Reaching the top isn't nearly as hard as staying there. The Bone Thugs crew can attest to that. The quintet's blend of gangsta rigor and R&B smoothness revolutionized the rap landscape when it emerged in the mid-'90s. But their friendship wasn't as tight as their harmonies, and the group fractured under the weight of competing egos and agendas. Members fought with their label and with one another, producing a steady stream of mediocrity that teased but rarely fulfilled their promise.
In 2000, Flesh-N-Bone was incarcerated; two years later, the increasingly erratic Bizzy Bone departed. The three remaining members — Krayzie Bone, Layzie Bone, and Wish Bone — forged a comeback with 2006's Thug Stories and 2007's Strength & Loyalty, rediscovering some of the old magic with a significantly softer, slicker approach. Two years ago, Flesh got out of prison, and Bizzy also returned to reunite the original quintet for Uni-5: The World's Enemy. They're unlikely to create anything as powerful as E 1999 Eternal, but the new disc is easily their strongest release since.