The Art of War (Bone Thugs-n-Harmony album)

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The Art of War
Studio album by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
Released July 29, 1997
Recorded 1996-1997
Length 121:14
Label Ruthless Records, Relativity
Producer DJ U-Neek, Tomica Woods-Wright (Executive Producer)
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony chronology
E. 1999 Eternal
The Art of War
Collection Volume One & Two
Singles from The Art of War
  1. "Look Into My Eyes"
    Released: May 2, 1997
  2. "If I Could Teach the World"
    Released: October 7, 1997
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly B[2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[3]
The Source 4/5 stars

The Art of War is the third studio album by rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony which was released on July 29, 1997. The album sold 394,000 units in its first week of release. The album was certified quadruple Platinum by the RIAA in June 1998. It was the first double-album from Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. The album included the platinum-single "Look into My Eyes", and the gold-single "If I Could Teach the World". The whole album is produced by DJ U-Neek.

A sequel to the album The Art of War: World War III was released on December 10, 2013.


The album was rumored to be called "DNA Level C" which is Cleveland backwards. "The Art of War" was created largely as a response to rappers deemed "Clones" (copycats) by the group. Such rappers included Do or Die, Crucial Conflict, Twista & The Speedknots, Bone Killas, Tommy Wright III & Three 6 Mafia.

In the wake of his father's death and Tomica Wright now heading Ruthless, Bizzy Bone was not happy, and thus did not appear for many shows or promotions. Now calling the shots, many tracks were altered by Tomica Wright, attempting to head the group into a new direction. Such tracks include Thug Luv with Sylk-E. Fyne, If I Could Teach the World, Friends, Ready For War and many others. While the group appeared at Sprite Nite on BET, Keenan Ivory Wayans (with Bizzy), and several other promotions, their tour began to lag without Bizzy.

Music and lyrics[edit]

In "Ready 4 War," Bone Thugs-n-Harmony (along with Mr. Majesty) called out Crucial Conflict directly by name, with Majesty even stating, "I'll watch you ride the rodeo straight to the bottom".

In "U Ain't Bone", Layzie Bone raps a line similar to the chorus from female rap icon MC Lyte's "10% dis". MC Lyte's chorus raps "Beat biter! Dope style taker! Tell it to your face, you ain't nuttin but a faker!", while Layzie Bone's verse interpolates "They beat biters, dope-style takers. When I see you face-to-face, my nigga, I'm-a treat you like a hater." In 2000, MC Lyte stated that she was "extremely" disrespected by Layzie Bone, Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown's lyrical interpolations of her "10% Dis" lines. Layzie interpolated the chorus on "U Ain't Bone", while Kim and Brown interpolated the beginning verse, "Hot damn, ho, here we go again!" on Mobb Deep's "Quiet Storm" (Remix) and Capone-N-Noreaga's "Bang-Bang", respectively. This resulted in MC Lyte calling out all of the three rappers on the Rah Digga-collaborated, "Where U At Mama?"[4]

They also changed the name of "Friends" for the cassette version to "How Many of Us Have Them". 2Pac wrote his verse for "Thug Luv" in 1 minute and 51 seconds as confirmed by Bizzy Bone.


The first single for this album was Look Into My Eyes, which was also on the Batman & Robin soundtrack. Neither Bizzy nor Flesh-n-Bone was featured in the video. The next single was "If I Could Teach the World". Bizzy did not appear in this video either. "Thug Luv" and "Body Rott" were also released to radio as singles.

