Strength & Loyalty

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

These Midwestern-rap pioneers sound more focused than they have in a decade. Much of the credit for the revitalized sound on their seventh LP, Strength & Harmony belongs to producers like Swizz Beatz,, and Akon, who deftly flip samples from sources as disparate as Bobby Womack and Fleetwood Mac. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s lyrics, too, are impressively crafted, tempering rough bluster with humble spirituality and calling to mind their classic mid-’90s hits — a pleasant surprise after years of diminishing returns. B+

Originally posted May 4 2007 — 12:00 AM EDT

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