Finally bringing the much-anticipated reunion of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony brothers Layzie and Bizzy to the stereo, The Bone Brothers is a frustrating album if there ever was one. Skip ahead halfway through this jumble of styles if you want the good news, because the first half of the album is tangled in uninspired venom and commercial thug throwaways. "Like Me" apes Eminem so hard it hurts, "What's Friends" rips off Whodini's "Friends" without adding anything new to it, and the misguided "Dick Rider" tries to marry Bone thugging with Jay-Z's sparkle. Luckily, Layzie's and Bizzy's raps are more hit than miss during these moments, but in regard to production, everything feels forced and choruses that want to be street anthems end up sounding weak and contrived. Once you hit "Give It to Me," a whole new world opens up, and that lazily rolling Bone style is back. It's less ambitious, but the effervescent, feel-good "Hip Hop Baby" is up there with "Crossroads." "Str8 Ridaz" and "Complicated" are worthy additions to your next mixtape of the extended Bone family, and one on-point track after another balances the fake urgency that sours the album's first half. All this said, hearing so much Bone family interaction after loads of solo albums is a nostalgic thrill for anyone who used to spend countless hours listening to Cleveland's finest. That's just enough to recommend this up-and-down album to veteran fans, but the casual Bone listener can pass.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries