Monday, April 25, 2011

Bone Thugs N' Harmony

I can remember not being a big rap fan unitl 1994 (I was 10 years old) which was the first time I heard "First of tha Month". Its a strange story I tell everyone. I didnt start out listening to Nas or Notorious B.I.G. or 2Pac but for me Bone was bigger than all of those guys. I pitched a bitch to get the tape but never got it. I pretty much gave up on it until one Christmas I got a boombox radio and 3 tapes. The 3 tapes were Bone Thugs N' Harmony "E.1999 Eternal", LL Cool J "Mr. Smith" and Blackstreet. Of those 3 tapes I burned one out completely, listened to one once and never opened the other. I will leave it to the reader to make the distinction but one thing was for sure the Bone tape barely lasted 6 months before I needed a new one. The biggest hit of their careers "The Crossroads" wasn't even out yet and my tape had the original version of the song with the same name.

I can remember the first time I played it. The darkness of the music was compelling to me. It didnt have the party atmosphere everything on the radio had. It was dark, gritty and almost scary and when my mom heard someone epeaking in tongues she almost wanted to take it back. I had no real connection to the content, meaning I didnt know what the fuck they were talking about but I knew I liked it. I could only catch some of the lyrics but what I was able to make out I never stopped repeating and I must have played Mr. Bill Collector 400 times a day, which was very hard on tapes with all the rewinding and everything but I didnt care.

I can remember when the Art of War double disc album came out. I didnt have a cd player so I had to hear it at a friend's house and bootleg it for myself when I got home. This was of the only time I paid attention to a 2Pac verse really I wasnt impressed. However I was impressed with Bizzy and with the intensity and speed he delivered his verse it was juat phenomenal for me as a kid. I didnt like that album as much as I did E.1999 Eternal and this was without knowing what the rest of the world thought about the group at all.

Shortly after Art of War the breakup rumors started because Bizzy was releasing a solo album (Heaven'z Movie). I didnt believe it until I saw the video for his first single the other members in the video kinda gave me a feeling of relief. Heaven'z Movie was my favorite album for a long time (and its still one of my favorites today) but I still preferred to hear them all together as a group.

Krayzie Bone released a double disc solo album ("Thug Mentality") in 1998 (I believe) and it was the second cd I ever bought (DMX It's Dark and Hell Is Hot was the first). I skipped school and went to the record store to get it.I remember played it very loudly for at least 5 hours when I got it. I didnt like it as much as Heaven'z Movie but I still loved it and since I had finally stepped into the cd game I could play it all day wihtout worrying about rewinding and fast forwarding.
It would be a long time until the next Bone album which was in 2000, I think BTNHResurrection. Which was in my opinion a great album. I wont continue to go forward with how I felt about each release because I burned pretty much all of them out within a year.

The important thing I wanted to get to in this blog was not that I am a huge Bone mark but that my love of all music came from my love of Bone. The harmonizing, which dudes swear they hate, was started with Bone. Buddah Lova'z was almost completely sang and it was released in 1994-1995. About 7 years before swaggerjackers like Nelly and Ja Rule would be doing duets with Ashanti. About 10 years before characters like Drake would be making Teen Beat/Heartthrob hip-hop, yet Bone doesnt get any respect for it.

Granted Bone was more style than substance. Which means the delivery and cadence was more important than lyrics but the lyrics werent wack by any means. I mean no Krayzie Bone isnt Nas but hes not wack either. Bone has a style so unique that they can do songs with Phil Collins and still put together dope shit with street rappers like The Game. No other act in hip-hop history could mesh well with Mariah Carey and 2Pac but Bone.

The creativity of each individual member in itself was insane. You have Krayzie remaking Aaliyah's If They Only Knew and creating the same vibe. Let's not get started on how Krayzie alone can take an R&B song from wack folks like Ciara and make something completely new and hot.

So even though the group is feuding...again. And Krayzie has left the group a long time fan like me will still support even if the mainstream continues to ignore them and not see what they brought to the game. "Black hippys" like Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa (which the majority of his album Rolling Papers sounds like commercialized Bone album)should pay homage. Harmonizers like Chamillionaire, Drake, Lil Wayne and Nelly should bow down to the almighty Bone Thugs N Harmony.

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