Crossroads: 20 Years of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

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  • Bone-Group
    Just over two months after Bone Thugs-N-Harmony member Krayzie Bone announced his departure from the fame Cleveland-based rap group, the BTNH pioneer announced to media last week that while the rap quintet will no longer exist together to create new music, they have agreed to still tour and perform together.<br /><br /> "We’ll be making an announcement about us getting back together for performance purposes,” Krayzie said in an interview that surfaced on the net last Wednesday (June 22). “I know the market is big for Bone Thugs performances. It can be even bigger with all of us together. This is true family. We’re going to fall out in public and in private, but there is nothing too big to keep us from coming back and doing business."<br /><br /> This isn't the first time the five-man act — comprised of Krayzie Bone, Wish Bone, Lazy Bone, Flesh-n-Bone and Bizzy Bone — has a public dispute since its inception 20 years ago. So, <em>XXLMag.com</em> decided to look back at Bone Thugs' most controversial and memorable moments of the last two decades. Whoever thought the group would actually come to the crossroads? <em>—Amber McKynzie</em>
  • Layzie+Bone
    <em> </em>In 1990, Layzie Bone was arrested for drug distribution and was forced to relocate to Texas to live with his aunt and uncle.
  • BonethugsEazyE
    In 1994, BTNH performed for Eazy-E backstage after a show in their hometown, Cleveland, OH. After listening to the five-man harmony, Eazy signed the group to Ruthless Records. The group then released their multi-platinum EP, <em>Creepin On Ah Come Up</em>.
  • Three-6-Mafia-1
    The five-man group's slew of public controversies first started in 1995 when a war started between the Ohio-born rap act and Memphis duo Three 6 Mafia. It kicked off when BTNH commented on the city of Memphis, TN, in the 1995 February issue of Vibe magazine, calling it a “bunk ass town.” Three 6 responded with “Live by Yo Rep,” a single released on their debut album, <em>Mystic Stylez.</em> Three 6 Mafia affiliate Gangsta Boo raps on the track: “Think about a master plan on how to buck them bitches dead/Gangsta Boo, the devil’s daughter comin’ with the livin’ dead."
  • Flesh---THUGS-Album
    Flesh-N-Bone dropped his first solo album, <em>T.H.U.G.S.: Trues Humbly United Gatherin’ Souls</em> in November of 1996.
  • E1999Eternal
    In the same year, BTNH released their debut album, <em>E 1999 Eternal</em>, which rightfully took its place at the top of the <em>Billboard</em> 200 and R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. As a result, their single, “Tha Crossroads” respectively took home the Grammy award for Best Performance by a Duo or Group in 1996.
  • flesh-n-bone-court1
    In February of 1997, Flesh-N-Bone turned himself into authorities after being wanted for seven assaults dating back to 1993. Law enforcement considered Flesh to be a fugitive. But after serving two months in jail, the BTNH member embarked on his now infamous week-long Los Angeles crime spree in July. Flesh was first arrested for setting off fireworks in California home with his step-brother, Jamartarik Cole. Both were held on a $500,000 bail. No less than four days later, he was arrested again for supposedly going to the top of his roof and flashing his family jewels to his 63-year-old neighbor. And if that wasn’t enough, he then threatened to sexually assault his wife. Flesh was charged with making terroristic threats and witness intimidation (to a previous charge) and was released from jail after posting a one-million-dollar bail.
  • Mo-Thugs--Family-scripture
    The group expanded to create the Mo Thugs Family, which included Layzie Bone, Krayzie Bone, Wish Bone, Flesh-N-Bone, II Tru, Poetic Hustla’z, MT5, and Felecia. The newly-aligned super group released their first album, <em>Mo Thugs Family Scriptures</em> in March of 1997.
  • Wish-Bone
    In July of ’97, Wish Bone, better known as the quiet one, was arrested at a strip club in Cleveland for slapping a stripper’s derrière. The stripper smacked Wish after assuming he was the culprit – which according to reticent rapper was a member of his party, not him. When asking for an apology, the club’s management said no, and in turn police were called to “sort out” the situation. WB was eventually charged with aggravated disorderly conduct.
  • the_art_of_war
    Five months later, in August of 1997, the group released their second album, <em>The Art of War</em>, which featured the late Tupac Shakur on songs like “Thug Luv.” The album went four-times platinum.
  • Twista
    In 1998, beef grew between the group and Chi Town’s Twista as a debate began over who invented the fast-slow rhyme style. In an interview, the group commented saying that Twista did not originate the speedy flow form and Layzie said, “Yeah he came spittin’ a hundred miles an hour but he wasn't adding the harmony like us.” Twist responded with his 1998 single “Crook County” featuring the Speed Knot Mobstaz. With his fire-spitting flow, Twista came hard. “Come look around crook county, look around, you found me/I must've been bad to the bone, get the mask and the chrome/This chi gotta die from a blast to the dome… Tellin' me to look into your eyes, all I see is a bitch/Tell Krayzie in New Orleans that he bit/Talkin' about you was lovin' my shit/Hit the bud and got sent on that shit/Odyssey mumblin' R&B you can keep the apology/You gon' try to dishonor me/Kill the hoes of the harmony/Just when you thought it was safe/The bone niggas 'bout to get slaughtered and raped/I can slow down and audit the tape.” Twista wasn't taking their declaration lightly.
  • Krayzie_Bone-Thug_Mentality-2CD-Retail-1999-Recycled_INT
    BTNH’s leader, Krayzie Bone, released his debut solo album <em>Thug Mentality 1999</em> in March 1999, which later went platinum. That same year, Krayzie started his own record label, Thugline Records.
  • BTNHRessurection
    The thugged-out rap group dropped their third studio album, <em>BTNHResurrection</em> in February 2000 and reached No. 1 on <em>Billboard’s</em> R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
  • Flesh-N-Bone---Mug-Shot
    In 2000, Flesh was convicted of assault with an AK-47 rifle and was sentenced to 12 years in Pleasant Valley State prison. He spent almost eight years behind bars before being released in July of ’08.
  • Bizzy-Bone---America's-Most-Wanted
    In May of 2002, Bizzy was featured on the classic television show <em>America’s Most Wanted</em>, as he opened up about his childhood kidnapping by the father of one of his sisters’. Biz was taken at the age of four along with his sisters after being told that their mother was dead. After one year, he and his siblings were found after Bizzy’s picture was placed at the end of the 1983 made-for-TV movie <em>Adam</em> as a missing child.
  • Thug-World-Order
    With four out of five members active, BTNH released their fourth LP, <em>Thug World Order</em>. The album reached No. 3 on <em>Billboard’s</em> Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 12 on the <em>Billboard</em> 200.
  • Krayziebone
    Krayzie Bone was arrested in February 2005 for lack of child support payments for his six-year-old son, dating back to 2002. Krayzie settled the case by paying a consolidated sum of $35,000.00 and avoided going before a grand jury.
  • ThugStories
    July 2006 marked the release of the Bone Thugs’ fifth album, <em>Thug Stories</em>, which reached No. 4 on <em>Billboard’s</em> Top Rap Albums chart and sold just over 100,000 copies.
  • StrengthandLoyalty
    After numerous setbacks, the Cleveland quintet dropped <em>Strength & Loyalty</em>, their sixth LP that ranked at Gold status.
  • FleshNBone-mugshot3
    Once again, Flesh-N-Bone was arrested for gun possession in April of 2009 in Santa Clarita, CA. He was held without bail while waiting to appear in court.
  • BTNH_UNI5_cov_ex
    Just last year, the legendary rap group announced their reunion as they geared up to drop their eighth studio album, <em>Uni5: The World’s Enemy</em> and embarked on a tour to follow. While the album released in May and celebrated the group’s reunion, one member was missing from the tour – Bizzy Bone. “All of our fans know that Bizzy is a complicated person and he needs time to get some things in order,” Krayzie told XXLMag.com when speaking of Bizzy’s absence. The tour began March 24 in Minneapolis, MN and concluded May 2 in Phoenix, AZ and went on without Bizzy at the group’s request.
  • The-LIfe-Apparel
    On July 14, 2010, Krayzie Bone started The Life Apparel clothing line, which sells t-shirts, sunglasses, bandanas and mixtapes.
  • Krayzie---Announces-Leave
    Now that Krayzie has announced his departure from the quintet, this is just another calamity in the group’s timeline of events. The BTNH leader began his video by saying, “I will no longer be part of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony due to uncontrollable circumstances. It’s basically time to move on and start embarking on different endeavors that I’ve already had planned in my life.”
  • nananana

