Layzie Bone

How a Thug Was Born

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How a Thug Was Born is one of a seemingly endless stream of post-fame Bone Thug solo albums, this one billed to Layzie Bone and not one of the better. Not that there are a bunch of great Bone solo albums, because there aren't, but at least fellow group members Bizzy Bone and Krayzie Bone enjoyed some moments of glory in recent years. The black sheep of the group, Bizzy kept busy over the years, churning out so many oddball albums that he warranted a compilation, The Best of Bizzy Bone (2007), while Krayzie garnered a lot of attention with his guest feature on "Ridin'," Chamillionaire's chart-topping, Grammy-nominated hit from 2006 (such a big hit, in fact, that Weird Al spoofed it). Layzie, on the other hand, struggled to remain relevant: his Mo Thugs Family venture never panned out, his solo albums went mostly unheard, and his side work was insignificant. If not for his surname (i.e., Bone), it's safe to say that his solo recording career would have burned out years before How a Thug Was Born, an album that does little to resurrect hope for Layzie's solo prospects. The album, which is accompanied by a bonus DVD movie, Glass, is a rough listen. For one, the production values are basement quality, and not necessarily the beats themselves but rather the overall sound (i.e., the mixing, mastering, etc.). How a Thug Was Born really could have benefited from some professional studio time, because it's simply difficult to get past the poor production quality, which is "lo-fi" in a bad way. If you can get past the sound, the rapping is respectable, if less than thrilling. Layzie is a veteran, so he rhymes with ease; however, he's joined on every track by at least one member of his revolving cast of guests: Mo Thugs Family, Big Caz, and Thin C, who have numerous features each and are rarely compelling. Layzie's Bone affiliates do make a couple contributions -- Krayzie on "Fly the Coup," Flesh-N-Bone on "2wice," and Bone Thugs as a group on "Burn 2007" -- but, again, nothing too substantial.

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