I can’t hear the term "first of the month" without being transported back to my summer-school graduation in 1995. Cap in tow, sporting my Cross Colors and a mullet, I would bump Bone Thugs-N-Harmony in my Camaro IROC-Z as I cruised the Grove with my homies.
Today I’m 42. The sports car is long gone, and mumble-rap garbage molests my ears.
At a pool-deck brunch with Bone Thugs member Layzie, I commented on how Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are even more relevant to me today. I told Layzie they represent what it used to take to become hip-hop superstars.
Nowadays you’re likelier to have commercial success by being rude to your parents and insulting Dr. Phil on TV. (I’m looking at you, Danielle Bregoli), but in the early days of Bone Thugs, talent and drive were not only needed but also required.
Armed with resilience and a fire demo, Bizzy and the boys set out to get signed. Flesh N Bone worked at KFC to save money to buy bus tickets so the group could track down Eric Wright, AKA Eazy-E. The goal? To audition for a real American idol, decades before reality TV corrupted the industry.
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These cats lived on the streets as they fought for footing in the music game. They met Eazy backstage at a show in Cleveland and auditioned on the spot. Eazy, who happened to be a Ruthless Records CEO, signed them instantly. The rest is history.
Thirty million albums later, and Bone Thugs hold many records in the unofficial hip-hop hall of fame. Most important, they’re the only group in rap history to collaborate with the Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, and Eazy-E.
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are the soundtrack to the memory of real hip-hop.