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"Now tell me whatcha gonna doWhen judgment comes for you (Cause it's gonna come for you!)"
when there ain't nowhere to run
(When judgment comes for you, when judgment comes for you),
And whatcha gonna do
when there ain't nowhere to hide
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony is an American hip hop group from the Glenville section of Cleveland, formed in the early 1990s. They are best known for their fusion of high speed melodic, rhythmic rapping and harmonizing vocals. In 1997, the group was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance with their song "Tha Crossroads". Since its conception in the early 1990s the group has been honored with numerous other awards.
Their first album, Faces of Death, was recorded in 1993 under the name "B.O.N.E. Enterpri$e". Their career took off after heading to Los Angeles in search of famous producer and N.W.A. member Eazy-E. In hopes of securing a record deal, the group was given an audition over the phone and received an unfulfilled promise from Eazy to call them back. Discovering that Eazy-E was performing back in their hometown of Cleveland, the group took a charter bus back hoping to have another chance, this time in person. The chance was given backstage as they auditioned, which resulted in them signing a contract with Ruthless Records.
Bone's music covers themes of redemption, inner city struggles, spirituality, occult mysticism, salvation, religious symbolism, and judgment of mankind. Even during the Faces of Death era the group had heavy religious overtones and symbolism. Music also show influences from the Book of Revelation and The Art of War.
Since the Turn of the Millennium the group has teetered on the brink of collapse and self destruction with constant infighting and disputes with labels. Things finally fell apart after the release of The World's Enemy, a album that neither the group nor the fans liked. The final nail in the proverbial coffin was when the group either asked Krayzie to leave, or Krayzie himself decided to leave (there are disputes over this). Wish Bone followed suit. There were talks of a new album with the remaining three but in an August 2011 interview, Flesh-N-Bone claimed the group was finished. As it turned out, he was wrong. All five members reunited in 2012 for the "Rock the Bells" tour.
The group consists of five members:
- Krayzie Bone, AKA Leatha Face The Sawed Off Gangsta, Sawed-Off Slim (real name Anthony Henderson): The soft-spoken smooth-talker and arguably the most skilled and consistent member. Won a Grammy for his collaboration with Chamillionaire for the ringtone jam "Ridin". Without question he is currently the most popular member -- much to the chagrin of other fans, especially Bizzy fans. Has a very uneasy relationship with Bizzy.
- Layzie Bone, AKA #1 Assassin (real name Steven Howse): Debatably the de facto leader (but don't tell that to Krayzie Bone fans) on account of him being the glue that's keeping the group together. He's also the little brother of Flesh, and cousin to Wish.
- Wish Bone, AKA Straight Jacket (real name Charles C. Scruggs, Jr.): Perhaps the most vilified member because of his simplistic repetitive lyrics, but some feel that he's unfairly ostracized. Like Krayzie, has a very tense relationship with Bizzy. He's also cousin to Layzie and Flesh.
- Bizzy Bone, AKA R.I.P. (real name Bryon McCane): The wildly unpredictable and eccentric member of the group. His mental stability has been questioned multiple times on account of his eccentricities and his multiple personas. He's flip-flopped from bloodthirsty psychopath ("Hell Sent" verse: "It's the psychopathic maniac, manglin' ladies, stick a grenade in they pussies, than start stranglin' babies.") to introspective "spiritualist" (among other personas) countless times. He's also the most polarizing member among fans. Once the show stealer and arguably the "face of the franchise", his popularity among the fans began dwindling after "Thug World Order".
- Flesh-n-Bone, AKA The 5th Dog, Armageddon, Stack (real name Stanley Howse): The mysterious 5th member of the group whom acts as a Lone Ranger, Aloof Big Brother, and even The Sixth Ranger to the group. Cousin to Wish, and big brother to Layzie. Is considered among fans to be underrated, third strongest member behind Krayzie and Bizzy, and arguably right up there with both of them in the conversation of the group's best lyricist. Has a long history of run-ins with the law and is rumored to suffer from a chemical imbalance. He was arrested for carrying explosives and firing a shotgun in public. While on probation he pulled one of his military-grade assault rifles on his neighbor when he was asked to turn his music down. After serving 8 of his 12-year sentence in Pleasantville County, he was released in 2008. He was taken into custody twice more after that. First he was arrested for drug and weapons charges and later acquitted on account of him having a prescription for the marijuana and the gun being licensed in his wife's name (who is a member of the L.A.P.D). Yup, he took "fuck the police" a little too seriously. The second time was for an assault charge that had been filed, unbeknownst to him, in the early 90's. Apparently Cleveland's finest didn't let Pleasantville County know about the charge during his incarceration because [Blatant Lies|"they didn't know he had been imprisoned"]], despite the huge media coverage his arrest had received. While living with their family, Flesh and his little brother, Layzie, had gotten into a fight with their neighbors.
