For the Love of $

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$10,000,000 (£6,120,000). Let me write that in words… Ten Million Dollars aka Six Million One Hundred and Twenty Thousand pounds. That’s a very big number. Too big a number for the average person on the street to even contemplate seeing at on a bank statement, let alone spending. Of those of us that are in a position to have that kind of money available, there is a reason you have it and i suspect you’d be loathed to just fritter it away. To those of us to whom seven or eight figures is deemed as something of a frivolity or an investment. there aren’t many of us about and even less of us that would spend such a vast amount of money on a piece of modern music. So the question is, who exactly are Bone Thugs N Harmony expecting to go the distance for their soon to be final group release, E.1999 Legends?

The obvious comparison to make is with Wu Tang Clans Once Upon A Time In Shaolin project. Both camps are Golden Age legends and their impact on Hip Hop culture simply cannot be overestimated. With their latest opi in mind however, the differences are stark. The gaping chasm in the marketing, concept and handling of the media is there for all to see and you have to question where on the announced arena tour Bone intend to find a single, multi million dollar investor. They no longer enjoy anywhere near the status they were once privy to and I suspect that any record labels looking for a licence to print money will not be applying through their management.

The biggest problem for Bone Thugs is the overly obvious clamour for cash. They could have spent some time getting a strategy together before coming forward with an original concept and at least showed some aspiration to take the culture to new and exciting places. There are a million and one other ways to get us fans 100% on board but the oh so obvious money chasing statements from their manager have put paid to that. “A million dollars is not enough. So, we’ll make the product and we’ll try to get $10 million for it”. Really!?! You’ve managed the five for 20 years and that’s the best you can come up with!?! I’m not a music promoter or manager so why am I already thinking up better strategies as I’m typing this?

Opening Hip Hop, not just the music but the movement as a whole to new avenues and completely new audiences is not merely a cultural shift. In many ways a social shift could also be on the horizon. We the buying public are used to going to our online portal of choice and paying for what we want. If such a shift happens then many of our favourite artists latest material could be housed alongside art in the Tate Modern, or be a ticket only 60 night stint at one of the top theatres or music halls in the world, or be revered/chastised as a guerilla artist people gravitate towards (ala banksy). Surely the significance should take equal parity with the monetary reward.

A remuneration I might add, that some would call excessive. Why the second, more conventional disc isn’t simply being released through regular channels and being used to hype up the first (to be entirely produced by DJ Uneek) and obviously more interesting half is beyond me. Even allowing for a lack of publishing rights and the fact that Dr Dre will be on the boards for a beat or two doesn’t push the figure up that high surely. Would the project carry the same value if the quintet were a duo?

People can dismiss the Wu Tang approach as gimmicky or faddish all they like but the fact is that there is an identifiable movement, an ideal that those who choose to can get behind. Bone Thugs N Harmony, it seems, from the outside looking in haven’t put any thought at all into the possible significance of what it is they are undertaking. Granted it may turn out that they become a laughing stock of their own (and their managers) creation but someone out there still holds a torch for them. I just hope for their sakes that person has enough capital to turn their wishful thinking into reality.

Originally posted at Moon Project on 11/11/2014

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