Thursday, October 29, 2009
Bone Thugs N Harmony NYC Listening Session Album Preview
(with the press earlier in the day/courtesy of fabulousaura twitpic)
Bone Thugs N Harmony - 'Uni 5: The World’s Enemy' listening session took place at Legacy Studios in midtown Manhattan NYC on Wednesday October 28.
Album preview/review courtesy of Showing Out
Earlier tonight, select media were invited to attend a listening session for Bone Thugs~N~Harmony’s reunion album Uni 5: The World’s Enemy, which is slated for release on Warner Bros. on December 22nd. Stationed in one of the engineering rooms at Legacy Studios in midtown New York City, four of the five original members of the Cleveland-based group (Bizzy Bone was unable to make it) played 13 tracks for the tightly packed room, with Krayzie Bone kicking off the session by explaining, “I don’t know who the fuck made this list,” referring to the track list passed out to those in attendance. “We recorded over 67 songs for the album,” added Layzie Bone, later explaining that they mainly stuck with underground producers like DJ-Uneek because their tracks were just as fresh as those of the big names.
But as the group played through the tracks (Wish Bone was seated in a hallway outside the studio, though he could be seen throughout the album’s play), it quickly became clear that the guys are going to have a rough time paring down the tracks to the final cut. The tracks played for the room showed that Bone Thugs are as tight as ever, with a few cuts capturing that classic Bone Thugs sound and others employing a fresh, new style that the group has dubbed “universe,” which Layzie explained as having the group sharing a 16 on a song instead of having each member get their 16 to shine. Showing Out was there to take notes, so hit the jump to get a sneak preview of the 13 tracks that Bone Thugs~N~Harmony played.
The group explained that this track already leaked, so it might not make it onto the final cut of the album. But for those that haven’t heard the track already, it boasts an epic, pounding beat that features three straight-up rapped verses and a hook where they taunt their foes, “Don’t you come round here no more.”
Piano trills set off “My Life,” which floats along on a swinging, thwacking beat. This is Bone Thugs doing what they do best, seesawing between rapid flows that offset the languid pace and off-rhythm, relaxed flows. The guys take turns rapping and singing on the verses before easing up and letting the chorus rock.
See Me Shine ft. Lyfe Jennings, Jay Rush and Phaedra
This was the more spiritual, soulful type track that features R&B singer-songwriter Lyfe Jennings, his brother Jay Rush and Phaedra. The song features choppy, sharp synths that give way to a pumping beat that’s crowded with layers of horn synths. The highlight of the track is the inspirational choir coming in at the end of the track, all while the guest singers ask, “Why they wanna hate on me / Why they wanna steal my shine?”
What Have We Done to the World
The guys explained that this song was recorded the day after Michael Jackson passed, and though they said that sample clearance issues would most likely prevent this from making the final cut, they said they would find a way to get it out to the public regardless. The track samples MJ’s “Earth Song,” starting off with a spoken word quote from the King of Pop where he says, “Black artists have been taken advantage of” in the music industry, soon giving way to a breezy track that digitizes the line “What have we done to the world” from “Earth Song.” Each of the guys takes a turn spitting their verses, breaking down after each 16 before finally riding out on a mashup between the track and their classic “Crossroads.”
Cradle to the Grave
Layzie Bone explained that this track was “on some rider shit,” coasting on a down South beat and tinny drums. As the song played out, the dudes lit up at the front of the room, passing the blunt back and forth to one another as the chorus blared, “We gon’ take it from the top of the stage / From the cradle to the grave.”
The Game Ain’t Ready
Layzie introduced this track by stating that “hopefully, this will take us to the sports world.” With a machine gun beat pummeling along with bloopy synths underneath, each member takes turns on this one, repeating over regal horns, “The world ain’t ready, the game ain’t ready / Opposition ain’t ready.”
Meet Me in the Sky ft. K-Young
This track showed more of the softer side of Bone Thugs, with airy synths, stadium-sized drums and shaky electric guitars coalescing for an emotive soundscape. K-Young’s tenor vocals carry this joint, which isn’t their best work but will resonate with fans.
“This song is exactly what it says it is,” said Krayzie, before the engineer cued up the five-minute track. Over a slithering bass line and dusky, ominous piano chords, the gang warns all the young folk about the dangers of street life, with the chorus scolding, “Now I’ma break it down and tell a little story / Gangsters don’t live that long.”
The room seemed to be in agreement that this was the best of the bunch, and without a doubt, it was. Blaring horns, a sunny melody, organ notes and glib keys beam beneath the group as they flex their “universe” style, which has no one member outweighing another. Instead, vocals are layered on top of one another as certain voices come in and out of the mix, making for a delightful, speaker-knocking jam. The guys even namecheck their new style, singing, “Universe / One verse, five’s the best.”
Possibly the second-best track played during the session, “Everytime” has a celebratory feel with its clicking snares and shifting pace. On the tune, the guys sing, “Every time that I turn around / These biters tryna take our sound.” It ain’t easy being Bone Thugs.
“We lettin’ everybody know out there that if you’re determined to make it, you will make it,” explained Krayzie before playing the track. For over five minutes, the song cruises along with relaxed guitars that lead into a knocking, breezy groove, replete with a fat, plucking bass. The song is as inspirational as its title suggests, encouraging listeners never to give up on their dreams.
Facts Don’t Lie
This was the shortest track of the bunch, and it came with some of the most fiery lyrical venom of all the songs. Over a burning bass line, the group refutes their irrelevancy by stating that they’re a part of history, and that facts don’t lie.
Let Ya Self Go
The last song of the session, “Let Ya Self Go” concluded the album with that signature Bone Thugs~N~Harmony sound, with a delicate chipmunk sample playing background to the mysterious and atmospheric synths at the forefront. Not a bad way to end - and you can listen to the track in the link above to get a taste for yourself. Bone Thugs~N~Harmony are back.
Bone Thugs N Harmony Announces 'Uni5: The Worlds Enemy' Release At Press Conference