Recording: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – Strength and Loyalty

    Circa late-1990s, the hard-going, fast-flowing, ganja-smoking Bone Thugs embodied the pinnacle of hip-hop’s lyrical power. It’s hard not to fall for the rich musicality of the group’s mile-a-minute flow – it saturates with glossy and forceful speed. The latest from the Cleveland natives showcases a thinned-out lineup (the thugs lost Bizzy Bone to inner conflicts and Flesh-n-Bone to jail), but throws on a few frills for celebrity’s sake. The question is, can the pioneers of fast-rap preserve the quality when meshed with Akon, Will.I.Am. and other modern luminaries?

    With rare exceptions ­- like a melodically punchy coupling with Twista – Strength and Loyalty is burdened by lackluster guest showings. A second stint with Mariah Carey (following the melodious calm of “”Breakdown Remix””) is especially weak, kept afloat by Carey’s ever-bright lark but bogged down by the annoying, tired production of Jermaine Dupri.

    While the old flavor hasn’t dried, it hasn’t manage to evolve. As past hits are name-dropped by both the Thugs and their guests, we’re reminded of the Old West clink of ’90s classics “”Ghetto Cowboy”” and “”Shoot ‘Em Up”” – a charming sort of offbeat, with harmonies smooth enough to make spurs ‘n’ shotguns endearing. Here, the return to country gangsta (“”Wind Blow””) is an homage to the good ‘ol hip-hopping boys of the American Heartland – too bad that now, the whole operation is drawled out and tacky.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal