From the mid-90s to early new millennium, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony collectively and individually were some of the most popular rappers on the planet. Brought into the game by the late Eazy-E and sold on their melodic wickedness, these five Cleveland friends practically patented the fast-flow that rules today’s scene and took the genre’s gangster mentality to a whole other level – all off rip.
Then, when the content was toned down, their theme was weed – which not only helped expand their fan base, but cultivate one of Hip-Hop’s most popular sub-genres. By the time personal issues and cultural changes had dropped their stature, they had already amassed a legacy that claimed over 30 million sold and could one day be worthy of a spot in their hometown’s museum on the lake.
As of today, the group has mended their ties and look to resurrect the five true thugs from the double glock once again. While they iron out the kinks, let’s reminisce on the ten Bone Thugs tracks everyone should know. Considering their hits are deep, make sure to fill the comments with your additions, as well as their best solo songs and guest features.
1. “Thuggish Ruggish Bone”
Bone’s first single from their Ruthless records debut Creepin’ On Ah Come Up EP still stands just as tall today. Laced with one of the most gangster beats ever from DJ U-Neek and rapid-fire flows from each of the five Cleveland thugs, this track successfully carried the gangsta rap legacy of their West Coast mentor and set the tough tone for their storied career.
2. “Foe Tha Love Of $” (Extended)
Before songs about getting guap were all the rage, this DJ Yella-produced block boy anthem had everyone from the hood to the ‘burbs upping their intake. And, although the single version was originally featured on Creepin’ On Ah Come Up, the extended play from their extra fresh Collection Vol. 1 compilation album is preferred by Bone fans with class.
3. “1st Of The Month”
Quite possibly the best song to ever start off with a rooster crowing, this timeless ode to cashing welfare checks was not only successful because it sounded so smooth, but because the group was wise enough to tone their content down just enough to crossover. Twenty years later, every urban radio station religiously plays this E. 1999 Eternal single on each of the first calendar days of the year.
4. “Crossroads” (Remix)
If you don’t know this song…you could very easily be from another planet. If you do, more than likely you can recite every word to the Eazy-E dedication and consider this classic one of the best remixes of all time – in spite of the DJ-Uneek-produced cut getting confused as the original by most. However, the OG is also quite nice, despite being much darker.
5. “Mo’ Murda”
What? You thought we were only rolling with the radio tracks from E.1999? The album is one of the most revered rap albums ever specifically because of it’s depth and this homicidal cut is one of the main reasons why. Lacing those cold-blooded keystrokes with the unfathomable flows that put them on the map, this track somehow manages to rationalize rapping about aimless mass murder, thanks to that pesky ol’ Ouija Board.
6. “Look Into My Eyes”
Filled with undercover jabs at copycat foes and a nice melodic hook, this deep-key killer comes from Art Of War – Bone’s second album in the mainstream eye – and showed the group hadn’t lost their tough talk, even though their soft side was getting all the attention.
7. “Thug Luv”
In the midst of their respective career heights, the genre’s most popular thugs teamed up for this dark-hearted collaboration from 1997. From the eerie beat to the ruthless lyrics, this song is sinister as it gets and helped Art Of War achieve 4x platinum status, despite being one of the few stand-out songs on the album’s second disc.
8. “Days Of Our Livez”
One of the many reasons we love Set It Off, this track was the soundtrack’s lead single and might be one of Bone’s best low-key tracks. Featuring another touching beat by DJ U-Neek that’s derived from Force MD’s tender classic, this track found the collective showing their lighter side and speaking on how they’re more than they thugs they portray.
9. “Weed Song”
Thing is, joints about dope have always been part of the Cleveland Thugs’ formula. Smoking is just what they do. That said, picking a specific one for this list was tough. But, since we wanted to highlight their 2000 comeback BTNHResurrection and the top two tracks were a song about E pills and this potent ode to ol’ Mary, we figured this could hold the torch. We see you “Budsmokers Only.” We see you.
10. “Money, Money”
Even though there was a single with frikkin’ Phil Collins on their relatively successful Thug World Order LP from 2002, this broke folk anthem is getting precedence. Between the fist-clenching beat and ridiculous verses from Bizzy and Krayzie, this empowering track was almost certainly the album’s shining moment, as well as one of the top tracks from the latter half of their catalog.