HipHopDX.com has published a lengthy interview with Krayzie Bone, looking back at 20 years of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, from recording E. 1999 Eternal and The Art of War to squashed beefs to hip hop today.
HipHopDX.com Exclusive: Krayzie Bone looks back on his 20-year career, discussing the first time Bone Thugs-N-Harmony met Tupac Shakur, the “E. 1999 Eternal” and “The Art Of War” recording sessions, and reconciling with Twista. He also highlights the differences between working with Pac, Eazy-E and The Notorious B.I.G.
Fans of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony in 1995 remember the cryptic experience of opening the now classic E. 1999 Eternal CD case. The cover art featured the four most prolific members—Layzie Bone, Bizzy Bone, Wish Bone and Krayzie Bone—standing in the bottom left corner of the ominous image. Burned down buildings and a bent E. 1999/Eternal street sign shadowing an avenue filled with human skulls and rib cages filled the backdrop. Included in the insert booklet was a street map of what many non-Ohioan fans assumed was Cleveland, but supposedly served as part of a dark scavenger hunt corresponding with the backwards text on the following page that felt like something from “Tales From The Crypt.” The only way to read it was to hold it up to a mirror. And just when all indicators seemed say these St. Clair Thugstas arrived straight from Hell, behind the jewel case’s spine read the words: “Don’t Give Props To The Devil” and “Believe In The Last Day.” Teenagers nationwide struggled to make sense of it. Lunchrooms everywhere were buzzing with hyperbole.
Bone Thugs would face a number of demons over the 18 years following E. 1999’s release. Flesh-N-Bone spent too much of that time bouncing in and out of the prison system. Bizzy Bone battled drug and alcohol addiction for years, appeared on Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew, ranted about not signing to B2K on High Radio, among a slew of other odd anecdotes. He was even arrested for purse snatching following the 1996 MTV Music Awards. On any given tour, two members were probably absent for one reason or another. Only two of the multi-platinum group’s eight full-length LPs prominently feature all five members (BTNH Resurrection and Uni5: The World’s Enemy).
But throughout the fractured history, Krayzie Bone has remained a beacon of consistency. Since his 1999 solo debut—Thug Mentality 1999—Leatherface has released seven albums, six mixtapes and notched scores of guest appearances with artists ranging from Mariah Carey to Rick Ross to Freddie Gibbs. He’s something of Bone’s Rza (sans production)—the member whose vision and veracity dominates perception. As he describes in this exclusive interview with HipHopDX, Krayzie’s a studio rat and concerned about little more than making timeless tunes. “That’s how it should be,” he says. “Music shouldn’t be put in a box. It should be universal. It should be global because music is what connects everybody anyway. We should always keep that politics-free and just let music be music.”
In the conversation below, Krayzie Bone clarifies a number of forgotten pieces of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony history, such as the first time the group met Tupac Shakur and how they were able to collaborate despite conflict between Death Row Records and Ruthless Records. Along with detailing The Art Of War recording sessions, he also reveals the surprising origins of Bone’s feud with Three 6 Mafia, where he was when he first heard Do Or Die’s scathing diss track, “Bustin’ Back,” and how he and Twista reconcilled their differences. And in an unexpected moment of candor, Krayzie even cops to not understanding “30 percent” of Bizzy Bone’s rhymes—something in which every Bone Thugs fan can relate.
Photo by Ray Lopez
Krayzie Bone Discusses Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s Influence On A$AP Rocky
HipHopDX: I spoke with Pete Rock [in 2010] and he was talking about how popular he was again. He described it as “his era coming back to him.” Artists like Kendrick Lamar shout you out regularly. A$AP Rocky shouts out [Bone Thugs-n-Harmony] regularly. Freddie Gibbs was shouting out Bone regularly for a long time. Does it feel like your era has come back to you?
Krayzie Bone: Yeah man, it definitely feels that way. We have a lot of up and coming artists now that’s out, and they’re paying homage. We at that point in time now where we can look back and see artists that say they came up off our music when they was younger, just like we used to look up to N.W.A and Eazy-E and the Run DMCs and all that. It feels real good to be able to be brought back and those cats pay homage to us and everybody knows where it all came from.
