Another scary reminder of how old some of us are.
Today is the 25th birthday of E. 1999 Eternal.
If you don't know the history behind Bone Thugz n Harmony and this album allow me to fill you in a little bit.
5 guys from a shit part of Cleveland worked selling drugs for the same group. During the slow days on the streets they passed the time by singing and crooning old Four Tops and Temptations songs. Motown jams. They also began freestyling and adding in rap verses to the songs. Taking notes from Busta Rhymes and fellow midwest wordsmith Twista, they adopted the fast rap style where they crammed as many words into bars as possible. All while maintaining the harmonious Motown like sound. They started attracting crowds and eventually began battling other local rappers. Their sound caught fire locally and when they finally broke out nationally theirs was a sound nobody had ever fuckin heard before. A melodic take on gangsta rap (similar to Nate Dogg but more hardcore) that catches you off guard the first time you hear and even though your brain says you shouldn't like it you do. A lot.
Eazy E eventually took them under his wing to mentor them and line them up with real production, like his boy DJ U-neek, who did everything on the group's first three albums. Including E 1999 Eternal, their second, and greatest, album.
E 1999 Eternal was released four-months after Eazy-E died of AIDS. It featured smash hits “1st Of Tha Month,” the album’s first single, which struck a chord with it's laid back BBQ vibe (fun fact, Chris Rock referred to the song as the “welfare carol,” in one of his standups),
Then there's the albums most successful single, and the group's most famous song, "Tha Crossroads". The song was intended as an elegy for their mentor Eazy-E, but was quickly adopted by the world as a song for anybody who'd lost somebody close to them.
It was pretty crazy how massive the song became. It dominated the airwaves in 1996. It was #1 on Billboard for 2 months straight. And Bone's performance of the song at that years MTV VMA's (back when that award show was arguably the biggest of all award shows) might be in the discussion for top 5 VMA performances ever.
So yes, E. 1999 Eternal was and is still a pretty big fuckin deal.
Great album to throw on and jam out to on this beautiful July afternoon.
p.s. - They were also featured on one of the best rap songs of all time -
And can't forget one of the best walkup songs in baseball, Kyle Schwarber's, "Thuggish Ruggish Bone"