Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

Uni5: The World's Enemy

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With estranged brother Bizzy back in the fold, Uni5: The World's Enemy reunites the original five members of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony after 10 years apart, but it’s not a return to form by any stretch of the imagination. This eighth studio effort leans toward radio-friendly numbers and proper grown-man tracks, with the core four members offering life lessons as Bizzy gives his Biblical perspective. The closest they come to the old days is the opening, “Rebirth,” a chugging juggernaut of an anthem that mixes thunderous production with a hook-filled chorus and those quick, whip-snap verses Bone built their name on. Momentum builds as the album’s lyrical highlight “See Me Shine” gives way to the dark, cursed, and Bizzy-less “Only God Can Judge Me,” which features gospel choir singers and demonic voices melting into a truly unsettling production. “Wanna Be” is bland until Bizzy’s grand moment comes while damning the music industry with “I see women given their bodies like David Letterman love you/Strugglin’ and Husslin’, slangin’ tapes on the Internet” then “Sorry I meant to tell you just what just masters do” and exiting on “Only Jesus can make you a star.” His interests are obviously elsewhere as the rest of Bone try to craft a veteran hip-hop album that can crossover, but Bizzy acting as the group’s mystical and mysterious Flavor Flav is an interesting twist, and he lights every track he lands on. Krayzie Bone's contribution is worth mentioning as he turns in a handful of innovative productions, but the prize goes to producer and Mo Thugs associate Thin C and his mellow, smoker’s delight “My Life.” Like so many family reunions the album is a mix of naturally flowing moments and awkward ones, but when it clicks, that Bone magic is, in effect, making this a necessary listen for the faithful.

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