DX: It’s also interesting because you guys had to fight for your reputation to a degree, at least for your props. And that doesn’t necessarily make sense in a [Rap industry] context when you’re talking about a group that’s sold over 50 million records. Usually you sell 50 million records and people just respect. The album The Art Of War was clearly a response to people copying your style, and it’s come up in various interviews and on various projects over the past 15 years or so. What’s the difference between A$AP and Kendrick and Freddie and all the people who are giving you props now while sporting similar styles? Is there a difference?
Krayzie Bone: I think back in the day when we was going at it, we were a lot younger then. We didn’t really understand. We come from an era of Hip Hop where if you came out trying to sound like somebody, you was called a biter and that wasn’t good. And that’s how we came up, so when we heard people trying to copy our styles back then, we took offense to it. That was our Hip Hop instinct. It’s like, “These dudes bite us. We gotta get at these dudes.” It was real young thinking at the time. But now that we older and we see what we have contributed to the game, it’s a sense of flattery that hits us. We brought something to the game that was different. We created this lane in Hip Hop and it was so original, quite naturally everybody just wanted to do it some time. It was like another part of Hip Hop that we added to give it more flavor. And that’s how we look at it. We proud to have done that and created that era in Hip Hop and now we just look at it as flattery now.
DX: We’re at 20 years since Bone Thugs-n-Harmony met Eazy-E. You were first signed to Ruthless Records in 1993. You guys released a project under B.O.N.E. Enterpri$e before that called Faces Of Death. My favorite song on that was “Bless Da 40 Oz.” I’ve seen three Bone Thugs-n-Harmony shows now, and I’ve never seen y’all perform “Bless Da 40 Oz.” When was the last time you guys performed that live?
Krayzie Bone: The last time we performed that song was probably at a talent show in Cleveland. Back then I don’t think we never brought out any of those songs and performed them after we hooked up with Eazy. That was just something local we done. We didn’t even think that album was gonna be known to the world. That’s something we did locally and that’s just what it was.
DX: That was before the braids.
Krayzie Bone: Oh yeah, that was before the braids. We all had fades, we was looking crazy on that. Looking like little babies.
Krayzie Bone Details E. 1999 Eternal & The Art Of War Recording Sessions
DX: Then you guys signed to Ruthless in 1993, and in 1994 history begins with Creepin’ On Ah Come Up, and then E. 1999 Eternal, which is one of the top-selling albums in Hip Hop history. What was the recording session like for “Mr. Bill Collector”?
Krayzie Bone: It was crazy. I remember going in and doing that song. It was actually me and Bizzy in the studio together when we first did it. I came up with the hook for “Mr. Bill Collector” way before we even met Eazy-E. My father had got me a job at a deli and I was washing dishes. I only had this job for a week. I was washing dishes and the radio was on. I heard a song from The Police, and when I heard it I was like, “Man, that song is dope. If I took it and flip it, it’d be a cold rap song.” So I just thought of the hook right there while I was washing the dishes. So when we went to the studio with E, we actually sung the hook to DJ U-Neek and he came up with the whole track after we sung the hook to him. That’s how it came about.
DX: I don’t know how much of a concept E. 1999 really was intended to be, but I know when I listen from “Da Introduction” all the way down to “Budsmokers Only” those songs kind of go in order. You’re on the block in Cleveland on “East 1999” and “Eternal.” Then “Crept And We Came” is immediately followed by the court scene at the beginning of “Down ‘71 (The Getaway)”—which makes that song sound like you’re breaking out of jail. You’re back on the block bill collecting [“Mr. Bill Collector”], and now you’re budsmoking with “Budsmokers Only.” Was that something intentional that you guys crafted, or was that something that Eazy played a hand in when putting together the album?
Krayzie Bone: It wasn’t really intentional. We went in with those songs. Like I said, we had most of those songs already written. That’s the reason we knocked it out so fast. We just went in and we was getting stuff off our chest. So when the arrangement came in to put the songs in order, it was mainly DJ U-Neek because Eazy had passed right when we had started getting into the mixing phases. It was mainly DJ U-Neek in there, arranging and putting the little magic on there that he put on there.
