The year was 1995 and the up-and-coming Cleveland hip-hop group, Bone Thugs and Harmony had their second album E. 1999 Eternal slated for release.
After being taken under the wing of N.W.A rapper and Ruthless Records founder, Eazy-E, the group were no strangers to the business and had enjoyed the breakout success of their debut EP, Creepin on ah Come Up, but with this release they wanted to prove they were more than just a one hit wonder manufactured by their producer.
Unfortunately, they would get the chance to step out of the shadow of their mentor sooner than expected, four months before the release of E. 1999 Eternal, Eazy-E passed away.
The band dedicated both the album and single, 'Tha Crossroads' to their friend and producer.
E. 1999 Eternal became the group’s best-selling album and one of the most appreciated hip-hop pieces of the decade.
It sold over 10 million copies worldwide, topped the Billboard 200 for two consecutive weeks, and was nominated for the first ever Grammy award for Best Rap Album.
Not only a commercial success, the album garnered positive reviews from music critics and fans as well, who enjoyed the groups innate ability to combine the popular “thug” style rap delivery with the perfectly combined melodies of trained R&B singers.
The album also marked the beginning of their rise to where they are today, perhaps the most decorated and storied hip-hop group alive and touring. Simply put, they sold more than 15 million records, recorded with The Notorious B.I.G, 2Pac, N.W.A, Phil Collins, and they won a Grammy Award. Most importantly, they redirected hip-hop’s sonic direction.
Listen to E. 1999 Eternal below.