    good read, puttin all drama aside, bone are legends.

  • El B

    greatest rap group of times. Thanks for the love XXL. BTNH 4 Life. And it aint over..

  • El B

    what’s funny too is that this isnt even half the story, lol. Someone really needs to give Bone their own documentary. They have one the most unique hip-hop story of all times.

  • Stack

    No doubt the best rap group ever. And Flesh-N-Bone is IMO, the best rapper ever!

  • STR8JACK

    Love Bone Thugs. Cool little timeline. BTNH4Life

  • $yk

    Wu Tang Clan>>>>>BTNH

    a great debate, but once the catalogs, accolades and longevity are put into play and the regional “hate” & childish insults are left out, it would be VERY hard not to say WTC is the GOAT rap group.

  • Say

    Wu Tang are legends too of course, but what Bone achieved cant be compared. Bone changed music forever.

    • El B

      exactly. U gotta respect what Wu, Outkast, UGK and other groups have done, but none of them can trump changing the sounds of hip-hop the way Bone Thugs-N-Harmony did. Their imprint will forever be evident.

      • $yk

        can you give some examples of this changing the music by Bone Thugs? Because I can itemize a few by Wu…

        1. Changed the contract structure for a group to seek solo deals
        2. Rza’s production influenced many producers and provided a completely different sound for the rap game
        3. Wu’s responsible for many classic Hip Hop albums:

        Enter The 36 Chambers
        WuTang Forever
        The Swarm
        Tical
        Only Built For Cuban Linx
        Liquid Swords
        Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version
        Supreme Clientele
        Uncontrolled Substances
        No Said Date
        Rza as Bobby Digital
        The Pillage

        4. created careers from their formula

        Cappadonna
        Killah Priest
        Shyheim
        RA the Rugged Man
        Sunz Of Man
        Gravediggaz
        LA The Darkman
        True Master
        Allah Mathematics

        to name a few. Bone Thugs had some MONSTER songs and I enjoy a lot of their music, but they didn’t impact the game like Wu did. Let’s keep it real, interviewers still talk about the Eazy E days with Bone Thugs instead of going thru their catalog for memories. Flesh and Bizzy stayed in jail too long and stagnated the group’s growth in the game. I really feel bad for Krayzie, and I hope he gets to achieve what he wants on his solo endeavor.

        But Wu is the GOAT group.

  • 51/50

    Timeline is kinda messed up but is cool that y’all give props to Bone, they deserve

  • girlgemini04

    coming from a true bone fan this is the worst timeline ever it needs to be ripped to pieces cause there are alot of missing pieces this article is wack.

  • http://www.justice.gov.za Ch*l*z

    Flesh Bone is troublesum….4 real.

  • Real Cleveland nigga

    coming from real Cleveland nigga. Fuck Bone. They not from 99th. They be on Elk. Fraud ass niggas

  • JPipe

    timeline was terrible and missed alot of things