Cleveland rapper Steven Howse, better known as Layzie Bone, of the Grammy Award-winning hip-hop group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, is back with his first official mixtape in six years, The No. 1 Assassin, presented by Harmony Howse Ent. The 43-year-old rapper’s first official mixtape since 2011’s The Law of Attraction, also features Rihanna, 2 Chainz, Bun B, T.I., Stephen Marley, Lil Jon, The-Dream, and the rest of the Bone Thugs crew.
The mixtape opens with the track “Cautious” featuring Krayzie Bone on fast-paced, spaced out trap song, which fades into the “dirty south” style banger from producer HC The Chemist. The southern hip-hop influence continues with the electronic-tinged posse cut, “Bitch Move” feat. DJ Paul, Lil Jon, and Lord Infamous.
Layzie also adds new verses to original remixes of Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money,” Machine Gun Kelly‘s “Till I Die,” and Katy Perry‘s “Dark Horse” featuring Juicy J—three tracks that ought to have been featured as official remixes.
Other noteworthy tracks include, “I Know Howse Boyz” a soulful melody featuring his younger brother, Flesh-N-Bone and rapper Stew Deez; “California” featuring Big B; and “What You See” featuring “Big” Sloan Bone.
Blending hip-hop and R&B into a smooth, almost indie-like sound, “Dreamin” features Bun B and The-Dream on the mixtape’s staple track, produced by C.L. McCoy.
Named after Eric “Eazy-E” Wright, the iconic West Coast rapper who first signed Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to Ruthless Records in 1993, the song is actually a new trap anthem featuring Deacon of Da Chuuch.
Throughout the mixtape, you can hear that Layzie Bone starts to rely a bit heavily on the sound of Southern-style trap beats, with tracks like “Re-up” featuring Pozition and Ducctape Gang, and “Flick of Da Wrist” featuring 2 Chainz, T.I., Chedda Da Connect and Skippa Da Flippa.
The mixtape comes to a close with “Coming Home” from the 2017 Bone Thugs’ album, New Waves, Layzie’s heartfelt new track, “Living the Dream,” and the BTNH “20th year anniversary cypher” (2013) produced by DJ Quik.
STREAM: LAYZIE BONE – ‘THE NO. 1 ASSASSIN‘