DX: I think your verse on “No Shorts, No Losses” is one of the most incredible verses you’ve dropped in your career. For me, that was the first time that I ever heard someone flip their previous song titles in a verse. There are examples in Hip Hop that existed beforehand, but on that album it was something that really stood out to me. That album itself was super cohesive. Going from E. 1999 into some of the best soundtrack joints: “Days of Our Livez,” off the Set it Off soundtrack. “Shoot ‘Em Up” off The Great White Hype soundtrack was incredible. “Everyday Thang” off The Show soundtrack [was great]. Those actually feel like E. 1999 tracks. Were those recorded around the same time as E. 1999?
Krayzie Bone: As a matter of fact, they were. All those songs were supposed to be on E. 1999. But the soundtrack opportunities came along and we just threw ‘em on there.
DX: That makes sense because they all sound really cohesive. You guys really sounded like a unit at that time. How hard was it putting together that album when Flesh-n-Bone was incarcerated then? I think he went to jail right before you guys got signed to Ruthless, which is why he’s not on that album cover.
Krayzie Bone: What really happened, he was in and out. He was going through his little thing once we got out [to Los Angeles, California]. He was actually in and out, so he was on some of the songs. Just like on Creepin On Ah Come Up, he was on some of the songs, but he wasn’t on a lot of them because he was out here wildin’. Same thing for E. 1999, he was in and out there. That’s why you see him and then you don’t see him. I think the most he was on a Bone album was The Art of War.
DX: The Art of War felt like a major change for Bone Thugs. One, I thought the beats were bigger. It sounded like the budget must have been huge for The Art of War. You guys were coming off “Tha Crossroads” single that put you guys in a whole other tax bracket, I’m sure. For the album lead up, you guys were all very consistent, talking about how each artist was going to have their own solo song on the album. Wish got one [“Get Cha Thug On”]. Layzie got one [“Mind Of A Souljah”]. Bizzy got one that he shared with Mr. Majesty [“7 Sign”]. You pretty much were on more songs and more hooks than anyone else. It felt like you were more committed or at least more involved in that process than anyone else. Is that fair to say?
Krayzie Bone: That’s pretty much how it went. I would get to the studio because I was working hand in hand with DJ U-Neek. So every time they’d get a new track they would call me like, “Come listen to this track.” I’d go down and vibe on there, think of a hook, and put a verse down. Then everybody else would come in, hear what I did, and then just add to it. That was pretty much the method of making the whole album.
DX: There were 28 tracks on that album. That’s a long album. Why wasn’t Bizzy’s face painted on the album cover? It looked like a still shot from the “1st of Tha Month” video, on the cover of The Art of War. Everybody had The Art of War face paint, and then Bizzy looked like he was riding in the convertible from “1st of Tha Month.”
Krayzie Bone: At that time Bizzy was going through his thing, so he was starting to be in and out. He was actually withdrawing from the group more and more, because he was going through whatever he was going through. That’s probably why. I don’t even think he took the pictures with us that time, because he was doing whatever he was doing. That’s basically why, because he wasn’t around. He just came in, did what he had to do, and he was out.
DX: I know that was a source of conflict within the group in the years that followed, and you guys always did a great job of [reconciling]. Of course, business can always complicate how tight you guys are or not. Another thing I loved about The Art of War was that that project dropped when everybody was doing double disks. [The Notorious B.I.G.] just released a double disc [Life After Death], [Tupac Shakur] released a double disc [All Eyez On Me]. Wu-Tang Clan had a double disk [Wu-Tang Forever]. All the biggest artists, when they got the love they got a double disc. It seemed like an accomplishment to even have a label put out a double disc for an artist at that point. Thematically you guys were charged, going at everybody that was copying your style. How much did Ruthless play a role in that? You’ve been very vocal about how Ruthless shaped the album a little differently than you guys intended to. Was it supposed to be so heavily weighted towards diss tracks as opposed to sounds closer to your previous work?
Krayzie Bone: We decided how we wanted to do that album. We wanted to do a double CD because we still had a lot of music. We was like, “We ready to go. We still got stuff to talk about. And we got these dudes trying to copy our style. We finna get at the world with this.” We was ready. We pretty much orchestrated everything. Ruthless, they had their say, but when it came to the creativity part they pretty much let us rock how we wanted to rock. They let us get in there and do what we did.