- DJ U-Neek
- "Hell Sent"
- "Thuggish Ruggish Bone"
- "Foe tha Love of $"
- "East 1999"
- "1st of tha Month"
- "Tha Crossroads" (tied with "Yesterday" by Music/TheBeatles for fastest selling single)
- "Mo Murder"
- "Down' 71"
- "Buddah Lovaz"
- "Days of Our Livez"
- "Everyday Thang"
- "Notorious Thugs"
- "Thug Luv"
- "If I Could Teach The World"
- "Look Into My Eyes"
- "Resurrection (Paper, Paper)"
- "Weed Song"
- "Change The World"
- "Home" (Which samples Phil Collins' "Take Me Home")
- "I Tried"
- Faces of Death - 1992-1993
- Creepin on ah Come Up - 1994
- E 1999 Eternal - 1995
- The Art Of War - 1997
- [=BTNHResurrection=] - 2000
- Thug World Order - 2002
- Greatest Hits - 2004
- Thug Stories - 2006
- Strength & Loyalty - 2007
- Uni5: The World's Enemy - 2010
The music of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony includes examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Bizzy's stepfather, who kidnapped him when he was a little kid. The story was profiled on America's Most Wanted twice.
- Artifact of Doom: Their Ouija board…
- At the Crossroads: The song "Tha Crossroads" and its title say it all.
- Badass: Especially during their early years.
- Badass Long Hair
- Battle Discretion Shot: The shoot out at the end of the "Dayz Of Our Livez" video.
- Black Sheep Hit: "Ghetto Cowboy", and to a lesser extent "Tha Crossroads". The latter giving them Contractual Purity in some fans eyes.
- Bolivian Army Ending: In the music video for "Dayz Of Our Livez" the group's hideout is being raided by SWAT teams because of a previous bank robbery. And the video zooms out and fades away as gun flashes are seen lighting up between the cracks of the boarded windows.
- Bowdlerise: Their "Thug World Order" album after the events of September 11th.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Bizzy Bone speaking in tongues during a radio interview and walking 200 miles from Cleveland to Columbus.
- Certain segments of the fanbase itself could qualify, being very... cultish, eccentric and fanatical about the group.
- Concept Album: The Art Of War. The World's Enemy was supposed to be this but due to publishing issues, Executive Meddling, and Music Is Politics it was basically a failure.
- Concept Video:
- "Tha Crossroads", featuring the Angel of Death taking souls.
- "Dayz Of Our Livez", see Just Like Robin Hood below and Bolivian Army Ending above.
- "Look into My Eyes", where Bone plays superheroes trying to stop a face swapping villain. They also get a Moment of Awesome for Krayzie jumping out of the Batmobile!
- "If I Could Teach The World" - see Future Badass below.
- "Change the World", where Bone are Matrix-inspired purifiers restoring innocent youth to the suicidal, sick, and thuggish members of an apocalyptic society where everything is haywire.
- Cool Guns: The whole armory in fact. They're especially partial to military grade weaponry, unlike other rappers.
- Dark and Troubled Past: All of them.
- Darker and Edgier: Their Eternal album, although Faces of Death counts as well.
- Deal with the Devil: The song "Hell Sent" describes their desire to kill Satan as a result of such a deal. Other songs that seem to subtly go into the topic imply that they were suckered into the deal, possibly by the influence of the Ouija board, and have been rebelling against the darkness ever since.
- Determinator: The songs "No Surrender", "Still No Surrender", "Unstoppable", and "Ready 4 War".
- Downer Ending: "Sons Of Assassins" has Bizzy die at the end of the song after a shoot out with the cops along side his dad, but before he dies he manages to tell his psychopathic father... "I love you, dad."
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: The way they feel towards the industry. Their fans agree.
- Dysfunction Junction: Bizzy's personal problems, and the relationship of the group itself. These are related.
- The End of the World as We Know It: The group was eerily obsessed with this in the beginning.
- Enfant Terrible: The song "Sons Of Assassins", has a 8-year-old Kray stealing his dad's gun and hiding it in his lunchbox. And later using it to ruthlessly murder two bullies at school.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Their album intros have sinister sounding disembodied voices introducing the group. The song "Mr. Ouija Pt. 2", also counts to bone-chilling effect.
- Follow the Leader: A lot of rappers with a similar style as Bone started to pop up after their success, lending their case for more respect much credibility.
