"Tha Crossroads" is a song performed by the hip hop group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, taken from their album E. 1999 Eternal and released in 1996. The song was inspired by the group's rough upbringing on the streets of Cleveland, Ohio depicting the struggles of witnessing loved ones die and the hope of reuniting with them in the afterlife. It is dedicated to the group's mentor, the late gangsta rap icon Eazy-E, and other family members. The song is the highest-debuting rap single when it debuted at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. It is their biggest selling single and in 1996, the song won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
There is a misconception that "Tha Crossroads" is a direct remix of the group's initial song titled "Crossroad". They are, in fact, two versions of the "life after death reunion" theme. "Crossroad" originally debuted in 1995 on the E. 1999 Eternal album. It was dedicated to Bone's dead friend Wallace (Wally) Laird III, but after the death of Eazy-E they decided to remake it as "Tha Crossroads".
The original song appears on the edited version of the album, though the European release has the original as track number 8 and the remix as track 18. The song is performed by four of the group's members, (Krayzie Bone, Layzie Bone, Bizzy Bone and Wish Bone). The remake contained the line "And I'm askin' the good Lord 'Why?' and sigh / It's I, he told me we lived to die" from the original. Bone's lightning fast rhymes are delivered softer than is usual for the group, without profanities and creating a sad and heartfelt effect. With soft instrumentals based on a sample of The Isley Brothers' "Make Me Say It Again Girl (Pts. 1 and 2)", the song has a sad yet quick tone to it. After receiving high praise for their song the group decided to make it their third single for their already released album, E. 1999 Eternal.
The official remix, "Tha Crossroads (Tha Flesh Flip Remix)", features the fifth member Flesh-n-Bone as well as Krayzie Bone reciting – but also shortening – his original verses, Layzie Bone & Wish Bone reciting & shortening their first original verses followed by new second verses respectively & two new verses from Bizzy Bone.
The music video was filmed on February 27–28, 1996. It opens with the female vocal group Tre' (Kimberly Cromartie, Rebecca Forsha and Maniko Williams) singing the traditional spiritual "Mary Don't You Weep" in a church funeral setting, followed by the members of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony singing the main song in several settings, such as a church and a mountain top. Additionally, an imposing man with sunglasses and a trench coat, akin to a Reaper, appears throughout the video. Bone are among the few who can see the man, and watch him as he gathers souls of various individuals who are marked for death, such as a young man who leaves his distraught mother behind (presumably have died after entering life as a gang member), Bone's friend Wally, Wish Bone's uncle Charles, Eazy-E, and a newborn baby (possibly to have died from a childbirth complication). The Reaper then leads the souls, with the baby in his arms, up a mountain where he reveals himself to be an angel, then takes the dead to Heaven.
The group's cover version of "Crossroads" was recorded for inclusion on their first studio album, In the Beginning. The decision to record and release "Crossroads" came about during the final stages of the album production: until June 2002, the song "Standard Flow" was planned for release as the group's first single, with a promotional version of the "Standard Flow" even made available on August 5. Despite being labelled as a cover version, only the chorus from the original version remains, with the verses replaced by new lyrics written by the band. Despite being the only 'cover version' the group ever recorded, it became the band's only number one single, staying at the top of the UK Singles Chart for one week in August 2002. Two versions of the song exist: the main version, which features in the music video and on In the Beginning, and the full version, which contains two extra verses, which appears on the second physical release of the single.
The music video for "Crossroads" directed by Vaughan Arnell was premiered in July 2002. The video runs for a total length of three minutes and forty-eight seconds and shows the band performing the song on top of an unfinished flyover in the centre of London. The video also shows scenes of an underpass where a number of homeless people are living, and individual shots of each band member. The video was filmed with the phantom effect, which provides a 'shadow' type movement for each member of the band.