Indiana Daily Student

Bone Thugs 'Still the Greatest'

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony perform September 6 at the Bluebird. The rap group known for its aggressive vocal style sold out the Bloomington club on a Sunday night.
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony perform September 6 at the Bluebird. The rap group known for its aggressive vocal style sold out the Bloomington club on a Sunday night.

Backed by a posse of DJs and surrounded by smoke, hip-hop dynasty Bone Thugs-n-Harmony took the Bluebird Nightclub stage late Sunday night. A sold-out crowd of faithful fans greeted the group with a long-awaited cheer – they had been waiting 10 years and four opening acts to see this performance.

IU senior Rachel Zakem got a ticket from a friend earlier in the day.

“I’m from Ohio, so I love them,” she said of the Cleveland-based rap group.

Zakem said she was impressed with the Bluebird’s pull by being able to recruit top acts to perform at the downtown venue.

“The music scene here is really good,” she said, referring to the Bluebird’s contribution to Bloomington’s music scene.

Bone Thugs released a string of successful albums in the 1990s, including 1994’s “Creepin on ah Come Up” EP and “E 1999 Eternal.” But in recent years they have not been able to match the success that came along with their earlier albums, most notably their Grammy-winning hit single “Crossroads.”

Ivy Tech student Janet Grumme came to the show decked out in her Bone Thugs-n-Harmony T-shirt.

“I love Bone Thugs, so I am so excited,” she said. “I don’t really like rap, but I really like Bone Thugs. They are old-school and I can feel it - that’s what I like.”

As the night went on, a succession of opening acts was drowned out by the crowd’s chant for “Bone Thugs!”

“Just one more song?” pleaded one MC.

Michael H. Epstein, a 2005 IU alumnus, was in town for a bachelor party with other IU graduates. Four of them decided to stay an extra night to check out the concert.

“If this is what we stayed for – for them to blow off their fans,” Epstein said as
another opening act was being booed by the crowd.  

But eventually, the show started as group members Wish, Layzie and Krayzie Bone took the stage in succession.

“I take back everything I said,” Epstein said over the roar of the crowd.

The group rolled out their tongue-twisting rhymes and launched each song with their signature harmony and a cappella sound.

The group, which also includes members Flesh-n-Bone and Bizzy Bone, is reportedly working on a soon-to-be-released album “UNI-5: The World’s Enemy” – featuring the five members reunited after years of controversy, including poor-selling solo albums, jail time and lawsuits.  

While only the three core members of the group performed on Sunday, they sampled a who’s-who of the rap industry, highlighting a Bone Thugs collaboration record that includes a graveyard of hip-hop royalty.

“When I say Eazy, you say E,” they instructed the crowd, in memoriam for their former producer Eazy-E.

A similar shout-out was made before launching into “Notorious Thugs,” the group’s 1997 release with rapper Notorious B.I.G.

“When I say Biggie, you say Smalls – let’s bring that fat thug back to Indiana!” the band yelled.

Senior Brittany Wilson said she has been a Bone Thugs fan since she was 12 but had never seen them perform.

“I think it is awesome. It is such a small venue,” she said of their performance at the Bluebird Nightclub. “I think they are making a comeback.”

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