Krayzie Bone has already reached some of hip-hop’s highest plateaus. The Cleveland native sold more than 12 million records as a member of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and has won multiple Grammys—one for Bone Thugs’ “Tha Crossroads,” in 1997, and another, away from the group, for his appearance on Chamillionare’s “Ridin’,” in 2007. Now Krayzie brings his sage wisdom back to the streets with The Fixtape Volume 1: Smoke on This!
On “Sweet Jane,” Krayzie uses Ciara’s “Promise” instrumental to twist familiar children’s lullabies into a smoker’s anthem. Then he goes pop, molding Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money” melody into “Go Hard 4 My Money.” Krayzie goes on to transform 50 Cent’s “Ayo Technology” into a murder fest dubbed “Perfect Execution,” droppin’ lines like, “Okay, nigga, let’s pretend that you’re a bulletproof vest and I’m an automatic weapon.” But the harmonious MC goes too far when he errone-ously sings Prince’s “When Doves Cry” hook over Fabolous’s “Make Me Better.”
Despite the overabundance of beat jacks, there are a number of original compositions as well. However, songs like the lackluster “Ain’t Nutting Changed,” with its repetitive keys, do little to highlight the notorious Thug’s layered vocals. “In the Chevrolet” is another misstep, as the contrived concept track fails to offer any new insight into hip-hop’s car culture. Thankfully, a few notable guest spots make up for these transgressions. The Scarface-assisted “Crooked Cops” picks up where “Ridin’” left off, and Akon’s appearance on “Stay Down” helps urther Krayzie’s hustle, as he promises, “I put in blood, sweat and tears, and I’m still on the grind/Nigga, I put this on my kids, they gon’ gimme what’s mine.”
It’s been almost 15 years since BTNH made their indelible mark on hip-hop, and Krayzie Bone has plenty to be proud of. Unfortunately, The Fixtape’s misses slightly outweigh its hits, and they show that the OG might not be in perfect harmony with rap’s new generation.—Anthony Roberts