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Arts and Entertainment

Bone Thugs @ HOB, 5/9/07

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If you were writing a text book titled “How to Put on a Cliché Hip Hop Concert,” it would have been in your best interest to attend last night’s Bone Thugs N Harmony concert at the House of Blues. The thirteen year veterans who revolutionized the sound of hip-hop with their groundbreaking style, mixing rapid fire lyrics mixed with layered harmonies did nothing revolutionary at last night’s show.

Bone Thugs, who’s latest album Strength & Loyalty dropped (to clarify: hip-hop albums drop, all other genres release albums) on Tuesday, provided a surprisingly young audience with just about every cliché that makes a hip hop show a hip hop show.

The trio (they used to be a quintet – Flesh N Bone is currently incarcerated and Bizzy Bone left the group to pursue a not-so-budding solo career) turned to stale routines to work the crowd, like splitting the audience in half to see which side was the loudest. Despite its lack of originality, the bit actually worked.

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Another formulaic feature of the show that worked, and always works at hip hop shows – tributes to the patron saints 2Pac and Biggie, however Bone Thugs are one of the only groups who can actually tribute these "fallen soldiers" with songs from their own catalog. The group did “Notorious Thugs” alongside a voiceover of the late great Christopher Wallace and “Thug Luv” with a voiceover from the allegedly deceased legend Tupac Shakur.

Despite the clichés on display, the group did show off an impressive catalog of hit records. From their current hit “I tried” which like 85% of the songs on the radio right now features Akon, all the way back to the single that put them on the map – “Thuggish Ruggish Bone.” For those of you had 11:19 in your office pool, you’re a winner! That’s the time when Krayzie, Layzie and Wish Bone decided to bust out their biggest record, “The Crossroads,” a tribute to the man who discovered them, Compton’s own Eazy E.

Following "The Crossroads" there really was only one song left that the crowd, most of which were not old enough to wear House of Blues wristbands (How old were these kids when First of the Month was a hit?), wanted to hear and I think the BTNH knew that. So the trio delayed it with yet another drop of "California Love." I am convinced that there is a law that mandates all hip hop DJs to throw the needle on 2Pac's ode to the Golden State whenever they are here in Californ-i-a.

After keeping the crowd around long enough, Krayzie Bone finally performed his verse on the Grammy winning single, "Ridin' Dirty."

Those in the crowd who were keeping score knew that there wasn't much left to see from Bone Thugs and began to head for the exits. Those who did stick around were treated to a tribute to all of the weed smokers in the crowd. Another hip hop show cliché - always salute the ganja fanatics, while House of Blues security might be doing their best to stop fans from lighting up the guys on stage always get a pass.

The guys on stage don't get a pass for putting on a cliché show however. They may have a deep catalog of classic records but their work on stage last night was far from classic.