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Music / Bone Thugs-n-Harmony

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L to R: Krayzie, Layzie, Bizzy, Flesh, and Wish

"Straight off the muthafuckin' streets of Cleveland, five true thugs from the double glock."

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony is an American hip hop group from the Glenville section of Cleveland. 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.

Formed in the early '90s, 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 receiving 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. Their music also shows influence 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, with constant infighting and disputes with labels. Things finally fell apart after the release of The World's Enemy, an album that neither the group nor the fans liked. The final nail in the coffin was when the group asked Krayzie to leave (or Krayzie himself decided to leave; there's disagreement about what happened), which was followed by Wish Bone leaving too. There was talk of a new album with the remaining three, but in an August 2011 interview Flesh N Bone claimed the group was finished. In May 2012, however, all five were headlining the "Rock the Bells Tour". Despite their difficulties, the group have grown something of a cult following in their later years. The group also made an appearance during Jamie Kennedy's infamous New Year's Eve 2013 special aired by an independent station near Los Angeles.

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 in the ringtone jam "Ridin". And without question the most popular member - much to the chagrin of other members' fans, especially Bizzy's. Has a VERY uneasy relationship with Bizzy.
  • Layzie Bone, AKA #1 Assassin (real name Steven Howse): Arguably 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 and 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: "Its 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 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 the underrated, third-strongest member behind Krayzie and Bizzy, and arguably right up there with both of them in the running for the group's best lyricist. Has a long history of run-ins with the law and is rumored to suffer from a mental disorder.

Additional contributors:

  • DJ U-Neek

Notable songs:

  • "Tha Crossroads"note 
  • "Flow Motion"
  • "Hell Sent"
  • "Sons Of Assassins"
  • "Thuggish Ruggish Bone"
  • "Foe tha Love of $" feat Eazy-E
  • "No Surrender"
  • "East 1999"
  • "1st of tha Month"
  • "Mo Murder"
  • "Down' 71"
  • "Buddah Lovaz"
  • "Days of Our Livez"
  • "Everyday Thang" (From The Show Soundtrack)
  • "Notorious Thugs" with The Notorious B.I.G.
  • "Thug Luv" feat 2Pac
  • "If I Could Teach The World"
  • "Look Into My Eyes"
  • "Whom Die They Lie" (which samples Tubular Bells to eerie effect)
  • "BNK" feat Eazy-E
  • "Sleep walkers" feat Eazy-E
  • "Resurrection (Paper, Paper)"
  • "Battlezone"
  • "Weed Song"
  • "Change The World"
  • "Home" (Which samples Phil Collins' "Take me Home")
  • "I Tried" feat Akon
  • "Lord" with Asap Ferg
  • "Everything 100" feat Ty$
  • "Breakdown" with Mariah Carey


  • 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
  • Uni 5:The World's Enemy - 2010

They provide examples of:

  • At the Crossroads: The song "Tha Crossroads" and its title say it all.
  • Band of Relatives: Layzie and Flesh are brothers, while Wish is their cousin.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: The shoot out at the end of the "Dayz Of Our Livez" video.
  • 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.
    • Just Like Robin Hood: In the same video Bone is seen giving a huge chunk of their loot to people at a homeless shelter, which they were originally staying.
  • Bowdlerise: Their Thug World Order album after the events of September 11th.
  • Concept Album: The Art Of War. The World's Enemy was suppose 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 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.
  • 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".
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In the song Hell-Sent.
  • 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 Hip-Hop entertainment media and industry, who was mostly indifferent at best, or dismissive at worst. However a lot of their musical peers (Kendrick Lemar, A$AP Rocky, The Game, Fat Joe, Lil Durk, Drake, DJ Quik, etc.) continue to show them a TON of respect.
  • 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.
  • 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 40,000, 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.
  • Generation Xerox: The song called "Sons of Assassins".
  • Genre Mashup: 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).
  • Genre Shift: Stylistically this is their whole shtick, songs range from hardcore/Gangsta rap, to softer R&B-ish tracks.
  • Glory Days: The '90s.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Melodic Rap: Bone codified the style, and combined it with their high-speed flows to great effect; becoming the gold standard for melodic rapping.
  • 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, and along with Twista, they were the first mainstream proponents of the "chopper" style (a style of rapping characterized by extremely fast and precise deliveries with sharp enunciation and no pauses that was codified by Midwestern artists in the early 1990s).
  • Murder Ballad: Too many to list, and they use the term ballad literally (e.g. "Shoot'Em Up"). Hence the harmony.
  • New Sound Album: Basically every release.
  • Nothing but Skulls: A common visual motif for the group.
  • Older Than They Look: They're in the late 30s to early 40s. Looking at them, though, you'd think they were ten years younger.
  • Professional Killer: Layzie Bone AKA The #1 Assassin...
  • Protest Song: "Nation Of Thugs", "No Surrender", "Still No Surrender", "What About Us"
  • The Rival: They've had beef with other midwest rappers like Twista, Do Or Die, and Crucial Conflict; but Three 6 Mafia probably stand out as their biggest rivals to this day.
  • 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 Manipulative 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 6 Mafia.
  • Wild Card: Bizzy Bone, which contributes to the friction among the group, including the fans.


Video Example(s):



See you at the crossroads, where you won't be lonely!

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