- Future Badass: In the music video for "If I Could Teach The World", Bone is stuck in a setting that's not unlike The Terminator, or even Warhammer 40000, wearing body armor and wielding fantasy swords. The group along with some other rebels appear to be fighting an advancing group of what appears to be machines, or armored soldiers that are approaching in a single line formation. But eventually the group is rescued by what appears to be some drop ship that takes them to a more peaceful planet where there's Crystal Spires and Togas.
- Gangsta Rap
- Generation Xerox: The song called "Sons of Assassins".
- Genre Shift: Stylistically this is their whole shtick, songs range from hardcore/Gangster rap, to softer R&B-ish tracks.
- Glory Days: The Nineties.
- Great Escape: The song "Down 71 (The Getaway)" is about them daringly (and violently) breaking Bizzy out of death row, and escaping down the Interstate 71 highway.
- Grief Song: "Tha Crossroads", among others.
- Horrorcore: Their earlier material, specifically Faces Of Death.
- A House Divided: Circa 2002 to the present. Although Krayzie says this problem goes back much further.
- Image Song: "Thuggish Ruggish Bone", "Tha Crossroads".
- Ironic Nursery Tune: The song "Mr. Ouija" has the group chanting a nursery rhyme like tune asking the Ouija board to tell them their future, and asking it will they die of murder, a bloody murder, all the while distorted demonic vocal are heard in the background.
- Just Like Robin Hood: In the video for "Dayz Of Our Livez" Bone is seen giving a huge chunk of their loot to people at a homeless shelter, which they were originally staying.
- Lighter and Softer: Some fans see their recent material as this. Their lyrics however to a lesser extent are still often then not violent. Contrasted with their older darker sadistic and psychotically violent lyrics that's not saying much.
- Lyrical Dissonance: Overlaps with Murder Ballad.
- The Mentor: Eazy-E.
- Mood Whiplash: Their song selection can cause this as their songs range from hard and dark to soft and light.
- Motor Mouth: These guys can rap fast when they want to.
- Murder Ballad: Too many to list, and they use the term ballad literally (e.g. "Shoot'Em Up"). Hence the harmony.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Gangsta rap fused with melodic rhythmic, staccato speed rap, mixed with doo-wop harmony, and contemporary R&B/soul. (There's even tinges of Jamaican Patois in their delivery.)
- New Sound Album: Basically every release.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Their record deal (and possibly their careers) when they left Interscope Records over the fact the label wouldn't let Bizzy, and Flesh rejoin the group. According to Krayzie:
I think if we would have got another album with just the 3 of us, we could have completely brought it back (meaning their careers) and then it would have been cool to bring the other two members back into it. I think by us doing [what we did], it killed it all over again.
- Professional Killer: Layzie Bone AKA The #1 Assassin...
- Protest Song: "Nation Of Thugs", "No Surrender", "Still No Surrender", "What About Us"
- The Rival: "Twista", "Do Or Die", "Crucial Conflict".
- Rivals Team Up
- Signature Song: "Thuggish Ruggish Bone", and "Tha Crossraods".
- Signature Style: See Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly above.
- Sociopathic Hero: Flesh-n-Bone, although he's probably more of a mentally imbalanced one. In a song he confesses to being labeled 51/50 and blasting his way out of the psych ward.
- Soprano and Gravel: Particularly Krayzie and Bizzy, also by themselves.
- Spirit Advisor: Again, their Ouija board. However, over time they've been leaning away from that item and towards God.
- Spiritual Successor: To N.W.A.
- The Stoner
- Subliminal Seduction: Their Creepin On Ah Come Up and Eternal albums, specifically the intros.
nevaeH ni tra hcihw rehtaF ruO, ruO rethaF hcihw tra ni nevaeH
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "If I Fall", "Tha Crossroads" (both versions), "It's All Mo' Thug", "If I Could Teach The World", and numerous other rap ballads. To the point that some fans criticized them for it.
- To Hell and Back: According to the song "Hell Sent", the group sold their souls to the Devil so they could live through eternity, but had a falling out with the Devil (Layzie even went as far as calling the Devil's son a bitch) and changed their minds about it. But the Devil, being the Magnificent Bastard that he is, refuses to return them. So they go into hell with what appears to be enchanted guns and start killing demons and witches (even taking some as hostages!). Eventually they meet up with the Devil in the abyss and kill him because they were getting sick of the war. (Of course, killing the Devil with guns is pretty much an improbable task… meaning he probably got back up shortly after the events of the song.)
- Troubled but Cute: Bizzy Bone.
- Unknown Rival: Three Six Mafia.
- Wild Card: Bizzy Bone, which contributes to the friction among the group, including the fans.