In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, we’re picking our favorite unlikely collaborations.
I recently snuck into my first show. Most people do this before they’re 25, but I’m sort of hopelessly straitlaced. When I was a college freshmen and too young to see Bone Thugs-N-Harmony play a 21+ show, it never occurred to me to get a fake ID. Instead, I stayed in that night and listened to music while doing homework. (To be fair, the show was on a Wednesday or something—it was 2007 Thugs after all.) At the time, I only had a few things to listen to on my newly acquired iTunes, because I paid for all my music (again, hopelessly straitlaced), so my listening options were notably focused on Phil Collins with his solo release No Jacket Required and Invisible Touch by Genesis—the first digital albums I purchased—hitting heavy rotation.
Thanks to the radio, I cannot remember a time in my life without Phil Collins. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, however, was something I gleaned from my oldest sister, who was a senior in high school when I was a first grader, riding around in her car listening to music that mostly made my mother cringe. Although I have a considerably long past with both these artists, I completely missed their collaboration in 2003. I hadn’t fathomed they were aware of one another, let alone responsible for a song that once discovered I immediately mainlined for days, weeks even.
Originally, 2003’s “Home” only featured samples of Collins’ “Take Me Home,” serving as a chorus, his emotional crooning weaving in and out of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s verses as he pleads, “Take, take me home / ’Cause I don’t remember.” Both artists deftly showcase deep emotional ties and how those ties push and pull them, affecting their highs and lows. But, proving this pairing, however unlikely, is perfect, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony offers the resolution Collins never found—take back your own home; don’t wait for someone else to take you home. It’s evident in the progression from Layzie Bone’s first-verse lyrics “I’ve been stuck in the struggle / And I’ve been wonderin’ if I’m ever gonna bubble” to Wish’s last-verse lyrics “Now I wanna stay, watch thug niggas leave the hood / Bye, I think I’m home.”
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony flew to Switzerland to feature Collins actually singing in the music video, and made him an honorary member of the group with the name “Chrome Bone.” It’s a horrible name, but that’s a small crack in an otherwise stellar collaboration.