Midwest Hip Hop legend, Krayzie Bone, recently spoke with HipHopDX to offer up some exclusive details on today’s release (March 24) of the rapid-fire spitter’s new solo street album, The Fixtape Volume Two: Just One Mo Hit, as well as the June 30th release of the new Bone Thugs-N-Harmony [click to read] group project, Uni-5, and the forthcoming Bone-sponsored release from Britney Spears’ ex, Kevin Federline.
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony have sold over 12 million albums, won a Grammy and two American Music Awards, but the Cleveland quintet’s most jaw-dropping career feat may have been landing a mention on celebrity news site TMZ last month for their recent work with backup dancer turned Britney baby daddy turned rapper Mr. Federline. The question on the minds of every Bone fan in the weeks since that news broke has been why did the legendary harmonizing street thugs sign a pop princess’ former flame to the group’s independent BTNH Worldwide label?
“I didn’t even know that my people was actually talking to him at first,” Krayzie revealed to DX, “because I had no idea about it until I started seeing it in the tabloids and on the different websites…I really didn’t even like know who he was at first. K-Fed, I didn’t know that name until somebody told me that’s Britney Spears’ ex-husband…After then I was like, ‘Oh nah, we not messing with him.’ But then after I spoke to my people, they told me that they had conversations with him and that he was possibly looking for like some writers, and you know, like some production and stuff like that. So I was like, ‘That’s what I do. [But] I wanna hear some of his music first and foremost.’”
“People gon’ say I’m crazy, man,” he continued, “but to my surprise the stuff that he let me hear, it was pretty decent. He told me that he didn’t get a chance to really put out the music he wanted to [with his first album], and he made mistakes in putting out the music that he did – you know, by putting out the club stuff. I really didn’t hear none of his old music, but the stuff that he let me hear was like really deep. He was talking about his life. He was actually telling his side of the story [of the split with Britney] in a more mature, adult kind of way, opposed to just being on the record saying ‘Fuck Britney.’”
When Federline returns from being on the road with Ms. Spears, who is currently touring, Krayzie will hit the studio with his newest signee to craft K-Fed’s first Bone-backed project – much to the dismay of longtime group loyalists.
“If everybody is wondering what we’re doing,” said Krayzie, addressing Bone nation,“we’re simply helping him with the production, and just trying to give him a platform to stand on so people will listen to his story. After hearing him talk, and just kickin’ it with him, [I learned that] he definitely got a story to tell – where he came from, and where he ended up.”
For those fans not exactly excited about the Thugs latest undertaking, a new Federline-free Bone project will be in stores shortly. Featuring all five original BTNH members, the aptly-titled Uni-5, is due June 30th – about three months shy of the 15th anniversary of the release of the group’s classic Creepin’ On Ah Come Up debut EP. The thugsters latest full-length is being led by two recently released to the 'net buzz singles: “The Game Ain’t Ready” and “Nuff Respect.”
But as with any new Bone group outing, before any discussion of the actual music can take place, the seemingly always present question regarding the group’s most free-spirited member must be addressed.
“Bizzy Bone is definitely back into the fold,” Krayzie noted. “Although Bizzy is signed to another label [as a solo artist], he can still do Bone Thugs-N-Harmony as a group...Everybody [in the group is] still doing them. This is a business. We all businessmen. [But] everybody can always come together for a Bone project, always. ‘Cause everybody know this where it all lies at, for real.”
As previously mentioned, it’s not just Bizzy returning to the group fold for Uni-5, but the album also marks the return of long-incarcerated fifth member Flesh-N-Bone.
“Aww man, it’s definitely a wonderful thing, man, just to have all five of us back together” replied Krayzie when asked how it feels to have Flesh finally back in the Bone mix after serving an eight-year prison term. “Flesh, he real happy. He real positive. He a way more mature person since he been locked up. His vocabulary is very polished. His demeanor is polished. He just a totally different person. And with that kind of maturity coming into the clique from another person, it ain’t gonna do nothing but help us out.”
“Bizzy has matured a lot [too],” he continued. “He has stepped up to the plate and been around and been available, and made sure it’s been convenient for us to catch him whenever we need to catch him. So, I mean, everything has been going smooth so far.”
Not only will Uni-5 mark the first time all five of the Ohio rappers’ have recorded together in nearly a decade, but the disc will also mark the first time Bone has released a truly independent group album.
“We got released from Interscope in 2008,” Krayzie revealed to DX. “I requested to be let go, because I really wasn’t feeling we were being respected for what we was worth. To me people didn’t really know our music. They were just in the business just to be in Bone’s business. People just heard how much money you could make from Bone, and I think that’s why they wanted to be in business with Bone. But, as far as the love for the music, and as far as the push and the drive to really promote it and get behind it and treat it like the artists we are, they didn’t have none of that.”
Despite netting a gold album with their sole Interscope-funded project, 2007’s Strength & Loyalty, which spawned the Akon-assisted platinum smash single “I Tried,” Krayzie is adamant that Bone is better off free of major-label interference.
The group’s BTNH Worldwide label is currently in talks with several possible distribution homes, with a slew of new releases planned for 2009. In addition to Wish Bone’s long-awaited solo debut, The Wish Master, and a Flesh-N-Bone and Layzie Bone duo project entitled The House Boys, Krayzie is also planning to unleash Coming From The Midwest, a compilation of prominent regional acts [“I’m trying to get at everybody,” he noted regarding the project.“I’m trying to get at Eminem. I’m trying to get at Kanye West.”]. While the guestlist for the comp is currently unconfirmed, fans of Midwest Hip Hop should expect a collaboration or two between Krayzie and fellow lightning-tongued rhymers Twista and Tech N9ne.
But before Bone’s new group effort, and any of the aforementioned BTNH Worldwide projects hit store shelves, supporters of Cleveland’s finest can cop The Fixtape Volume Two: Just One Mo Hit. The follow-up to last year’s The Fixtape Volume 1: Smoke On This!, is due in stores today.
“The first ‘Fixtape’ was my very first [street album] ever,” explained Krayzie. “I had been wanting to put a mixtape out for years, but just was so tied up with other stuff I never got a chance to. [So ‘Just One Mo Hit’ is] basically a continuation from volume [one] – got some [popular instrumentals from 50 Cent, Freeway, Outkast, etc. to rhyme over], and a couple of original tracks on there. I think the fans will really be satisfied with it. I got some nice songs on there, some nice remake songs.”
“But I just wanna let everybody know,” he continued, “that this is a ‘Fixtape,’ which is the mixtape. The official Krayzie Bone solo album, which is entitled Chasing The Devil, will be out December 15th, ’09… It’s like when you out here chasing the fame, and the money, the glamour, the women and all that, basically what you chasing is the devil…So it get real deep on the album. I’m touching on subjects such as the RFID chip…the chip they trying to get people to get implanted into ‘em. It’s a human tracking device, and they already got ‘em inside the passports… [On the album] I’m basically trying to show people where we are in time. Like, people have always heard Bone talk about the last days. And I just wanna inform people and let ‘em know exactly where we are in time by comparing the stuff that we see on the news and in the world today to what The Bible told us [two-thousand years] ago.”
The Fixtape Volume Two: Just One Mo Hit is in stores now on RBC Records.