Usu­ally Angel Cent­ral shop­ping centre would play host to office bods who want a relax­ing drink or meal after work to get them over the mid-week hump. But on Wed­nes­day Janu­ary 31st Angel Cent­ral was mobbed by small groups of street savvy hip-hop enthu­si­asts look­ing for a quiet corner to smoke whilst they fondly dis­cuss­ing memor­ies and shar­ing their excite­ment about see­ing the legendary double time rap­ping barber shop quar­tet influ­enced rap group: Bone Thugs N Har­mony who were play­ing at the 02 Academy Isling­ton.

The 02 Academy served as the mecca for all things Thug­gish and Rug­gish with tight but polite secur­ity who ushered pat­rons out of the cold and into the foy­er which was plastered from wall to wall in Bone Thugs posters and mer­chand­ise. Fans were swarm­ing the mer­chand­ise table. The staff man­ning the mer­chand­ise table looked like they could barely cope as they were mul­ti­task­ing, selling caps, t‑shirts and hood­ies to hordes of ded­ic­ated supporters.On entry the main hall was heav­ing with energy as DJ Pos­i­tion whipped the crowd into a frenzy with a set full of rowdy Hip-Hop clas­sics. After 20 minutes of intense bangers DJ Pos­i­tion intro­duced Caine (@Caine216), Bone Thug’s offi­cial sup­port act who took the ven­ue by storm with his high energy set. Per­form­ing tracks such as “Gotta Eat” “Tomor­row” and “Real One” from his Album Addic­tion.

Once Caine had fin­ished man hand­ling the ven­ue and ensur­ing that the crowd would not for­get his name any time soon, DJ Pos­i­tion allowed to crowd to recov­er for 15 – 20 minutes whilst he spun chilled hip-hop clas­sics. We all knew what was com­ing next and this was our time to get those last-minute drinks and smokes in before Bone Thugs take to the stage.

The audi­ence was a com­pletely unex­pec­ted mix of young and old, with fans in their late teens and early twen­ties to small groups of pro­fes­sion­als who had come straight from the office and there were even a few couples who appeared to be in their 50s and 60s. It was evid­ent that these were all hard-core fans of Bone’s niche double time har­mon­ic sound. At least every third per­son was wear­ing some form Bone mer­chand­ise and we were all poised and wait­ing with baited breath for crew to take to stage. Finally, the announce­ment came from DJ Pos­i­tion to make some noise for Bone Thugs N Har­mony.

Krayzie, Layzie and Wish Bone entered the stage to sound of their East 1999 clas­sic “Mo Murda” and they were ser­en­aded by frantic crowd who were all too excited to sing along with the chor­us and chime in, in uni­son to Bone’s some­what inco­her­ent yet melod­ic verses. At first you could feel the uni­fied dis­ap­point­ment of the absence “The Fifth Dawg” Flesh Bone and the high-pitched cha­risma of Bizzy Bone but that didn’t last long as the crew were fully focussed on deliv­er­ing a high energy per­form­ance as they began their set by work­ing through some of their dark­er mood­i­er clas­sics from their early albums. Treat­ing long-time fans to clas­sics such as East 1999, The Thug­gish Rug­gish Bone, Look into my Eyes and the 1st of Month. This star­ted the set off with a bang and it wasn’t long before the audi­ence got over the dis­ap­point­ment of the 2 miss­ing mem­bers of the crew. The Clev­e­land Thug­sters knew they had won over the crowd and now it was time for them to take us on a music­al jour­ney into the world of all things Bone.

The crew and DJ Pos­i­tion were relent­less, rap­idly per­form­ing song after song from their back cata­logue only slow­ing down to pay homage to some of the great artists that they have col­lab­or­ated with over years includ­ing Maria Carey, Phil Collins and of course Notori­ous BIG and 2Pac.

The set had begun with the dark­er mood­i­er side of Bone, but as the 90-minute set went on the moody minor scale pianos made way for Bone’s more reflect­ive and uplift­ing offer­ings such as “If I Could Teach the World”. With the audi­ence feel­ing uni­fied and uplif­ted and things slow­ing down slightly we knew that Bone was about to lead us to “Tha Cross­roads” where we knew things would inev­it­ably end. It felt like no one in the audi­ence was ready to leave, but we knew what time it was. So, with that in mind, we gave it our all as the whole ven­ue chimed in to help Bone per­form their final song put­ting that extra emphas­is on the words “See you at the cross­roads, so you won’t lonely”.

As we filed out of the ven­ue all I could see were smil­ing faces, and hear groups of people per­form­ing their rendi­tions of their favour­ite songs from night. People were also exchan­ging num­bers and stor­ies about how and when they “got into” Bone Thugs. And that’s when it dawned on me; this wasn’t just a con­cert, this was a social event, bet­ter yet a social gath­er­ing of Hip-Hop fans with an affin­ity rhymes and melody. Bone Thugs aren’t on tour, they’re on a mis­sion, a mis­sion to teach the world how to be “a thug in har­mony.”

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Jesse-Lee LeeN Norville
“Peace Pleas­ure & Pro­ductiv­ity” Rap­per, Pro­du­cer, Engin­eer and a all-round Hip-Hop appre­ci­at­or. LeeN brings his know­ledge, pas­sion and ded­ic­a­tion to the Hip-Hop com­munity.

About Jesse-Lee LeeN Norville

Jesse-Lee LeeN Norville
“Peace Pleasure & Productivity" Rapper, Producer, Engineer and a all-round Hip-Hop appreciator. LeeN brings his knowledge, passion and dedication to the Hip-Hop community.