|Krayzie Bone||Anthony Henderson|
|Bizzy Bone||Bryon Anthony McCane II|
|Layzie Bone||Steven Howse|
|Wish Bone||Charles Shruggs|
Label(s): Ruthless, Full Surface, Interscope
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is an American hip hop group from the Glenville section of Cleveland, Ohio. They are best known for their fast-paced, aggressive rapping style and harmonizing vocals. The group was mainly produced by Los Angeles producer, DJ U-Neek. In 1997, the group was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance with their song "Tha Crossroads" from their E. 1999 Eternal Album. Since its conception in the early 1990s the group has been honoured with numerous other awards. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are also the only artists to do acts with 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., Big Pun, and Eazy-Ewhile they were still alive.
The Early Years (Albums 1-5)
Formed in the early 1990s, the group consisted of four members: Krayzie Bone, Bizzy Bone, Layzie Bone and Wish Bone. In 1991 Flesh-N-Bone joined the group. Their first album, Faces of Death, was recorded in 1993 under the name B.O.N.E. Enterprise. 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-E 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.
Released in June 1994, the EP Creepin on ah Come Up, was Bone Thugs-n-Harmony's début with Ruthless Records and their first introduction into super stardom. After a slow start that saw the album's success limited to gangsta rap audiences, it broke through to the mainstream with the release of the singles "Thuggish Ruggish Bone" and "Foe tha Love of $," the second of which featured a verse by Eazy-E. The sound was raw and explicit, while the lyrics were violent and aggressive. Songs poured out feelings of anger against society for growing up on the violent and economically oppressed streets of Cleveland. Videos for the mega hits "Foe tha Love of $" and "Thuggish Ruggish Bone" increased the group's reputation among audiences. Beats were supplied by Kenny McCloud, Rhythm D, DJ Yella, and newcomer DJ U-Neek. The album was later certified 2x Platinum by the RIAA selling 2 million copies in the United States.
While Creepin' On Ah Come Up's subject matter was focused almost entirely on violent criminal activity, E. 1999 Eternal saw Bone diversify its content and musical styling. It debuted at #1 with 307,000 copies sold in its first week. The G-Funk style beats were smoothed by DJ U-Neek (with co-production from Tony Cowan and Kenny McCloud). The singles 1st Of Tha Month and Tha Crossroads were both huge successes, the second of which which reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. A considerable portion of the album's concept was built upon violent subject matter, yet Bone proved its ability to incorporate deeper themes, as its songs dealt with more spirituality and occult mysticism. E. 1999 Eternal also introduced Bone's trademark tracks devoted entirely to the use of marijuana. One of the group's more commercially successful albums, it has sold over 4 million copies in the United States, and 10 million copies worldwide.
In 1997, the group released the double-disc set The Art of War, backed by the single "Look into My Eyes", which also appeared on the soundtrack of the film Batman & Robin. The album saw Bone further explore a wide variety of subjects and styles, with even more focus on God and family and an overall more ambient, mellow sound. The group still incorporated violent lyrics, though, with a large portion of the album dedicated to what they labelled "clones" who claimed Bone had stolen their quick-tongued rapping style and vice-versa. The Chicago-based rap group Crucial Conflict was targeted by name, with indirect disses thought to be aimed at Twista, Three 6 Mafia, and Do or Die. The album also included "Thug Luv" with Tupac Shakur. The album is also influenced by the book of the same name by author Sun Tzu. The Art of War philosophy is littered throughout the album. While the album had initial success, debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 (with 394,000 copies sold in the first week). "Look Into My Eyes" (which charted at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100), the only other single was "If I Could Teach the World", which won an American Music Award, but other songs on the album like "Body Rott" and "Thug Luv" received airplay from popularity. The group's efforts were though dampened by the absence of Bizzy Bone from the album's videos and large portions of the ensuing tour and public appearances. This absence fuelled rumours of a break-up. The album was certified 4x Platinum by the RIAA, with each disc counted. The album sold 4,600,000 copies in the U.S.