DX: You were the only person who changed your verse on “Look Into My Eyes” from the version that came out with the Batman & Robin soundtrack. Why’d you decide to change your verse?
Krayzie Bone: When I did the first verse, I really ain’t like it. I was like, “It’s cool, but I want to try something different.” And then they was like, “We want y’all to do a clean version,” so I took that as an opportunity to go in and change the whole verse. I don’t know what I was on, that was a whole completely different verse.
Krayzie Bone Reveals How Bone Thugs-n-Harmony First Met Tupac
DX: I guess y’all were in a creative zone, right? You’ve got all this material, you’re putting all this music out. Buckshot did an interview recently with HipHopDX. There was a recent video of Buckshot with some old footage of him with Tupac. Tupac flew Buckshot and Smif-n-Wessun [to Los Angeles] to start recording what was going to be the One Nation album. In the interview Buckshot starts naming people that were going to be on that One Nation album with Tupac. He was like, “Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, they were gonna be on that One Nation album.” How far along did you guys get in that process and that collaboration? Was “Thug Luv” the song that originally was supposed to be on Pac’s album?
Krayzie Bone: That’s what really set it off because before the whole thing, the whole collaboration with us, Pac was on Death Row. There was still a little bit of tension with us and even dealing with them at the time. As far as we was concerned the beef was still on. And even though Eazy tried to keep us out that whole mix, we was young. We was ready to ride regardless. We was like, “Naw, we signed to Ruthless, we in it.” It was like we really had to get at Pac. We saw him coming out the hotel one day and this was just when he just got out. We saw him coming out the hotel one day, and he was like, “What’s up with y’all? Man, I just want to let y’all know that ‘Tha Crossroads,’ I played that everyday I woke up in my cell. That’s what got me through, listening to ‘Tha Crossroads,’ the original version.” After that we asked him for some weed. After that we was friends. While we was smoking he was like, “We need to get in the studio. We need to make something happen,” and we all agreed. We saw each other like two or three more times after that, kept talking about the studio. Eventually he ran into Bizzy at the studio and they went in and made a song happen and we heard it later and was like, “Aw man, it’s going down.”
DX: Did you guys have plans to work on any other songs, or how many songs did you guys knock out in that session? Was “Thug Luv” the only one?
Krayzie Bone: Yeah, that was the only one. Because as soon as they put that track up and Pac heard that beat with the gun shots in it, he was like, “Man, that’s the one, let’s go. That’s the one, let’s move with that.” We was scheduled to work on more stuff, but we never got a chance to make that happen.
DX: What was the difference between being in the studio with Eazy, Pac, and B.I.G.?
Krayzie Bone: Pac probably had the most energy. He’d go up in there and track after track after track, he’s like “C’mon, let’s work.” Eazy liked to sit around for a while, smoke joint after joint just listening to the track. Then he’d tell everybody to get out. “Everybody get out, I’ma put my verse down.” B.I.G. was real laid back too. B.I.G. was just sitting back looking at us. Just amazed, like “How y’all niggas do that shit?” Looking at us, like “Man, that is insane.” But then after we got done, he was like, “Let me take the track to the house.” Then he took the track to the house, and came back the next day and laid what he laid down. To me, he killed that track.
DX: I thought that was interesting too because we always hear stories about B.I.G. and Jay-Z being the guys who don’t write down their verses. That was the first story I’ve ever heard of B.I.G. where he had to take a track home to think about it, as opposed to just writing it or coming up with it in the studio like we saw in the Notorious movie. Was there pressure getting on these tracks? You mentioned earlier that in the ‘90s you had to be original, right? It was all original. Was it competitive when you were about to rhyme with Biggie or 2pac? Was it competitive among you all?
Krayzie Bone: It wasn’t competitive at all. I was just thinking the whole time, “This song is about to be insane. It’s about to be crazy. The world is about to love this.”—especially the one with Pac, because everyone was waiting for it. And the one with B.I.G. just shocked everybody, like “What? Bone Thugs got with B.I.G.?” It was unique with both of them.
