With the ubiquity of autotuned sing-song verses and hooks in today’s music, it’s easy overlook how unique and influential Bone Thugs ‘n Harmony truly were to the development of this sound. Debuting via N.W.A. member Eazy-E in 1994, their signature delivery combined gangsta rapping with melodic singing, as well as rhythmic exploration of double and triple time flows. At the time this broke many stylistic barriers and unwritten rap rules, yet it’s through this innovation that the group found immense success.
Their official first four albums all went Platinum, including the all-time classic E. 1999 Eternal which achieved quadruple Platinum sales in 1995. At their peak they were massive stars, setting the stage for all future artists who’s delivery combines singing and rapping- and to think the Bones did it without autotune! Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Future, A$AP Ferg (with whom they recently collaborated on “Lord”) and countless others were directly influenced by the legacy left by this group of friends from Cleveland, Ohio who captured the whole world’s attention with a style that had never been heard before.
Bone Thugs ‘n Harmony certainly faced ups and downs over the course of their career, but they’ve always stayed important, as true innovators tend to do. Karmaloop was incredibly blessed to be joined by members Layzie, Bizzy, and Flesh-n-Bone over the holidays.
In this exclusive interview during our Freak-a-Thon event, Karmaloop’s Frank the Butcher talks to the three original members about their legacy, which contemporary artists they think are making innovative strides in music, and most interestingly the one most important piece of advice their mentor Eazy-E gave to them before passing away. We also captured a the group performing their hit “1st of the Month” live in our studio, and their intricate rapping and harmonizing sounds as good as ever. Still without autotune.