Since 1997, the "Mo Thugs" family has held down the Bone Thugs-N-Harmony traditional style of fast flows, hard beats, and musical style. Even in years when you couldn't count on a new Bone album, their proteges in this clique gave Bone fans the thug thizzle fix they needed. Things peaked in 1998 on the second volume "Family Scriptures" with the crossover hit single "Ghetto Cowboy," but the third volume "Mothership" came and went on Koch Records in 2000 with almost no fanfare whatsoever.
While previous Mo Thugs volumes have featured a large assortment of artists that occasionally produced a standout (the soulful Felicia, fan favorite Souljah Boy) they were often noteworth for the fact you couldn't identify anyone but the original members of Bone Thugs on a track. On the fourth volume "The Movement," the roster of contributors has been pared down to shine a brighter focus on those left including the aforementioned crooner Felicia, the E-Mortal Thugs, Ken Dawg and Skant. This is a smart decision that results in a few outstanding tracks. Felicia's "Do Your Thang" featuring Krayzie and Layzie Bone is a smooth party song, while the lead single "All Life Long" featuring just Layzie is even better. Her silky vocals and his semi-automatic harmonized flow are a far more natural pair than the gruff crooning of Ja Rule with his chick of the week (Ashanti, J-Lo, or Mary J. Blige). Ken Dawg's "It's Fast" sounds like a rapping Eddie Griffin, so it's hard to hate. It's therefore even more appropriate when you hear him spitting for "Smokin' on Information" with Snoop Dogg, Layzie Bone and Skant. It's probably too hard for the radio, but you'll still want to crank up the pimptastic sound in your ride.
It's therefore sad that the success of these tracks serves to point out the failures of the other contributions. "Can You Dig It" is a flacid attempt by Layzie Bone and the ironically named Thin C to remake the Fat Boys classic "Can You Feel It," but you'd find this song miserable even if you don't know the original. "Dead Wrong" aptly describes a track whose sole worthwhile contributor is Khujo from the Goodie Mob, and the only thing that's "Fa' Sho'" about Skant's track is that you'll skip over it. D.J. Skail's wants to be either Tech N9ne or Master P on "Tha Land" and succeeds at neither. "My Dawgs" by the E-Mortal Thugs may be the worst offender of all - it starts out like the theme song to "Rocky" but then goes horribly awry into a mash of atonal nonsense that producer Mauly T should have killed long before it left the confines of Studio 76.
What's left in the end on "The Movement" is more or less the same result that was found on previous installments of the Mo Thugs venture - a few standout tracks and artists, and a lot of mediocre filler. The album almost begs to be sold on Apple.com, so that listeners could pick out the individual songs that are worth 99 cents and skip the rest altogether. Compilations such as these point out the reason why traditional forms of music purchasing such as CD's at retail may eventually be outmoded by the digital age. In the meantime though, this album is still worthwhile if you can cop it on sale, if you're a big fan of Layzie or Krayzie Bone, or if you like "All Life Long" and don't feel like paying $7.99 for the twelve inch alone.
Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5 of 10
Originally posted: June 17, 2003