This week marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's debut full-length album, E. 1999 Eternal. This album was huge that summer and my senior year in high school. Despite the fact that the group was from Cleveland, the album shot up to #1 on the Billboard album charts in mid-August 1995, eventually going platinum many times over. E. 1999 Eternal was co-produced by Eazy-E, who had mentored Bone Thugs. They dedicated the album to Eazy-E, after his death from AIDS-related complications in March 1995.
E. 1999 Eternal produced three songs that made the Billboard Hot 100, including two top 15 songs ("1st of tha Month" and "Tha Crossroads"). "Tha Crossroads" -- which was also dedicated to Eazy-E, among other deceased friends and relatives -- went all the way to #1 for 8 weeks in the summer of 1996, was #7 on Billboard's year-end chart for 1996, and #25 on Billboard's Hot 100 for the entire decade. It's a sentimental rap song, expressing vulnerability, fear, and sadness, which was certainly rare in the era of gangsta rap. All in all, it's a great song, worthy of all of the accolades it received.