Album cover Art of War: WWIII - Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
Art of War: WWIIIBone Thugs-n-Harmony4/10

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony - Art of War: WWIII

15 Mar 2014 row1

Labeled as the final Bone Thugs-n-Harmony album featuring all five members, there is a lot of pressure on their 10th studio album to deliver. Unfortunately it is yet again another disappointing and dishonest release—something that has plagued their releases of recent years. On the plus-side and unlike Thugz Alwayz, this is all "new" material that has not been relabelled, but sadly there is a catch. Krayzie and Wish never recorded anything specifically for the album, and as such, they only appear on a couple of tracks.

One thing I got to say about that Art Of War III album is, it’s been so much stuff going on about that album, and it ain’t even what everyone thinks. For one, Wish Bone ain’t even on that album. That’s an album with Layzie, Bizzy and Flesh Bone. I guess the situation was not what it was supposed to be or whatnot to make my brothers not even want to participate in it anymore, so I don’t even know what’s going on with that album. I never had nothing to do with it—never recorded anything for it—so I really don’t know what’s going on with it.

Krayzie Bone

DJ U-Neek reunites with the group, but his production is lackluster at best. None of the music stands out enough to grab the listener's attention, and to be brutally honest, it all just sounds like leftover filler beats from a studio that time long forgot. The tracks 'Top Notch', "It's a Bone Thing", and 'Swagged Out' are synthesized throw-backs to Bone circa 'Thuggish Ruggish Bone', and while I do think that 'Thuggish Ruggish Bone' and the rest of Creepin On Ah Come Up were great, it sounds incredibly dated in 2013/2014 and is not a good sound to revisit—they should be looking forward and not back.

Lyrically there is also little of merit, and at times, it is hard not to completely zone out to the over abundance of Bizzy trying to take up the slack caused by the AWOL Wish and Krayzie. One thing that has always slightly irked me about Bone Thugs-n-Harmony is their hypocrisy. One minute they will be singing about "Mo' Murda", and the next minute they will be proselytising the listener. But that sort of duplicity is all too common in-and-out of the real world and plays into their name, so you can let it slide and enjoy the album for what it is and also for providing some contrast. Something that cannot be ignored however is the group previously calling for the 'Death of Auto-Tune', but then on this album Bizzy Bone produces one of the worst examples of Auto-Tune I have ever heard on the track '100-K'. Why would you record this? Why would you feel the need to defecate all over an already questionable album with this shit? Auto-Tune has been out of fashion for years, shouldn't an executive producer or someone have said that enough is enough and draw the line at this nonsense? In other less pressing issues, Tanieya Weathington appears on too many hooks and overall there are too many slower "harmony" songs that not kept in-check by darker "thug" tracks.

It is painfully obviously that not much thought was put into the planning of Art of War: WWIII and that it features leftovers from when the group was still together. There was a time when Bone Thugs-n-Harmony were at the top of the world and had the whole music industry on lock-down, but then something happened and they haven't been able to put out a cohesive album for a long time. Apart from the internal conflicts, I think the main problem has been a lack of quality producers and a severe lack of hunger, direction and focus from the group. I still regard Bone Thugs-N-Harmony as one of the all-time greats and even on this album you can see that they still show the vital signs of being incredibly talented rappers, so it is completely unacceptable that Art of War: WWIII is their send off album!

Sardless Tracks

    Track Listing

    1. WWIII – Introduction
    2. Top Notch
    3. Murda On U feat. Don Jagwarr
    4. Born In The Ghetto feat. Big B
    5. Bone feat. Tanieya Weathington
    6. Bring it Back
    7. Approach 2 Danger
    8. Bitch iz a Bitch
    9. It’s A Bone Thang feat. Tanieya Weathington
    10. 100-K
    11. Deep End feat. Por’cha
    12. Back In Tha Dayz feat. Tanieya Weathington
    13. Walk This Way feat. Big B
    14. Rapella feat. Por’cha
    15. Swagged Out
    16. It Will Be Alright feat: Por’cha
    17. In Memory of Eazy feat. Bruce-E-Bee & Phaedra
    18. Everything 100 feat. Ty Dolla $ign