CD review: Bone Thugs N Harmony

UNI5: The World's Enemy (BTNH Worldwide)

Notable because it marks Flesh-N-Bone's return following a decade-long stint in jail, Uni5: The World's Enemy comes on the heels of 2007's Strength & Loyalty, which was a legitimate comeback for the group, founded in Cleveland almost 20 years ago. While Strength was propelled by the ballad "I Tried," Uni5 doesn't have that going for it. Its first single, "See Me Shine," features a cameo by J. Rush but is a forgettable R&B ballad. With its strong backbeat, "Wanna Be" is a more successful mix of R&B and hip-hop, merging soulful vocals with hard-hitting raps. The spiritually oriented "Universe" also successfully layers soulful vocals. But it's disappointing that Bones embrace the vocoder trend in the saccharine "Gone," a synth-heavy tune with a radio-friendly sound. And the New Age-y "Meet Me in the Sky" is more commercial pap that sounds out of place. While the material on Uni5 is uneven, Bone's sing-song vocals and tongue-twisting lyrics are unparalleled: Just check out the wordy, breathless "Rebirth," where you can hear the guys throw out words like "telekinesis."

Jeff Niesel

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