracks ("Maybe It's Me" is based on "Irreplaceable"; "We Still Here" is Bootsy's "What's A Telephone Bill?" via Tupac). But it ends up being an intriguing project, as Krayzie crafts memorable vocal melodies over atypically mellow, lush grooves ("We Ain't Really Living," a lift from Wyclef Jean's "Sweetest Girl"). "Can't Get Out The Game" has an intriguing interpolation of "When Doves Cry." The lyrics include more weed advertisements than usual ("Sweet Jane"; "Mary Mary"), plus an assortment of Krayzie's other preoccupations ("Go Hard 4 My Money"; "Crooked Cops," with a rap which had previously appeared in Layzie's "Runnin' Up On Da Punk Police"). (DBW)

A Song For You (Bizzy Bone: 2008)

D.J. U-Neek's Thuggish Mix CD (DJ U-Neek: 2009)

Back With The Thugz (Bizzy Bone: 2009)

Uni5: The World's Enemy (2010)
The title references the participation of all five Thugs: the original four and the recently released Flesh-n-Bone. (DBW)

Crossroads: 2010 (Bizzy Bone: 2010)

Thug Luv (Layzie Bone: 2011)
Layzie disavows this Siccness.Net release, and says the tracks are old remixes. (DBW)

The Definition (Layzie Bone: 2011)
Part of a two-CD set with The Meaning, mostly produced by Thin C or John D. Flesh, Krayzie and Felecia all guest. (DBW)

The Meaning (Layzie Bone: 2011)
All the same guests, plus Big Sloan, Too $hort, and others. (DBW)

Bone Brothers IV (Bone Brothers: 2011)
Another Siccness.Net release; apparently this is years-old Bizzy/Layzie material. (DBW)

Chasing The Devil (Krayzie Bone: 2011)

Get yo thug on.

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