Layzie Bone - The Definition & The Meaning (Combo Pack)

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"The big letdown that is The Meaning and The Definition isn't due to an artist who can't prove he's talented but rather an artist who deserves better."

One day some ambitious writer will do an exhaustive study of the motivating factors behind an artist’s decision to record the “double album.” Yet anyone trying to sum up the efforts of years worth of talented musicians releasing 30-plus tracks in the same window of time would be hard pressed to come up with something different than a final assessment of "Don’t do it". Any act, veteran or aspiring, is most likely doing themselves a disservice in attempting to capture lightning in a bottle and make their own White Album. Even the Use Your Illusion albums suffered from moments of skippable filler. And on the Hip Hop side most attempts at the double LP fall miles short of another Wu-Tang Forever.


The latest hip hop artist to go for the simultaneous release of two albums worth of material is Layzie Bone of veteran Cleveland group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. This new material from Layzie Bone – with several Bone Thugs members guesting -  is 32 tracks spread across two albums entitled The Meaning and The Definition respectively. Outside of a group dynamic that was all about interplay and with double the tracks that most artists add to their discography at one time, The Meaning/Definition occupies both a place of “been there done that” monotony and sonic overkill.

Over the course of both albums, Layzie’s distinctive bob-and-weave flow is time and time again swallowed by frenetic everything-but-the-kitchen-sink production that makes The Runners sound restrained. Many of these beats are what hold Layzie back from landing anything close to a memorable one-two punch. Since the earliest group days, Layzie Bone’s flow has been astonishingly nimble and it’s a shame to hear his rhyme schemes now laid down atop a bed of thin Electro beats that call to mind those “Nights in Ibiza” mix CDs that popped up in budget bins throughout the '90s.

However the songs’ overall lyrical content shouldn’t be given a free pass either as it features tracks that sport tired hooks like “The World’s My Hood,” “Gotta Get Money, More Money” and range from the painfully dated (“Every Night” featuring Bow Wow) to the downright laughable. (“Spend The Night” featuring Baby Bash is probably the first track to ever contain the trifecta of a “third leg” reference, a threat to make a former flame “Eat Doo Doo” and the stale, nearly two decade old put down of “Homey Don’t Play That”)

Yet the The Meaning and The Definition still have their moments. The tracks that are most successful are the ones with beats that stop desperately swinging for the “modern” fences and embrace throwback influences of everything from Zapp, Kraftwerk, the World Clas Wreckin' Cru and the Swishahouse heyday. The Definition’s title track sports production that lets Layzie’s flow glide like it did with Bone Thugs rather than force it to bend into awkward positions like so many of the new albums’ other tracks.  And on the second half of The Meaning, everything stops feeling so sterile and finally gets some room to breathe on joints like “Everybody” featuring Ya Boy. Then Too Short pops up on the second 16 bars of “She Bad” and Layzie receives the foil his skills deserve and equilibrium is restored.

The big letdown that is The Meaning and The Definition isn’t due to an artist who can’t  prove he’s talented but rather an artist who deserves better; a higher quality product that lasts half as long.

22 Comments

  • mike keen

    well i see it like this. for the people who think bone should stop rapping if u were truly a bone fan u would respect eternal ok. next point rappers like jay z twista too short have been around just as long. now i aint on bones nuts and agree some of their music is not good but erry 1 has that stage rappers today can hit or miss in the music biz but think if pac or big was alive and doin the same as bone people would hate and fans would stick thru it.

  • Nowhere

    These albums are pretty good only flaw is the production and the ammount of features.

  • defstorm

    this is a decent album layzie bone is still a good rapper bone 4 life

  • Vincent Byronic Hero Salamatino

    Best Double Cd's in Order: Life After Death All Eyes On Me The Art Of War Wu Forever Blueprint 2 http://www.xxlmag.com/bloggers/2010/09/top-5-double-rap-albums-of-all-time-according-to-me/3/

    • Warren Mazengwe

      Best double cd's in no particular order. Yukmouth - Thugged Out the Albulation Notorious B.I.G. Life After Death Tupac- All Eyes On Me E-40 Element of Surprise Bone thugs - Art OF War Krayzie Bone - Thug Mentality 1999 Wu-Tang - Wu Tang Forever Soutwest Riders Compilation Brotha Lynch Hung - Lynch By Inch Tupac Shakur – R U Still Down? (Remember Me) Tupac Shakur – Until the End of Time

  • jkill513

    do people forget that he was part of the art of war double cd?? one of the best double cd's of all time next to all eyes on me. double cd's are not bad all the time. but i do agree with what dude saying bout he deserve better than what he got, all of bone do to be honest. the good songs are great and the bad songs are just plain garbage. the problem is that there are more garbage song than great songs. i grew up on that bone shit and i can tell they still got it when they spit but they need the right production to make it sound classic and they havent had that for a long time now. swizz came close but with only three members it wasnt the same

    • Vincent Byronic Hero Salamatino

      Agreed and it burns my nerves when people act like All Eyes on Me, Wu Forever, and Life After Death were the only good double cd's when Art of War is right there if not better them all of them. Blueprint 2 was a good double cd too, if Jay would of released each one of them individual they would of been platinum and acclaimed. I feel like critics hate on double cd's right away just because it's to much music to filter thru. Even Lil Flip put out a double cd not too long ago which was pretty good, for his standards, each cd had some jams on it, n the filter was made for southern ears

  • Its Um

    I don't comment on music I haven't bought but I feel I have to say, double albums aren't bad, it just some artist just can't keep up with that type of high quality, 2 pac did good with all eyez on me, outkast speakerboxx/the love below and maybe a few artists I have yet to hear. Don't be so turn off about double albums, one day another artist might impress you with a double feature.

  • Modenine Polymath

    CALLING!!!!!!!!!!!!! BARBER ON SET!!!

  • Kim

    UMMMMMM, how come when I goggle the author of this review, he doesn't come up? Probably because this review article is crap. The albums are good, some of the songs are great. Totally worth buying.

  • Josh 'Bink' Allen

    I'm diggin alot of it. There are a few songs that could have better hooks or beats & a couple that I don't care for, but overall I like it.

  • The One

    Layzie sucks major weenies for this shit

  • Marcus

    Ive been a Bone Fan for a long time and I can say the albums were okay, if i were to choose one I would have to go with the Meaning. I really think he should of just dropped one album. He lacked on Beats and his style. he needs to step it up. Krayzie Bone album "Chasin the Devil" is gonna be another classic loving what im hearing.

  • Anonymous

    i don't wanna hate but it's time to hang up the mic you suck big time!

  • Anonymous

    i actually liek the double albums. it's a true test for an artist and for the fan, you can just discard the songs you don't like, esp in this ipod age

  • King Anton

    Bomb D: The Gift was very good and Gemini was decent. But other than that, you are right.

  • Anonymous

    some good ones on there but most of it failed

  • bomb d

    Bone solo albums have all sucked since Krayzie's double disc. That was last good one.

  • Anonymous

    “Spend The Night” featuring Baby Bash is probably the first track to ever contain the trifecta of a “third leg” reference, a threat to make a former flame “Eat Doo Doo” and the stale, nearly two decade old put down of “Homey Don’t Play That” This made me laugh quite a bit. Now I really wanna hear this song.