November 5, 2015

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony - E. 1999 Eternal (1995)


After the smashing success of Death Row in the mid-90s, many different blends of g-funk were being introduced across the United States. In this time of g-funk dominance and mainstream homogenization, it must have been hard to predict what innovative sounds could possibly come next. By some random grace, however, a struggling group from Cleveland, Ohio (not too much of a hip hop hub), put everything they had into finding Eazy-E and being signed to Ruthless Records. B.O.N.E. must have known how awesome they were off the bat--I mean, it takes some kind of confidence in your musical ability to give up everything and travel across the country knowing that you'd be signed to the most revolutionary West coast hip hop label of all time without any connections. As soon as Eazy heard B.O.N.E. harmonizing their quick machine gun and triplet raps, he knew he'd found the new biggest thing the hip hop world was going to love. In the summer of 1994, the newly christened Bone Thugs-N-Harmony gave the world their first major label track, Thuggish Ruggish Bone, and its accompanying EP, Creepin on ah Come Up. As a result of the song's staggering success, their first full length, E. 1999 Eternal, was highly anticipated and took almost no time to get to number one on the charts. DJ U-Neek produced the whole album, and this is definitely a strength, since a lot of rap albums from around this time were mixed producer efforts which would more times than not hurt the cohesiveness of the album. This is no doubt his greatest work behind the boards: his devilish, ashed-out g-funk is just as original and memorable as Bone Thugs' melodicism. U-Neek had no major label credits before E. 1999 Eternal and was signed to Ruthless at the same time as Bone Thugs, so I'm surprised he was given the chance to take care of the album when Eazy already had established producers like Rhythum D, Cold 187um, and Yella able to go to work, but it's all wrapped up in history as a fantastic executive choice to give the world something entirely timeless.

Sample

E. 1999 Eternal