released May 4th, 2010

from the album - Rebirth

from all music

Graced with a quick, sometimes sung delivery, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony burst out of the Midwest in the mid-'90s with a pair of massive hits ("Thuggish Ruggish Bone" and "Tha Crossroads") along with a great album (E 1999 Eternal) and then quickly unraveled. Eazy-E signed the group — initially comprised of Krayzie Bone, Wish Bone, Flesh-N-Bone, Layzie Bone, and Bizzy Bone — to Ruthless Records and released a debut EP, Creepin on ah Come Up (1994). The EP boasted "Thuggish Ruggish Bone," a conventional G-funk song with an unconventional array of Bone Thug rappers that became an overnight summer anthem, especially throughout the Midwest. Amid the fervor, the Cleveland rap group entered the studio immediately and emerged with a remarkable album, E 1999 Eternal (1995). The album topped the charts and spawned a pair of popular singles, "1st of the Month" and "Tha Crossroads," the latter a Grammy Award recipient. It was all downhill from here for Bone, unfortunately. As was in vogue at the time, the group members pursued respective solo careers and also a Mo Thugs Family spinoff group; none of these ventures was fruitful. At this point, the onetime cohesive group, which specialized in interwoven, harmonious singing as well as rapping, became conflicted and the group members failed to collaborate well, particularly after their ambitious double-disc Art of War (1997) sold poorly. A second round of solo albums sold even more poorly, and Bone became somewhat of a has-been. Occasional reunions such as BTNHResurrection (2000) and Thug World Order (2002) produced occasional moments of glory, but these were brief and few and far between. In 2005 the band reunited again minus Bizzy Bone. In September of that year the Internet-only release Bone 4 Life appeared. Then in 2006, it was announced that Bone had signed to Swizz Beatz's Full Surface Records, which was distributed by Interscope. Their first album for the label, Strength & Loyalty, appeared in the spring of 2007 with guest spots from the Game, Mariah Carey, Akon, Bow Wow, and Twista. Bizzy returned to the group in 2010 for the album Uni5: The World's Enemy, but save a handful of dates he was absent from the promotional tour that followed.

album review

With estranged brother Bizzy back in the fold, Uni5: The World's Enemy reunites the original five members of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony after 15 years apart, but it’s not a return to form by any stretch of the imagination. This eighth studio effort leans toward radio-friendly numbers and proper grown-man tracks, with the core four members offering life lessons as Bizzy gives his Biblical perspective. The closest they come to the old days is the opening, “Rebirth,” a chugging juggernaut of an anthem that mixes thunderous production with a hook-filled chorus and those quick, whip-snap verses Bone built their name on. Momentum builds as the album’s lyrical highlight “See Me Shine” gives way to the dark, cursed, and Bizzy-less “Only God Can Judge Me,” which features gospel choir singers and demonic voices melting into a truly unsettling production. “Wanna Be” is bland until Bizzy’s grand moment comes while damning the music industry with “I see women given their bodies like David Letterman love you/Strugglin’ and Husslin’, slangin’ tapes on the Internet” then “Sorry I meant to tell you just what just masters do” and exiting on “Only Jesus can make you a star.” His interests are obviously elsewhere as the rest of Bone try to craft a veteran hip-hop album that can crossover, but Bizzy acting as the group’s mystical and mysterious Flavor Flav is an interesting twist, and he lights every track he lands on. Krayzie Bone's contribution is worth mentioning as he turns in a handful of innovative productions, but the prize goes to producer and Mo Thugs associate Thin C and his mellow, smoker’s delight “My Life.” Like so many family reunions the album is a mix of naturally flowing moments and awkward ones, but when it clicks, that Bone magic is, in effect, making this a necessary listen for the faithful.

Track Listing

1 The Law (Intro) 1:00
2 Rebirth 7:15
3 See Me Shine 6:04
4 Only God Can Judge Me Hutton 4:13
5 Wanna Be Powell 5:18
6 My Life Williams 4:49
7 Everytime Hutton 5:34
8 Fearless (Interlude) DJ U-Neek :34
9 Gone Barrio, Fatboi 4:29
10 Meet Me in the Sky Hutton 5:16
11 Universe DJ U-Neek 3:44
12 A New Mind = A New Life DJ U-Neek :44
13 Pay What They Owe DJ U-Neek 5:25
14 Facts Don't Lie DJ U-Neek 3:42