T.H.U.G.S.: Trues Humbly United Gatherin' Souls

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Flesh-N-Bone's solo release is a continuation of the rapid-fire delivery of lyrics patented by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. The words come so fast you're forced to listen intently to identify them. Lots of preaching and sermonizing here; the first cut uses lines from the "Lord's Prayer," while "Reverend Run Sermon" features Run (of Run-DMC) preaching a short message. A message ballad, "World So Cruel" samples Kenny Gamble and Bunny Sigler's "Love, Need and Want You," originally done by Patti Labelle. The lazy, floating "NorthCoast" is a charming incorporation of rap and jazz that would be equally at home on a contemporary jazz CD. The chorus is sung sweetly by Tiarra and Damon Elliot, while the lyrics speak of different streets on the Northside of Cleveland; Jimmy Z plays some nice sax and Layzie Bone leads the smoothie. As for hardcore, "Nothin' But Da Bone in Me" represents: the chorus smacks, and the bassline is too cool, while an eerie synthesizer accents the barrage of lyrics -- it's the obvious single. There's a message in the plodding "The Silence Isn't Over," but it takes a few repeat plays for it to sink in. Where are the lyrics when you need them? "Coming 2 Serve You" is blatant gangsta rap, as the lyrics tell a chilling story involving murder. To get the best, you've got to hear the redundant too, and there are many among the 17 selections. Even lyrics spewed out like machine-gun rounds get boring after a few spins, regardless of how ingenious and unique the technique.

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