November 22, 2002

Test Spin: Bone Thugs n Harmony

Print More

After four LPs, multiple solo albums, and a few side projects, it’s safe to say that Bone Thugs have lost their Harmony. They have never been able to successfully recapture the same hip hop sound they helped to define — a delicate balance between rapping and singing — since their first album, E. 1999 Eternal’s release in 1995.

On Thug World Order, Bizzy Bone, Krazie Bone, Wish Bone, and Lazie Bone fail to achieve the intensity of past songs like “Crossroads” and “Notorious Thugs.” With the exception of four tracks — “Set it Straight,” “Money, Money,” “Not My Baby,” and “Cleveland is the City” — the songs’ content and beats are weak and, for the most part, pretty dull and cheap. Thug World Order lacks innovation, and seems like a step backwards, rather than an evolution in style. The aforementioned songs are the only tracks that have some degree of seriousness and emotional weight; they diverge from the ever-redundant and boring theme of the album: Bone Thugs are back and better than ever. Oh! If only that were true!

Over the years, the quality of the Cleveland quartet’s individual voices have gradually diminished, perhaps most evident on “If I Fall.” The unity of their distinct harmonies is key to their unique sound. Unfortunately on their latest, they’re flatter than ever.

Archived article by Paul Albini