Um this is a little awkward. I guess I’ve been out of the loop regarding the Bone Thugs (and their various post-Art of War projects). Sure, there was always a healthy dose of “spirituality” in Bone Thugs’ work, both as a crew and on solo endeavors, but it usually came to us cut with tales of violent mischief and weed raps. On Speaking in Tongues, there is nary a secular song to be found. But that’s no reason for you non-believers to ignore this record.
Being an agnostic, atheist, pagan, skeptic or nihilist and listening to God-rap is similar to being a liberal and reading the New York Post. What I mean here is that if you know what to expect from your narrator (who, in these cases, is in opposition to your beliefs), then you will be able to “read” what is being said, regardless of the spin.
That said, Bizzy Bone raps his ass off all over Speaking in Tongues. The “multisylla’ballistic” Bone rhyme-style that we have come to know is fully intact, and it’s sharper than ever. At times, Bizzy even explores possibly uncharted territory of fast-rap. The themes may be explicitly Christian, but after a few listens, all borders begin to dissolve and the themes contained within are universally accessible – at least within the context of rap music.
The production here is handled by multiple co-conspirators and is mostly unremarkable. The bulk of the work is done by Eddie B who, while competent behind the boards, is eclipsed by the tracks handled by newcomers Quite Stankable Productions. But Speaking in Tongues is a solid record by a constant player in the gangsta-meets-gospel game, a recommended listen.
Bizzy Bone Web site (includes MP3s): http://www.bizzybonemusic.com/
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Web site: http://www.bonethugsnharmony.com/
Amusing interview: http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/features/id.470