Layzie Bone 

It's Not a Game (X-Ray/Cleopatra)

It may well be true, as Krayzie Bone once remarked with understandable bitterness, that everyone in hip-hop has a Bone Thugs-N-Harmony song. Although they were eclipsed by Nelly and others years ago, the various Bone brothers have continued to amass a catalogue built on the harmonized, meter-tripping rhymes that have become their trademark. Some excellent and innovative music has been stockpiled during these years in the indie boneyard.

Layzie Bone's latest, which follows by a few months his fine collaboration with Bizzy Bone, is another worthy addition to the Bone cannon. Amid the overstuffed 20-song running order are regular flashes of inspiration, drawing once again on a combination of sinister G-Funk and irresistible pop; check "Way Too Many" for the blueprint. Hitbound as that track and "Stayin' Alive" sound, it's too late to convert the kids. Layzie Bone seems aware of this, but his inarticulate complaints about haters and biters are growing old. As on every Bone project, the good stuff here is its own best argument.


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