After years of little activity, the Bone Thugs-N-Harmony family returned with a vengeance in 2004 and 2005. Following releases by Bizzy and Krayzie, the Bone Brothers (Bizzy and Layzie), and a Bone Thugs greatest-hits collection, Layzie Bone unveiled his long-awaited solo debut, IT'S NOT A GAME. Layzie, with his ability to rap slowly or at Twista-level speed with equal precision, may be the quintessential Bone Thugs member, and while the beats on this effort are enchantingly spare, his versatile voice more than fills the space.
Layzie is joined by numerous guest stars on IT'S NOT A GAME, but save Snoop Dogg's distinctive entrance on the hazy "Smokin' on Information," the guests are just dropping by and hanging out, rather than stealing the show. A shining example of this follows the intro, as Layzie plays his rhymes off of the sweet, refined soul croon of Aaron Hall on the creeping "There They Go." Layzie follows with a dizzying Twista collaboration on the pair's paean to their home region--the captivating "Midwest Invasion." (Layzie is from Cleveland, Ohio, and Twista hails from Chicago, Illinois.) It's exactly this mix of slow and fast tracks that makes IT'S NOT A GAME a winning solo outing for the skillful Layzie Bone.