Track listing[edit]

World War 1
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Retaliation (Intro)" Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, DJ U-Neek U-Neek 2:21
2. "Handle the Vibe" Antoinette Colandreo, BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 4:40
3. "Look into My Eyes" BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 4:19
4. "Body Rott" BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 5:01
5. "It's All Mo' Thug" BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 5:12
6. "Ready 4 War" (featuring Maje$ty) Majesty, Marilyn McLeod, Pam Sawyer, BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 4:36
7. "Ain't Nothin' Changed (Everyday Thang Part II)" Barry J. Eastmond, BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 4:43
8. "Clog Up Yo Mind" BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 5:01
9. "It's All Real" Krayzie Bone, BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 5:08
10. "Hard Times" BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 2:49
11. "Mind of a Souljah" Layzie Bone, BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 4:39
12. "If I Could Teach the World" BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 4:24
13. "Family Tree" K. McCord, BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 5:49
World War 2
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Mo' Thug" BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 1:40
2. "Thug Luv" (featuring 2Pac) 2Pac, BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 5:08
3. "Hatin' Nation" BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 5:12
4. "7 Sign" (featuring Maje$ty) Bizzy Bone, BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 4:48
5. "Wasteland Warriors" (featuring Souljah Boy) Souljah Boy, BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 4:28
6. "Neighborhood Slang" BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 1:29
7. "U Ain't Bone" BTNH U-Neek 5:04
8. "Get Cha Thug On" Wish Bone, U-Neek U-Neek 4:02
9. "All Original" BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 4:58
10. "Blaze It (interlude)" Larry Blackmon, BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 2:08
11. "Let the Law End" BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 3:36
12. "Whom Die They Lie" BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 4:24
13. "Friends" BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 5:10
14. "Evil Paradise" Tim Stahl, BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 4:48
15. "Mo' Thug Family Tree" BTNH, U-Neek U-Neek 5:37
Sample credits

World War 1

  • "Handle the Vibe" contains a sample of "Love's Gonna Get'cha (Material Love)" as performed by Boogie Down Productions
  • "It's All Mo' Thug" contains a sample of "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" as performed by Isaac Hayes
  • "Ready 4 War" contains a sample of "Love Hangover" as performed by Diana Ross
  • "Ain't Nothin Changed (Everyday Thang Part 2)" contains a sample of "Have You Ever Loved Somebody" as performed by Freddie Jackson
  • "Hard Times" contains a sample of "Love.... Can Be So Wonderful" as performed by The Temprees
  • "Mind of a Souljah" contains a sample of "Promise Me" as performed by Luther Vandross

World War 2

  • "Hatin' Nation" contains a sample of "Juicy Fruit" as performed by Mtume
  • "Blaze It" contains a sample of "Why Have I Lost You" as performed by Cameo
  • "Evil Paradise" contains a sample of "White Horse" as performed by Laid Back
  • "Thug Luv" contains a sample of "Friday the 13th Original Theme" by Harry Manfredini
  • "U Ain't Bone" contains a sample of "Ring the Alarm" as performed by Tenor Saw
  • "Friends" contains a sample of "Friends" as performed by Whodini


The vinyl release omits the tracks 1, 6 and 12 on WW2.

Chart positions[edit]


Chart (1997) Peak
U.S. Billboard 200 1
U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums 1
Canadian Albums Chart 10


Song Chart (1997) Peak
"Look into My Eyes" Billboard Hot 100 4
"Look into My Eyes" Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 1
"Look into My Eyes" Hot Rap Tracks 2
"If I Could Teach the World" Billboard Hot 100 27
"If I Could Teach the World" Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 20
"If I Could Teach the World" Hot Rap Tracks 3
Preceded by
No Way Out by Puff Daddy
Billboard 200 number-one album
August 16–22, 1997
Succeeded by
No Way Out by Puff Daddy
Preceded by
Spice by Spice Girls
New Zealand Albums Chart number-one album
July 10–18, 1997
Succeeded by
Wu-Tang Forever by Wu-Tang Clan

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thomas, Stephen (1997-08-05). "The Art of War - Bone Thugs-N-Harmony". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  2. ^ Considine, J.D. (1997-08-08). "The Art of War Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  3. ^ The new Rolling Stone album guide - Nathan Brackett, Christian David Hoard - Google Books. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  4. ^ "MC Lyte - Where U At verse (Lil' Kim, Layzie Bone & Foxy Brown Diss) (2000)". YouTube. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 

External links[edit]