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"Am I my brother's keeper?" This is the question posed and then answered with a resounding yes by Bone thugs-n-harmony on their long-awaited fourth album, BTNHResurrection--in stores February 29, 2000 on Ruthless/Epic Records.

Rumors of a breakup were merely gossip: Krayzie, Wish, Flesh, Layzie and Bizzy have reunited to create a new album filled with their unmistakable soul-inflected raps. This bumping LP proves ain't nothing changed: Bone thugs-n-harmony remain the same tight and hungry clique who, back in 1993, hopped a one-way bus ride from Cleveland to land a record deal with Ruthless Records founder Eazy E.

One year later, in 1994, Bone thugs-n-harmony exploded onto the national rap scene with their Ruthless debut EP, Creepin' On Ah Come Up, and two gold singles, "thuggish ruggish Bone" and "Foe Tha Love Of $" (the latter featuring Eazy-E). This disc reached No. 2 R&B/No. 12 Pop and was soon certified double platinum.

In August 1995, the group hit fans off with its first full-length album, E. 1999 Eternal. Bone thugs-n-harmony shocked the mainstream music industry when E. 1999 Eternal entered the Pop and R&B Album charts at No. 1 and sold more than five million copies in the US alone. The album spun off two significant singles with "1st Of Tha Month" (#12 R&B) and "East 1999" ( #39 R&B),.

But the bomb track was Bone-thugs' stunning, spiritually-charged "Tha Crossroads." This double platinum smash held the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks (seven weeks at No. 1 R&B) and tied the Beatles' 32-year-old record for the fastest-rising Hot 100 single (1964's "Can't Buy Me Love"). In the 1996 Grammy Awards, "Tha Crossroads" was voted Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.

In August 1997, Bone thugs-n-harmony dropped their landmark double disc set, The Art Of War. Certified 4X-platinum, The Art Of War topped both the Pop and R&B Album charts. Bone-thugs scored a platinum single, "Look Into My Eyes" (No. 4 Pop/No. 4 R&B, and also featured in the hit movie Batman & Robin); and a certified-gold follow-up, "If I Could Teach The World." Other Art Of War highlights included a remake of the Whodini classic "Friends," in which Bone-thugs paid tribute to those who have remained close and loyal to them; and "Family Tree Bone," a remarkably personal account of the highs and lows in the life of each Bone member.

BTNHResurrection displays an accomplished variety of Bone skills and styles. After solo albums by Bizzy Bone (the gold Heaven'z Movie, 1998) and Krayzie Bone (Thug Mentality), and their Mo Thugs label all-Cleveland compilation Mo Thugs Family Scriptures, Bone were ready to reunite and give their fans a dose of the whole crew.

"Our original plan is just coming to light," says Layzie. "We been planning to do solo albums even before we had a deal. Everybody doing their own thing helped us out as individuals. So when we do come back together, we are that much stronger."

"We just wanted to bring back that Bone-thug flavor," adds Bizzy, "that buddha bomb shit that everybody wants from us."

The leadoff single, "Resurrection (Paper, Paper)," is just that: a bouncy and free-spirited response to all Bone haters. Uplifting the masses while simultaneously urging fans to get that money, this JT Thomas-produced track seems certain to extend Bone's platinum hit streak and rule the airwaves well into Summer, 2000. "Can't Give It Up" teaches sacrifice in order to reach goals, something Bone and producer LT Hutton know all too well. The chorus says it all: "There's always something you gotta give up/if you want everythang you want."

Fans of the mega Bone hit "Crossroads" will bounce their heads and grab their hearts to "Change The World," a DJ U-Neek production. "The concept [of the song] is that things aren't the way we think they should be. So we are just saying we wish we could change the world and make it better."

"Souljah's Marching" is a horn-charged battle rap of militant energy. "The Righteous Ones" mixes religious wailing with rapid-fire soldier chants, while "Servin Tha Fiends" is pure vintage Bone Thugs, riding the track.

BTNHResurrection's real sweetness is the return of Flesh N' Bone to the full-time mix. He re-emerges as a fierce MC, especially on the album's most controversial song, "Ecstasy," an unapologetic ode to the newest high on the streets. Krayzie, Layzie, Flesh, Bizzy and Wish take you through the surreal experience of popping the so-called magic pill. "It's just what the title says," says Wish. "It's a new drug and people always want to try new stuff."

Throughout the album, producers LT Hutton, DJ U-Neek, Jimmy "JT" Thomas and Darren Vegas provide mostly upbeat but always haunting music. They bring the musical firepower necessary to match the new and matured lyrics of Bone Thugs N' Harmony.

"Everybody is a pro now, " Krayzie points out. "We got the process mastered. Just give us the beat and it's going down."

Armed with their trademark thug hymns and street perspective, the five Clevelanders who reinvented hip-hop are poised to show off what they can do in the year 2G. So drop any thoughts of counting out Eazy-E's young soldiers.

"We brothers for life," Layzie concludes. "We understood that when we started. We love music. Even if we didn't have a record deal, we would be out here singing and dancing and doing our thing."