DX: Do you have a favorite member of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony? A favorite style you like; a favorite emcee? I know you’re all brothers. You’re all family, but when you’re just listening to the track, who’s another member you like to listen to?
Krayzie Bone: It’s crazy because it’s different. On different songs each person comes off a different way. On one song I may like Layzie the best, another song I may like Bizzy the best. It varies, because they coming with some pretty amazing stuff.
DX: Who had the best verse on “Mr. Bill Collector”?
Krayzie Bone: I like Bizzy’s verse. I like Bizzy’s verse, definitely.
DX: Aw, c’mon man! Why not Layzie? He gets slept on so much, why is that?
Krayzie Bone: I don’t think Layzie gets slept on because I could point out some verses out where Layzie just goes in and kills it. They better not be sleeping on little Layzie because he gon’ come with it, for real.
DX: If we do the math on this, you’ve got the double disc that came out with The Art of War in 1997. Thug Mentality 1999 comes out 2 years later. That’s another double disc. This is a super, super productive stretch that you’re having at an early point in your career that hasn’t seemed to cease. Does making music still feel the same? Does it feel like work?
Krayzie Bone: It still feels the same. Making music, to me, don’t feel like work. It feels like I’m doing something that I enjoy [doing]. I got something to say and I got an avenue and an outlet to say it. To me, it’s like medication. It’s like a stress reliever. Whenever I’m stressed out and whatever, I can still come and do music because I can go off whatever emotion I’m feeling and come up with a song for it. I love doing what I do. I couldn’t ask for another job. I’m doing what I always wanted to do. I’m happy with it.
Krayzie Bone Describes Tech N9ne’s Recording Process
DX: We shadowed Tech N9ne down at the Paid Dues Festival [this year]. During the interview with Tech his phone rang and he had a picture of Michael Myers on the wallpaper on his phone. I said, “Oh, that’s you right there, you’re Michael Myers?” And he was like, “Yeah, yeah. Eminem is Jason and Krayzie Bone is Leatherface.” Then I was like, “Yo, you guys should do an EP or something.”
Krayzie Bone: That’d be insane if we did that. That’d be insane, for real.
DX: Did you ever work with Tech N9ne?
Krayzie Bone: Oh, yeah. Definitely. We did a couple things together in the studio. We went down to Kansas City, he showed us some real good hospitality down there. Took us to some good soul food spots. He’s cool, that’s our people.
DX: I didn’t realize that. What’s it like in the studio when you’re watching Tech N9ne write and create?
Krayzie Bone: You ever seen one of his live shows? That’s exactly how he is in the studio and everything. Hype. He get it in. He go hard. I respect the way he do business, I respect the way he get down. Got nothing but love for him.
DX: You have a new project now that you’re pushing, an EP.
Krayzie Bone: Yes indeed. Quick Fix, Level 1: Less Drama. More Music.
DX: What’s going to be the difference between this and any other project you’ve released?
Krayzie Bone: There really is no difference. I’m really doing what I usually do and it always seems to work. That’s keeping it real. That’s making real music and addressing real issues that people can relate to. Even though we have this genre of music that we have out now where people aren’t really addressing the issues that’s going on in the world and stuff like that. There’s still people who want to hear that kind of music. That’s what I do. I mix it up a little bit. I still have fun. I still like to kick it and have fun myself. I just mix it up a little bit and try to give everyone what they want.
DX: Scarface once told us that the secret is to keep making the same album, because as soon as you start switching it up that’s when your fans get mad and they leave you.
Krayzie Bone: Exactly. I done heard so many people like, “Y’all need to make an album like E. 1999.” The only problem with that is if you think rational, when you get older and you have kids and stuff like that, all that stuff starts looking different to you. I’m not about to teach my kids [what we talked about on E. 1999]. They don’t have to go through it. I went through it, but they don’t have to go through it. There’s still ways you can keep it real and kick street knowledge to people and keep it street. If you’re a true artist you can always make it happen. A true artist knows how to create.
DX: Do you ever wonder why Bone didn’t get more love and respect out of New York City, specifically around the mid-90s? It seems like cats would go to New York and would be surprised that their songs weren’t being played on New York City radio. I grew up in the South and lived in a number of regions, and there’s definitely a disconnect between Bone’s reputation and the East Coast.
