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E. 1999 Eternal

by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony

Released July 25, 1995 via Ruthless Records

Reviewed July 28, 2020

Top tracks (based on community voting)
1st of Tha Month (25%), Tha Crossroads (25%), Mo’murda (20%)

Not often mentioned in the greatest hip-hop acts of all-time discussions, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony actually has a solid case for prompting at least a “what about…?” The Cleveland group single handedly put their city on the map, something the Wu’s and the NWA’s of the time can’t claim for their legacies, and E. 1999 Eternal was instrumental for their personal success as well as the notoriety of Cleveland. Essentially starting with a blank slate as far as what their sound could be, the quintet developed a moody, forlorn, genuinely thriller-like subgenre that very few other acts had done successfully. Mix that with their instantly recognizable cadence and the way each member can either spit their bars or sing them, and Bone Thugs create an atmosphere that is entirely original. Songs like “Die Die Die” and “East 1999” exemplify just how deep into the shadows of their town they can pull a listener, but hits like “1st Of Tha Month” and “Budsmokers Only” show that those shadows aren’t always as intimidating as they might originally seem. Not to mention, “Tha Crossroads” still stands as one of the most heart-wrenching rap songs of all time, further showcasing how versatile the group got on this project. – Pax (9.2/10)

The power in every gangsta rap album are the common threads connecting every rapper from every ghetto telling the same uniquely American stories. E. 1999 Eternal is only one of the countless records that fall under the gangsta rap archetype, but it contributed such a unique and original application of the standard that it remains singular to this day. With this record, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony cemented a patent on their style with the dizzying cadences that continually constrict and expand on command. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony not only portrayed their environment vividly, they put that environment on the map to be seen alongside the coastal cities that were dominating the scene. – DeVán (8.5/10)

In an era dominated by East and West, this debut from a Cleveland-based hip-hop group shook up the regional power dynamics of the genre. Bone Thugs' charismatic triplet-adjacent flows and persistence on incorporating melodic deliveries were perhaps only predated by what Three 6 Mafia was developing in the South. With style at the forefront, E. 1999 Eternal presents a classic gangsta rap album capable of packing generational crossover hits alongside some of the darkest street grit of the '90s. – Enth (8.5/10)

Pax: 9.2/10 | Hadley: 9/10 | DeVán: 8.5/10 | Enth: 8.5/10

Dominick: 8/10 | Jared: 8/10

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