You say the name Bone Thugs, my mind immediately springs to “East 1999 Eternal”, or perhaps I hear a female voice chanting “It’s the thuggish ruggish bone”, yet even still the enchanting “Crossroads” may come to mind. One step further? Sure, how about Mo Thugs “Family Scriptures”? My point? Well, the Cleveland group has a pretty astonishing track record, but latter releases such as “The Art of War” as well as independent releases did not seem to have the same impact as their incredible start. These men need no introduction, what they do need however is redemption which is what they are hoping to bring with their latest release which signifies their official regrouping “Thug World Order”.
The CD kicks off with “T.W.O. Intro”, the tympanies roll and we hear an intro reminiscent of “East 1999 Eternal” which rolls right into “Bone, Bone, Bone”, having an old school feel of Bone, a bouncy bass-line and the speedy flow that brings back memories, the chorus leaves much to desire however, very plain and there is not a single extra word outside the name of the track.
“Guess Who’s Back”, I’ll give you one chance to guess what this song is about. A 1980 chorus loop from “My Boyfriend’s back” (I think that’s the title), and Bone Thugs are back and we are apparently going to be in trouble. A smart mix of laid back and uptempo at the same time, once again, pretty decent flow, no lyrical complexity but it sounds nice, however the hook is scary. Next, we have “Home”, watch out for 80’s flashbacks when you hear this beat, but it is actually done in a way that doesn’t hurt my ears which is a first for any song from the 80’s. The chorus borrows another loop from the 80’s, I do not know the song it samples though, but it does sound far superior than anything thus far. I’m definitely feeling this joint.
After hearing “Home” I am optimistic once again since popping in this CD, the next track “What About Us” features some light organ music with an attempt at thought provoking lyrics and a self-reflective beat. They don’t really pull it off though it isn’t a bad track, it just doesn’t have the full effect they were going for, but it is one of their better songs on the line-up. “Get Up & Get It” featuring 3LW & Felecia is the first official release from “Thug World Order” and does what they set out to do, which is to reintroduce Bone back into the hip hop mainstream, blending a feel of pop and that thuggish ruggish bone we all remember.
“All The Way” is a very melodic soulish type of track, with a beat that just may have come from an R&B song, not too shabby, there’s some flow that is a must-hear, not that there is something that is just tight lyrically but it just sounds so nice that I have to push rewind just to let it tickle my ears again. The chorus is lacking but at this point it is to be expected.
Switching the pace from easy flowing, we shift gears right into “Pump, Pump”, full of shotgun pumps as the name would indicate, a thin beat filled out mostly by vocals. Once again, the chorus could have used a little work but the verses meet that crave for Bone’s fast and furious style. Next we are definitely going to “Set It Straight”, another song dealing with their identity, great production work here. I’m feeling the beat, but there is some out of place singing out the end that puts a big hurt on the track.
“Money, Money” finally has a decent chorus that I just may find myself chanting after the end of the song. I love the beat, there is a jazz type singer in the very back that adds tremendously to the effect. Our Cleveland friends spit about being broke and triumphing in their life, really nice production work once again.
Unfortunate. My point of reference? This next track “Not My Baby”. What exactly is unfortunate you ask? A waste of a perfectly good beat, it’s a nice beat too, yet it is without a doubt wasted on a garbage song. From the topic of a “lovechild” that isn’t theirs, to the excuse for a chorus to the verses, it’s all trash with the exception of the beat. Avant joins our notorious thugs on “Cleveland Is The City” although Avant doesn’t show up until over halfway through the song. The beat goes by unnoticed, the chorus never produces anything worthwhile since it is oversimplified and Avant is never really utilized except as a finishing touch, this track is quickly forgettable. We finish the journey with “If I Fall”, a tribute to streetlife. The hook is one of the better ones, most of the verses are just okay, not quite as nice as most of the other verses on the cd.
I have always been a huge fan of Bone’s style of light and quick flow, and they once again showcase it in a lot of good ways with very few verses not meeting the standard. Not much to look forward to as far as a “complete” song goes, but there are exceptions such as “Home” and “What About Us” that make valiant attempts at stepping up their game. Depending on where you’re from and your taste, the bad may outweigh the good since there are at least 3 tracks that cover the same topic of “We’re bone, you better recognize” which gets very old almost as fast as their speech, and also most of the CD’s choruses are so dang forgettable. Redemption? Not quite, maybe the next release will offer something more memorable. Big points taken off for lack of variety and creative approach, but I have to give big points to production since there is a good selection of nice beats, and I also love their style and group dynamics, 3 out of 5 stars.
01 T.W.O. Intro
02 Bone, Bone, Bone
03 Guess Who’s Back feat. LaReece
05 What About Us
06 Get Up & Get It feat. 3LW & Felecia
07 All The Way
08 Pump, Pump
09 Set It Straight
10 Money, Money
11 Not My Baby
12 Cleveland Is The City feat. Avant
13 If I Fall
3 out of 5