Bone Thugs, New Waves

Bone Thugs
New Waves

(Entertainment One Music)
Release Date: June 23, 2017



Still Thuggin'
Written by Silas Valentino

That’s no typo–gone be the Harmony. Only the Bone Thugs, or Krayzie Bone and Bizzy Bone, remain. The five-member Bone Thugs-N-Harmony has been reduced to two members on New Waves, the Cleveland, Ohio act’s tenth studio album. This is the first release under the “Bone Thugs” moniker but the duo is in a good company of guest features who help guide the Midwest gangster rap veterans through a diverse and upbeat LP.

New Waves begins with the leadoff single “Coming Home” that sports a Caribbean tan beat (airy and laidback) with one of the region’s kings, Stephen Marley, appearing to provide a catchy chorus hook. Bizzy Bone lets nostalgia in during his bars and manages to squeeze in three Bone Thugs-N-Harmony early-day hits into his opening rhymes: “From the first of the month till the ruggish bone/Every week that ‘Crossroads’ stayed on the billboard.” It’s a casual single that won’t garner many new fans but should appeal to those who’ve missed the bros since 2013’s The Art of War: World War III.

R&B crooner Tank gives a glossy chorus on “If Heaven Had a Cellphone” where Krayzie Bone and Bizzy Bone trade lines about God, mortality and who they’d ring up if they could dial a dead friend. “If heaven had a cellphone/I would call up the Eazy like, ‘How you get in with an L pro? Hell No’/Tell em hey, don’t get in the car,” Bizzy Bone squawks in his signature high-pitch tone. Tank establishes his dominance in the song with his over-lapping vocals that blossoms with heartache.

Quite possibly the most surprising guest on New Waves is Jonathan Davis of KORN. He hops into “Whatever Goes Up” but his addition is relatively muted compared to the other features. Actually, if you just listened to the song without any context, it’d be nearly impossible to tell that Davis was even on the track. There’s no gut grunts or spit balling like in KORN’s “Freak on a Leash.” For all we know, Davis just so happened to be in the studio that day and was in the recording booth but consciously decided not to utter a single word–securing his guest spot but with no audible contribution. Any who, at one point Krayzie Bone ponders the futility of success and openly admits that, “Sometimes it really sucks to be famous.”

The sole tune on New Waves that’s one hundred percent Bone Thugs is the thumper “Bottleservice.” No features, just Krayzie Bone and Bizzy Bone harnessing the power of the club and converting it into 2:50 minutes of upbeat braggadocio. “We tryna stay high, rise way higher than most,” they plead during the chorus and considering the legacy Bone Thugs has established over the years (since the early 1990s), this new LP will be supplying their high for a few more years.

In a surprising twist, the last song on the album, “Ruthless,” features Layzie Bone, Flesh-n-Bone and Eric Bellinger–which makes it the LP’s (mostly) official Bone Thugs-N-Harmony moment. (Wish Bone is nowhere to be heard.) In it, the group turns their attention to Eazy E and toast in his name and influence. Over a somber guitar-driven beat, the gang huddles for shout out to one of the genres founders. “Making sure that the whole world know you started this shit, we gon’ finish this,” Layzie Bone says. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony find each other in the end to top off their latest album by commemorating a fallen friend.

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