Bone Thugs at crossroads

By Alexis Tomrell

The members of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony have seen tough times since the heyday years of “Thuggish Ruggish Bone.” In 2001, key member Flesh-N-Bone was sentenced to time in prison, the group’s effort recording as a trio flopped and they faced issues with their record label.

Coming through their tribulations, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is back, its five original members reunited in hopes of spreading a message of longevity and real-life struggles in their new album “Uni5: The World’s Enemy.”

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is a pioneer group in the world of rap music, innovating a style of music that combines an aggressive style of rapping with alternating harmonizing vocals.

Its members are Bizzy, Krayzie, Wish, Layzie and Flesh Bone. They are originally from Cleveland and one of the first rap groups to come from the Midwest. Over the course of their success they have sold over 30 million albums. In 1997 they won a Grammy Award for best rap performance for their song “Tha Crossroads” from their “E. 1999 Eternal” album.

They consider their mentor to be the late Eazy-E and have worked with numerous artists spanning from greats like 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G. and Big Pun.

The group appeared in a live streaming press conference Oct. 21, starting promptly at 4:20 p.m., available to an online audience through

Online fans were given the chance to ask the group questions through Facebook and Twitter. The public’s questions ranged from the weird to the uber-fan as they asked members “Do you have anything planned for the Mayan Apocalypse?” and “Which Cleveland rapper would you most like to collaborate with?”

Bone Thugs answered both questions in good humor. Their responses were “Dig deep in your Bible and don’t be scared of anything,” and “Kid Cudi.” However, the real purpose of the press conference was to alert fans and the media about their resurgence into the music industry.

Their reunion album, “Uni5: The World’s Enemy” is set to release in storesĀ  on December 22.

“All the songs are new. You are getting all brand new stuff and a new sound. We also worked with up-and-coming producers to give back to the music community,” said Krayzie.

The tone of the album is remarkably different than their past work. For one, they aren’t inspired by horror movies anymore like in their first album, “Faces of Death.” This album has a real-life message focused on “real recognizing real,” according to Krayzie. The lyrics are oriented around relating to kids, growing up with family hardships, having children and dissecting socio-political issues.

“It was not an easy process,” Flesh said. “The chemistry has always been there, but this album was more of a challenge than any other album. It took a lot of thought and calculation to tell the world what we want to say.”

The first single from “Uni5” is “See me Shine.” It was released Oct. 27 and features contributing artists Lyfe Jennings, Phaedra and J Rush.

In 1991 the group formed under the name “Bone Enterpri$e” and released “Faces of Death.” In 1993 they auditioned lived backstage for Eazy-E and he signed them to Ruthless Records on the spot.

From there, they secured their success with other releases like “E. 1999 Eternal,” which debuted at No.1 on the pop charts. “E. 1999” is considered one of the most influential and top-selling hip-hop albums ever made and numerous artists have cited Bone Thugs as influences in their hip-hop and R&B acts.

After Eazy-E passed away from AIDS, the group continued to record albums, despite rumors they were breaking up. Later, Bone Thugs did sign off Ruthless Records, but they moved to Interscope Records and currently they have their own record label under Worldwide/Warner Music Group.

Expect more work from Bone Thugs- N-Harmony in the coming year. With the momentum of the new album and a re-energizing outlook on music, the group plans to promote, record and produce like the old days. Various members are also working on solo projects.

As the man of a few profound words, Bizzy, said, “We breathe music. We dream music. We excavate music. We’re forever young.”