I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time.
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are legends. They are also underrated. I feel like they aren’t given their proper dues for inspiring the next generation of rappers.
They were influential, to say the least. Which is how we got here.
You can tell which rappers have been influenced by Bone.
Rappers like Freddie Gibbs, Game and ASAP Rocky come to mind. Gibbs is one of those rappers that can rap at a crazy rapid-fire speed. Game sampled a classic. Meanwhile, Rocky showed his appreciation to the group by bringing them out during his set at a previous edition of Hot 97’s Summer Jam.
Speaking of that performance, that shit pissed me off and had a direct influence on the creation of this post. Rocky starts talking to the crowd and says he wants to show his appreciation. He can’t really describe his appreciation, so he’d rather show it bringing out an influence of him. Out comes Bone Thugs to “Thuggish Ruggish Bone,” a classic record.
The crowd makes zero to little noise.
It sounds dead.
To be honest, that’s what the video depicts, the live crowd could’ve been rocking with Bone and the video just doesn’t do it justice. But I’m 80% sure, the crowd wasn’t feeling it.
Well, fuck them.
I would’ve been rocking with them.
At first, I thought Bone was from the West Coast. Since they were close to Eazy, I thought they were Los Angeles natives. I’m sure I’m not alone there. I know for a fact that I grew up with some dudes that thought the same. Remember, this was before the Internet was as easy and accessible as today. People were still behind, information wise. It wasn’t until I heard the song “Home” with Phil Collins that I put one-and-one together.
Their origin didn’t change my opinion on them. I still thought they were dope.
I was drawn to Bone because their sound was different. They were big on harmonizing and rapping fast. Twista was the only other rapper I knew that rapped just as fast consistently.
Bone’s music slowly crept into my music collection (albeit late). I would soon discover their amazing catalog. One of the few catalogues that had songs with arguably the two best rappers ever, Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. while both were alive.
I don’t recall what the first song I heard from Bone, it might have been “Tha Crossroads” or it might have been “Resurrection (Paper, Paper).” It might have been the latter because I have a memory about that single’s album.
I was at a recycling center with my older brothers and the local radio station was there. They were doing giveaways and such. They had the spin-the-wheel game where you could win a variety of prizes. I took a shot and spun the wheel. I landed on a free CD. I started going through their selection and came down to two: Bone’s BTNHResurrection, which featured the aforementioned song, and The Slim Shady LP. I ended up choosing the latter but at the time it was a tough decision. In the end, I made the right call because I would fall in love with Eminem’s music and become a huge fan in the next few years.
Soon after I’d stumble across the legendary “Notorious Thugs” record. I was blown away. B.I.G. destroyed that record. He emulated Bone’s flow and delivered an extremely dope verse.
Soon I’d delve into their catalog and find other gems such as “Foe The Love of Money,” “Look Into My Eyes,” “Thuggish Ruggish Bone,” “If I Could Teach The World,” “Body Rott,” “Get Up and Get It,” and “1st of The Month” just to name a few. Their shit was dope. Their ability to mix their style with mellow, laid-back beats provided an interest contrast that worked well.
Just in the past eight months, I found myself blasting Bone Thugs discography whether it’s “Thuggish” at 7 a.m. or “Notorious Thugs” at 5:30 p.m. on my way home from work, I’ve turned to the crew from Cleveland.
Part of the reason why I decided to go back and check out the catalog was because of that ASAP Rocky performance. I’m going to say it plain in simple: it looks like New York/New Jersey and the East Coast do not fuck with Bone Thugs N Harmony. That alone is a shame if true. Everybody in the West loves them. I bet the Midwest feels the same.
These guys were part of my childhood.
I was listening to them, my brother was, my friends were, everyone around me had a connection to them. Even if they weren’t from here, they were unofficially from here. They deserve our admiration. They have influenced the generation after theirs and the next.
Like I said in the opening, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are legends, living legends at that. Point Blank. If you are unfamiliar with them, I suggest you get familiar.
Word to Clinton Sparks.
(Photo Credit: Krazie Bone’s Instagram)