Bone Thugs-N-Harmony: Award Tour
In the midst of it all, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony has dealt with notable label, legal and internal issues, especially pertaining to its eccentric member Bizzy Bone. Despite their group struggles and inevitable punches thrown by the music industry, Bone has more than stayed above the water, recently winning American Music Awards' "Rap/Hip-Hip Band/Duo/Group" category, as their most recent album, Strength & Loyalty received RIAA's gold certification (pushing over 500,000 units). As the Hip Hop trio (now consisting of Krayzie, Layzie, and Wish Bone) continues their promotional tour, and promoting their 2007 independent release T.H.U.G.S. through Sony/Red, HipHopDX catches up with masters of melodic flows to discuss individual growth, latest acting endeavors and their staying power among new and old fans alike.
HipHopDX: Youre on tour right now. Hows that going?
Wish Bone: Its going real good; were always on the road, were used to it. We gotta keep our music out there for our fans and stay in their faces. But we love to tour; its just part of seeing how our fans appreciate what we put our heart and soul into.
DX: Whats the craziest thing that happened so far?
WB: I would say probably people jumping on stage and getting tackled by security. [Laughs]
DX: What happened with Canada though? You guys were refused entrance?
Krayzie Bone: Yeah its real crazy, cause we had just went over there like a few months before they denied us. We was just over there, did a show inI forgot the cities we was in but we did three shows out there and we tried to go back and they tried to hit us up with our music is too violent and just coming with all kind of stuff out of left field; basically, they was just hating on us.
DX: 50 Cent was allowed in
KB: Exactly. Theyre a bunch of haters.
DX: Does Bone Thugs-N-Harmony have much of the fans it had a decade ago for example or do you see yourselves catering to new crowds?
WB: I mean we got our die-hard fans thats been there with us from the beginning, and at some of our shows you see little kids, little kids like 10, 11 years old singing Thuggish Ruggish Bone. I basically say we evolved to the new fan bases too.
DX: What attracts the new generation to your music?
WB: Good music. Theres just something about good music that you can just feel from it, from the heart, from the soul. You cant deny it, no matter who makes it. And thats just something that weve been blessed and fortunate enough to do make music that people can feel.
DX: How do you define good music?
WB: Real music. Not just music that makes you wanna get up and shake your watootsie but music that you can sit down and think [to], and can probably help you through some personal situations.
DX: Your movie, I Tried. Are you satisfied with the feedback?
KB: The feedback from the movie was real good even better than we expected. We didnt really know what the outcome was gonna be until people started telling us Man it was a real good movie; yall really did good. For it to be our first movie to ever be inits been a really good outcome so far --
Layzie Bone: -- And then it went platinum in DVD sales.
DX: Were you guys nervous about acting?
KB: In the beginning. We was all nervous when we got to the set, but once we got past the first scene, we was like, Man, this is easy, we can do this. We just really got into it after the first scene we shot and just tried to move
DX: How did you go about memorizing the script?
KB: That was kind of easy - if you just practice. We were at home practicing, in the trailers practicing. It aint like we had to learn a whole verse; when you do movies everything is chopped up. You just gotta learn a couple lines and just re-mash them; so that was kind of easy.
DX: Whats happening with the documentary you guys are planning to shoot, the one about your life; that still in the plans?
KB: Oh yeah, definitely. Were exactly trying to have that as a part of our next group album that comes out, which we plan to start recording in probably like the next few months; so thats definitely gonna be coming out with the album.
DX: Any plans for the album so far?
KB: We really havent even been into the studio cause weve been on the roadweve been on the road for a minute now. We didnt really get into the studio to even come up with concepts yet. Weve been talking to Swizz and talking to Interscope, but we havent really sat down to talk about the concepts.
DX: Strength & Loyalty. It demonstrates your maturity and understanding. What did it take to get to that point?
KB: Basically, just living life. Going through different experiences that we go through and living day-to-day. As we grow older, our music grows with us. Everybody said it was a more mature album - thats because we have grown and weve gotten more mature. So of course our music is gonna change, our train of thought is gonna change. It changes along with us.
DX: Whats the most important lesson youve learned so far?
KB: You have to be on your business; its not just about the music. Even though people would get in and think that thats what its only about the music and having a good time and doing shows and just traveling around the world. You really have to know whats going on with your business in order for you to be happy - or be ready to try other things or retire. You really have to be on your business.
DX: The album had many features which were diverse in themselves (including Akon, Mariah and The Game). Did you have a specific listener in mind before creating it?
WB: Not really; we basically just went in and spun collaborations and we reached out to Akon; our people reached out, and he said hed do it. We just looked at it like, Man, itd be a great collaboration because hes different and were definitely different. All the other songs came about like all our songs usually do; we just go in there, pick the tracks, sit in a circle and collaband we come with our music.
KB: And the reason why we have so many collaborations on the album is because weve never done it before. Thats not something people are used to seeing Bone do. So that was like a big part of us being different because its something weve never done before; we hadnt been out in a while; we was like We need to do something totally different, and that seemed to be the best thing at the time - us collabing with a lot of different artists. And it worked out real good too.
DX: How influential was Swizz to the project?
WB: The album kicked off in Swizz Beatz studio as we first got to him when he reached out to us. We went down there and knocked out a whole bunch of songs in two weeks; he kick-started the whole thing. He was very influential.
DX: The group had publicized problems in the past. Looking back, how has that affected your music and do you feel that there was pressure with this album to remedy everything for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and return to the music, and return to the fans?
KB: It definitely was because all the negative things and all the negative publicity can tend to take you away from the music and the creative side of things. So we definitely tried to put that all aside and get what we learned and put it into the music and the hard times we went through and we went from there.
DX: Age-old question: where does the group stand with Bizzy Bone?
WB: As far as the Bizzy situation, it aint really no really hard feelings. Its just like you said, were grown men now and we cant conduct our business as if we dont know what were doing; and basically, that wasnt the same [route] he was going at the time. [One monkey doesn't stop the show], and we gotta keep it moving.
DX: What can we expect from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony this year?
WB: Real heart-felt music. Were always gonna do that, keep it coming like that. We got another movie coming out, Ghetto Cowboys. We got our artists coming out on our labels, and basically, [were] keeping our head above the water.
DX: Wanna touch on Ghetto Cowboys real quick?
KB: Basically were just getting started; we just did the first draft of the paperwork. So its still in the early beginning stages. And were working on trying to get the casting done and all that. Youll definitely be hearing more about it as we get further along in the project.
KB: Its a black westernits a different time period, 1800s. Theres a little history in it, about slavery, about the army basically about black cowboys; outlaws.