Retro Review: The Art of War

Retro Review: The Art of War

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The Art of War, by Bone thugs-n-harmony

The Art of War is the third studio album from Bone thugs-n-harmony. While Creepin On Ah Come Up and E. 1999 Eternal were my favorite albums of theirs, I think it’d be safe to say that this album was their best as an entire project. A lot of this album was directed towards other acts that they were beefing with at the time, but that didn’t stop it from being a strong album at all. In fact, some of those songs would still be fucking amazing, even if they weren’t “diss” tracks.

  • Lyrics
  • Instrumentation
  • Production
  • Features
  • Longevity
  • Impact
  • Personal Preference
4.7
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Review

Lyrics
 While they were basically more of the same types of songs as in their previous outings, Bone managed to remain consistent in what they were saying, and with the production value near flawless, their legibility was at its best.
Instrumentation
 Everything that was good about the instrumentals on the last album returned, as DJ U-Neek was the sole producer this time around, and had found the magic formula that Bone needed to make hit after hit, after hit. I honestly can’t think of a single song on this album that I didn’t like the beat.
Production
 By the time this album came out in 1997, hip-hop engineers had pretty much gotten into their groove and understood how the genre should sound on disc and on vinyl.
Features
 Most of the songs on here were entirely Bone. BUT, the songs that had features had just the right ones. “Ready 4 War” and “7 Sign” introduced Mr. Maje$ty, the lyrical powerhouse from Bizzy Bone’s label “7th Sign.” The “Mo Thugs Family Tree” featured everyone from Bone’s Mo Thug stable. Every one of them (II Tru, Tre’, Graveyard Shift, Poetic Hustla’z, Ken Dawg, and Souljah Boy) managed to shine on that song. With very few exceptions, that song is the best example of how a “Clique song” should be. Also included on that album was a strong feature from a little-known artist that went by the name of Tupac. I don’t know whatever happened to him, but he could’ve gone far.
Longevity
 This (double) album manages to remain one of the best rap albums of all time, and a shining example of why Bone thugs manage to be one of the most influential groups for not only rap but for the whole music world.
Impact
 While the movie itself wasn’t good, the music director at Warner Bros decided they wanted “Look Into My Eyes.” That pretty much solidifies the strength of the album’s first single on its own. Throw in the rest of the album, and you’ve got two solid discs full of songs that made a lot of other rappers at the time switch their styles up to be more presentable against Bone for years to come.
Personal Preference
 While this album wasn’t as influential to me as the first two, seeing as I had already gotten started, it was probably a better album overall than the ones I have previously mentioned. It did reinforce why they are, always have been, and always will be my favorite rap group, though.

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