April 16, 2015

Krayzie Bone - Thug Mentality 1999 (1999)

As the 20th century drew to a close, the world was still feeling the few hate-filled years caused by label executives which resulted in brutal deaths of hip hop's most beloved rappers. The community struggled to get back on its feet but did manage to put out a handful of highly stylized albums like Capital Punishment and It's Dark And Hell's Hot.

The first album from the unofficial Bone Thugs-N-Harmony leader is one of the most underrated and important albums released in the late 90s. In my eyes it was the on-record end to the violence and hate hip hop had been through with the Death Row/New York/Ruthless Records/Memphis beef. The album opens up with a fascinating cry for peace via gangsta rap. This intro and the songs that follow recognize the foundation of gangsta rap and why it originally formed and became successful, thus encouraging hardcore rappers around the world to grab gats and find a common enemy in the police and bustaz.

Still, all beef isn't closed and many more rivalries were opening up. In the late 90s, Krayzie Bone was in a tight battle with Twista over who could rap faster and who invented the style. If you can pick up on them, there are a few remarks regarding that and the beef also explains why Krayzie chooses to go so fast at certain points. Also, while most of the Memphis beef had been settled when mid-South stars, Eightball & MJG, appeared on here, animosity still hung in the air with the Gangsta Boo feature. Even though Bone Thugs welcomed Gangsta Boo with open arms to rap on the album, there was an element of subversion to what Boo was doing; she was trying to send a message to the rest of Three 6 Mafia, who she wasn't getting along with at the time.

Thug Mentality 1999 gives a sub-textual look at both sides of the crazy politics in hip hop. The album is banging with very dramatic beats from all kinds of producers, but still managing to retain the smoked out funk feel of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and a more noticeable Midwestern edge. This approach was typical of the time and once again we see the influence of 2Pac's album making method on here (Krayzie actually recorded 100+ tracks for this, and the 38 that he decided on make this even longer than All Eyez On Me). The first disc is no doubt the stronger half, but quality music is guaranteed throughout. This CD is a staple in my car just for the gangsta's paradise inside where rappers ranging from Snoop, E-40, Eightball, and Big Pun are all going hard.


Thug Mentality 1999 (320 KBPS CD Rip)