Krayzie Bone: What’s crazy is, in the streets the fans are there. But when it comes to playing us on the radio, for some reason they just never played us on the radio. I don’t understand why. I don’t know why. But the only time they played us was with B.I.G., [“Notorious Thugs”]. That’s the only pass we got.
DX: That’s a big pass, though.
Krayzie Bone: I guess we wasn’t good enough for New York.
DX: That’s how different Hip Hop was, though. Each region had its own style, but now we’re in a region-free style zone.
Krayzie Bone: That’s a good thing because music shouldn’t be put in a box. It should be universal. It should be global because music is what connects everybody anyway. We should always keep that politics-free and just let music be music.
Krayzie Bone Explains Origins Of Three 6 Mafia Beef
DX: I always wanted to ask you this question. October 1998, Heaven’z Movie comes out, Bizzy’s first solo album. Thug Mentality comes out April 1999. So there’s about six months between Bizzy’s solo album and then your solo album. On Bizzy’s album he drops a line, “Better act a little bit feminine / Take the fatigues off / Fuck the club / Even the six / It’s hellish” [“(The Roof) Is On Fire”]. He was referring to Gangsta Boo from Three 6 Mafia. On your album you did a collaboration with Gangsta Boo and E-40 on “We Starvin.’” What was the relationship like between you and Three 6 at that point in time? It’s an interesting dichotomy between those two projects.
Krayzie Bone: The whole beef with Three 6, that was something I really never even understood. What was the beef about? From what I hear, it all started when we was reading fan mail back in the day. We went to the office at Ruthless Records and opened up the fan mail. Back then we was tripping off getting fan mail. I had read it and some chick from Memphis was telling me, “There’s this group out here. They made an album that’s on the radio and they dissin’ y’all, saying that y’all stole they style.” I was like, “For real? Who is these dudes?” And she was like, “They call themselves Three 6 Mafia.” So we heard about it, and one time we had a show in Memphis. And we was getting ready to walk into the show and we heard somebody scream out, “Thuggish ruggish bustas!” We turned around, and we was like “What?” We ready to run down there. Our security was telling us, “Y’all getting ready to go on stage and do a show and get paid. They in the parking lot. Let’s keep going and get this money.” I really didn’t understand what the beef was until I talked to somebody on the phone one day. It was a conference call with Relativity Records or Live Records or something. And they was like, “We just want y’all know to know it ain’t no beef, it ain’t no nothing.” All that stuff was stupid. We was young. Everybody was young. I was like, “Cool,” because I wasn’t really trippin’ anyway. So when the opportunity came to work with Gangsta Boo, I was like, “Man, let’s make it happen. Let’s squash some of this beef that’s out there. Let’s do this. It’s about business, for real.”
DX: Was that a hard decision on her end? In the verse it seems like she’s alluding to problems with Three 6.
Krayzie Bone: I’m not sure if that had a part to play in it. It could have, maybe it didn’t. I listened to the verse and took it like that too. It is what it is. I could be wrong, like I said.
DX: It’s always interesting too, especially now that we get to see emcees as adults. Everybody in Hip Hop was a kid when they started, and now they’re being adults and being responsible about their decisions.
Krayzie Bone: Even when I talked to Twista for the first time, I was like, “What was we beefin’ over? Who rapped the fastest?” That’s the dumbest shit I ever heard in my life. So what who rapped the fastest? Fans loved both of us, so whatever, let’s get this money together.
DX: Where were you the first time you heard Do or Die and Twista’s response to The Art of War? [Do Or Die] dropped a song called “Bustin’ Back.”
Krayzie Bone: It actually took me a long time to listen to it because everybody was telling me, “You heard the song? You heard the song?“ I actually wasn’t gonna listen to it until I was in Cleveland, in the hood, and one of my dudes brought it to the hood, like, “Check this out”—just tryna feud, tryna instigate. I heard it and I was like, “Damn, I never been called so many bitches in my life.” They was going hard on us. I was like, “Man, they going hard.” I wasn’t really trippin’ at that point. I said a lot of little slick stuff in my rhymes throughout that time period too. I was gettin’ back at ‘em too.
