Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Biography

Based in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony was one of the most successful 90s rap outfits to break into the mainstream. Formed in the early 90s by Layzie Bone (Steven Howse, 23 September 1975, Cleveland, Ohio, USA), Bizzy Bone (b. Bryon Anthony McCane, 12 September 1976, Columbus, Ohio, USA), Krayzie Bone (b. Anthony Henderson, 17 June 1973, Cleveland, Ohio, USA), Wish Bone (b. Charles Scruggs, 17 February 1975, Cleveland, Ohio, USA) and Flesh-N-Bone (b. Stanley Vernell Howse, 10 June 1974, Cleveland, Ohio, USA), they were signed and nurtured by the founder of Ruthless Records, the late Eazy-E. (Their early material, billed as B.O.N.E. Enterpri$e, was released on 1993’s Faces Of Death collection without the group’s consent).

The group’s initial impact was astounding, even within a musical genre associated with a fast turnover of star acts. Their 1994 EP Creepin On Ah Come Up, featuring ‘Foe Tha Love Of $’, spent over 70 weeks on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart, and sold well over four million units. The following year’s E. 1999 Eternal went to number 1, selling over 330, 000 copies in its first week of release and subsequently becoming one of the bestselling rap albums of all time. The quintet’s popularity could be attributed to their appealing blend of vocal harmonies and tough street raps, as featured on the hugely successful singles ‘1st Of Tha Month’ and ‘Tha Crossroads’. Much of Stevie Wonder’s smooth R&B harmony style was brilliantly mixed with DJ U-Neek’s hardcore beats, and even if their gangsta rapping became tiresome, the strength of tracks such as ‘Budsmokers Only’ and ‘East 1999’ managed to put it into the background.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony returned in 1997 with the overindulgent The Art Of War, which stretched its lyrical and musical conceits far too thinly over the double disc’s 70 minutes playing time. In the late 90s, the group concentrated on developing artists signed to their own Mo Thug Records label. Bizzy, Krayzie and Flesh-N-Bone also released commercially and critically successful solo albums. The quintet reunited to record BTNHResurrection, which debuted at US number 2 in March 2000, before resuming their solo careers. Later in the year, Flesh-N-Bone was sentenced to 11 years in prison on gun charges.

The remaining quartet reunited in 2002 for the desultory Thug World Order, although they enjoyed an unlikely UK hit with the Phil Collins -sampling ‘Home’. The group’s troubled relationship with the errant Bizzy Bone came to a head during this period and he was ousted from the line-up. The remaining members also severed their ties with Ruthless Records. After the Internet-only release Bone 4 Life, they resurfaced on the Koch label in 2006 with Thug Stories. The group subsequently singed to Swizz Beatz’s label Full Surface Records and returned to the US Top 10 in April 2007 with ‘I Tried’.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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