Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, or the two remaining members who call themselves Bone Thugs, focus on a few things: life, death and marijuana.
Life, (as in The Life Entertainment, Krayzie and Wish Bone’s new label) was mentioned at the show more times than the word “bone” is mentioned at the beginning of “Tha Crossroads.”
Death, as in their dead homies who were the subject of about half the show, which included tributes to Eazy E, Notorious BIG, Tupac and, briefly, Wally, C’s Uncle Charlie and Little Boo.
Marijuana was the subject of a third of their songs and 80 percent of their stage banter. When he wasn’t talking about weed, Krayzie Bone took a moment to address personnel changes within the group, saying, “no matter what you hear on the news, this [is] Bone.”
The only problem is that it wasn’t.
Not all of the Thugs were present, as the group has joined the long list of bands that split up into multiple groups in their old age, claiming the same title.
The current lineup, a combination of original Thugs, Krayzie and Wish Bone and The Life Entertainment prodigies is, for better and for worse, stuck in the ’90s.
Most of the concert was dedicated to showing the good side of being stuck in the past, with Krayzie and Wish Bone leading the crew through a tour of the group’s 1994-97 golden age.
Despite missing a few Thugs, the group performed these songs with the same precision and cohesiveness as the original crew, and, Ludacris be damned, Krayzie proved that he is still the king of speed rap.
The throw back to their ’90s hits apparently brought a lot of the audience back to their high school days. By the second song, grown men and women were grinding like shameless sophomores at the homecoming dance.
The ’90s throwback turned sour when they decided to play some of their new The Life Entertainment work, which painted a grim late-’90s-soaked future for the label.
The new material, both from Krayzie Bone and opening acts Dilemma and Dizzy, reeked of the late-’90s bravado, or what should be called the “having things” sub-genre of rap wherein oversized egos talk about all of the things that they have while wearing graphic tees and rhyming “party” and “Bacardi.”
It’s hard to pinpoint the absolute lowest point of the performance, but it’s narrowed down to three possibilities: Dilemma stopping a song because he didn’t know his own lyrics, Dilemma boasting and swagging about his single reaching 5,000 sales or Dizzy’s inspiring command to “put a finger in the air if you have a dream and you’re gonna follow it” right before singing a song wherein he rhymed “Rosé” and “OK” over somebody else’s beat.
Just as Bone Thugs was about to make me forget the opening atrocities with some of their timeless hits, the show ended, abruptly and awkwardly after only about an hour set.
The fact that it left the audience wanting more was a sign that it was a good concert, but really it was just a too-short set, with peaks exactly where you’d expect them (“Tha Crossroads,” “Body Rott”) and deep, deep valleys elsewhere.