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May 6 @ 8:00 pm$35 – $49.50
When they formed in 1991, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony were onto something new—their melody-first approach to hip-hop sounded particularly fresh and pointed to how rap would progress in the coming decades. They started in Cleveland, where no top-selling hip-hop act had come from before, and their music was different from the outset: The quintet of Bizzy Bone, Flesh-N-Bone, Krayzie Bone, Layzie Bone, and Wish Bone specialized in intricate high-speed rhymes about street life that carried unusual melodic contours and multi-part harmonies. West Coast G-funk, generous with hooks and indebted to ‘70s soul and funk, was a clear influence, so it made sense that Bone Thugs’ major break came courtesy of N.W.A.’s Eazy-E, who signed them to his Ruthless label. He featured on early single “Foe Tha Love of $,” their second Top 40 hit, but it took a posthumous tribute to Eazy, “Tha Crossroads,” to make Bone Thugs superstars (and Grammy winners). After 1997’s sprawling double-disc The Art of War, which included the slow-rolling smash “Look into My Eyes,” intra-band conflict derailed their career for a time. Bone Thugs’ members went in 10 directions at once, with a dizzying array of solo albums and smaller group projects, before fully reuniting the following decade. The hits have come more slowly since, but they’d already left their mark—in modern hip-hop, the line between rapping and singing has all but vanished, and Bone Thugs’ rap/R&B hybrid clearly helped spur that evolution.