Cleveland ole skool soul

Cleveland? If I were to stay true to the core tenets of loyalty to my town, I’d want no parts of anything from that city, especially from the perspective of an avid sports fan. Here’s a quick then/now synopsis as to why. My big three New York teams are the New York Giants, the New York Yankees and the New York Knicks.

For this argument, the Cleveland Browns will be exempt. But for the other squads, straight venom. Back in the day the Indians held a promotion called “I hate the Yankee Hanky Night.” Couple that with a 1997 playoff series victory over the Yankees to prevent a possible five-year championship run. Regarding the NBA, there was the sight of our style icon and greatest player in franchise history, Walter “Clyde” Frazier, traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Having to wear a crazy uniform was something Frazier didn’t deserve. Granted he was no longer in his prime, but to only get back Jim Clemons? Word! Now we gotta watch the LeBron James-led Cavaliers pursue a consecutive championship with ex-Knicks J.R., Shump and Frye as integral components. (Next year Melo may be added to that mix.)

It was for the love of music, though, we had to give that town its just due. I’ll stay consistent with the then/now theme. Head and shoulders, the top groups from that city shared a song title called “For the Love of Money.” That mighty pioneer group, The O’Jays, expressed it this way:

For the love of money

People will steal from their mother

For the love of money

People will rob their own brother

For the love of money

People can’t even walk the street

Because they never know who in the world they’re gonna beat

For that lean, mean, mean green.

The same theme from a different perspective is expressed by the following:

Thuggin’ on the glock-glock,

creepin’ on a come up,

Won’t sleep til I’m done up, gotta

blaze me blunt up,

Hunt up another plot and

scheme, gotta make some green,

Cause soldiers nut up. What up?

Gotta get that business on,

Even though the buddah run me,

stun me, feelin’ lovely,

But I’m just in it for the love of

the money.

Reading the lyrics provides a clarity that hearing the lyrics won’t, but when heard aloud, that rapid fire, rhythmic flow of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is unmistakable. The group has influenced generations of hip-hop musicians, yet few have acknowledged their accomplishments. The harmonizing, singing and cadences that permeate the airwaves now, all have the Bone Thugs-N-Harmony DNA.

Bizzy Bone recognizes there where a lot of 2017 emanates, but he is quick to remind us that more than just the music should be honored. “People know us for the fast raps and the harmony, but we as a crew were raised on solid grounded East Coast rules of MC’s,” he said. “You can’t bite, you gotta have lyrics, content and flow.”

Looking to serve as a reminder of their legacy, a new incarnation of the group has emerged as Krayzie Bone and Bizzy Bone, widely hailed as the two most distinct voices of the group, and joined rap forces as Bone Thugs. With the release of the new single, “Coming Home,” featuring reggae royalty Stephen Marley, the millions of fans they accumulated through their two-decade successful run are put on notice that a full-length album, entitled “New Waves,” is right around the corner.

Krayzie Bone said of the album, due this summer on eOne Music, “This album is a breath of fresh air coming from Bone. We wanted to give this project a different look. That’s where the album title comes from: ‘New Waves.’ We will always be a group … we will always be Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, but this is different from the norm. This is Bone Thugs.”

As for that other Cleveland juggernaut, The O’Jays are set to headline the Kings Theatre (1027 Flatbush Ave. Brooklyn, N.Y.) alongside The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards, Sunday, May 14, for a Mother’s Day Concert.

Over and out. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.