DX: With the Internet, the way people participate with Hip Hop has evolved a bit. You used to have to go get some spray paint and work on your tag, or make sure your helicopter wasn’t off beat, or rhyme in cyphers. That’s just how people historically participated in Hip Hop. Have you noticed a difference as your career has reached this level of longevity and the way you interact with your fans? Is it the same way? Do you feel that people interact with Hip Hop in the same way that they originally did?
Krayzie Bone: Lately, you been hearing a lot of complaints about the way Hip Hop is going and stuff like that. But that’s just what I said: Hip Hop is big. I think it has more fans than it did back then because Hip Hop has integrated with other genres of music. Once it becomes intertwined like that, it’s going to go to other levels. People might not like it but that’s why it’s different.
To me there are different categories of Hip Hop. If you like what’s on the radio now, then that’s your category. If you like more what came out in the Tupac, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Biggie era, then there’s music out there like that. There’s just certain categories.
DX: What’s a line or verse of yours that you’ve been rapping forever but you still tend to stumble over it on stage when you’re performing it?
Krayzie Bone: I know it’s something ‘cause I always do it. I always have to do the remix of the “Notorious Thugs,” the one I did with Twista. That whole verse, every time I say it…I tried to play it back and listen to it one time, and I didn’t even remember what I said. I was like, “Man, this is crazy.” My own verse, I’m like, “I don’t even know what I said.” It’s crazy.
DX: See, that’s how fans feel when we listen to Bizzy’s verse on “Mo’ Murda,” for example.
Krayzie Bone: I still don’t understand with Bizzy. Outta the whole group, he’s the one. There’s about 30% of his stuff I don’t understand what he’s saying. No lie.
DX: He needs a certified Rap Genius account.
Krayzie Bone: Exactly. He been going so fast, I’m like, “Man. That’s crazy.”
Krayzie Bone Reflects On His 20-Year Career, Collaborating With dead prez
DX: As you’ve gone from being part of a group to solo artist and back and forth for 20 years, what’s something that you’ve learned that’s irreplaceable about yourself; about what it means to create art that impacts people?
Krayzie Bone: Man, I learned about myself that I can keep just going and going and getting better and better. That saying, “Practice makes perfect,” is the realest saying I ever heard. At anything that you love doing, if you keep doing it, you’re gonna eventually master it. No matter what it is. And I feel that’s what I’ve done with music. I practice at it. I work out with it every day. Every single day of my life, and that just helps you get better and better. That’s what it is.
DX: Your collaboration with dead prez is one of those examples where the growth of an artist and as a person truly shows through. Bone started on some thuggish ruggish, and that joint with dead prez, [“Walk Like A Warrior”] wasn’t the same Krayzie Bone.
Krayzie Bone: No. It was the more activist side of me. That used to be in me, too. I adopted it from Tupac. I was thuggish ruggish, I was militant-minded. I was all that. I was going through all that. But as you grow and get older and change everything, all your personality traits and all that change with you. Anything you carry changes with you, just like my music. So once you get older everything gets more mature, and you start thinking different and you start looking at things for what they really are.
DX: You got The Quick Fix. All five Bone Thugs members are on tour. We have Rock The Bells coming up again this year. You have a clothing line. You have certain artists that you’re working with that are on your label, The Life Entertainment. Am I missing anything?
Krayzie Bone: The clothing line, we been doing it for three years. We’re trying to build it into a huge, epic merchandising company for anybody in the game that wants to do Hip Hop. They can come check us out. We’re doing real fair deals. The Life, we been getting real good responses. The fans really been taking to it. They now can have a chance to get our gear when they want it. It’s been doing real good.
DX: Where can they find the gear?
Krayzie Bone: The website is [URL=”http://www.TheLifeApparel.com”]www.TheLifeApparel.com[/URL]. We also just opened up a store in downtown Los Angeles at 1121 Santee Street.
DX: Is there anything else that you want the people to be aware of?
Krayzie Bone: Like I always do, thanks to the fans for supporting us for 20 years. Being behind us through the thick and the thin, the make-ups, the break ups, and all that with Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. Just really recognizing the music for what it is and keeping it about the music because we got some crazy fans man, and they not just here in the US. They worldwide. Much love to everybody all over the world.